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Essential Customer Service Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

While the demand for customer service representative roles is high, assessing candidates and filling open roles can be challenging. A representative must have excellent interpersonal skills, patience, and a helping attitude. Candidates must have the ability to communicate effectively via conversation or chat.

If you’re looking for customer service representatives, ensuring they align with your organization’s culture, as well as possessing the right attitude and character is vital. So, asking the right questions is a crucial step towards finding the right individuals.

 

The Value of Interviews in Filling the Role

The role’s nature of revolving around communication and understanding makes the interview process more valuable. It allows recruiters to assess candidates’ communication skills, personality, and empathy.

Unlike resumes and application forms, interviews provide an interactive setting to evaluate a candidate’s soft skills, which are crucial for success in customer-facing roles. Through thoughtful interview questions designed for customer service, recruiters can gauge an applicant’s ability to:

  • Listen to various concerns.
  • Demonstrate genuine care and understanding.
  • Convey information clearly and concisely.
  • Maintain composure under pressure and challenging situations.

Interviewing and assessing customer service candidates thoroughly increases the likelihood of making excellent hires that will enhance the customer experience.

Read More: 11 Things To Include In a Customer Service Job Description

 

Top Customer Service Interview Questions to Identify the Best Candidates

The goal is to ask questions that encourage applicants to think about their role in representing the company’s brand and being on the front line for customer relations. This includes confident knowledge of company guidelines, policies, protocols, and best practices for customer communication. Consider these 10 customer service interview questions.

 

1. Can you define customer service and how you implement it in your job?

The most important aspect of this role is managing customer relations by solving problems and providing information. For candidates to be considered, they need to understand this definition and have a clear idea of how to put it into practice.

Referrals and repeat business are the cornerstones of a thriving business. That success starts with your customer service representatives and the way they can act as ambassadors for the company. So, by asking this question, you’re ensuring your potential employees have the proper foundational knowledge for interacting with people.

 

2. What is more important to you, patience or efficiency?

This question doesn’t necessarily have to have a right or wrong answer, as the industry usually demands both. Instead, it allows you to explore the candidate’s priorities and thought process regarding the key attributes a customer service agent needs.

Furthermore, candidates who recognize the importance of both patience and efficiency showcase a great understanding of the role’s demands. Carefully understanding and listening to a customer’s needs is essential, but they might be in a situation where other customers are also waiting to be served. A response to this question can reflect their priorities and problem-solving skills.

 

3. How would you solve a customer’s problem besides relying on policies and guidelines?

Delivering a consistent brand message relies on defaulting to the same policies. However, not every customer’s inquiry will go by the book. How else will employees empower themselves?

By asking this question, you can gauge the resourcefulness and willingness of candidates to think outside of the box. It can also show whether they’re willing to ask for help or proactively research ways to help their customers further.

 

4. What do you think is a representative’s role in the company?

A customer service representative’s role usually varies from company to company. This means your candidates’ responses would likely differ based on their past experiences. Your company will have its own model, and you can determine if your visions align with their ideas. But what if they don’t?

You can consider this question as a simple way to gauge what the candidate’s ideal role is, and your visions don’t necessarily have to align perfectly. Whatever the answer, the important thing is that their overall thought process compliments your business’.

 

5. Name a time you weren’t able to deliver at work. And why?

Customer service agents are not robots programmed to perfectly respond to customers all day. It’s not surprising if all your candidates made a mistake or failed to meet their goals in their previous roles.

Mistakes happen, but they should understand why and what caused it. By asking this question, you assess your candidate’s honesty, accountability, and ability to learn from setbacks. The goal is to discover if a candidate can identify the root cause of their previous problems and how they can prevent it from happening again.

 

6. What is your strategy for making sure every customer is happy?

This question focuses on a candidate’s customer-centric approach and commitment to customer satisfaction. Whatever their response, it will give you insights into how they communicate with their customers and how they proactively solve problems.

Aside from this, the response will also reveal their approach toward customers. You can add a follow-up question to prompt them to give examples of their actual responses. For example, you can provide a specific scenario and ask how they would respond.

 

7. Is there a skill or area of expertise you feel you lack?

No matter how skilled or experienced a customer service agent is, there is always a way to improve further. Asking this question helps you identify whether candidates have a drive to learn and improve their craft. Remember that any new hire should exhibit positivity and patience, which is crucial for customer service.

  • Do they clearly understand their capabilities?
  • Are they willing to learn more?
  • Do they want to undergo training?

 

8. How do you decide when to close a ticket or keep trying?

Some customer cases are easy to identify and close, while others require more investigation. With good intentions, a customer service rep sometimes closes a ticket even when the customer’s real question hasn’t been answered. This can create a negative experience for the client who reached out.

Considering this, it’s important to ask candidates how they determine when to close a customer service ticket or when to persist in resolving an issue. This question delves into the candidate’s judgment, attention to detail, and commitment to customer satisfaction. Candidates who understand the importance of thoroughness and follow-up will likely be able to address customer inquiries fully before closing a ticket.

 

9. What does your ideal customer look like?

Asking candidates to describe their model customers can give you insights into their ideal customer profile and how they envision delivering services to that demographic.

Their responses would also reveal the positive response triggers for them as agents. For example, if they mention ‘communicative’ and ‘respectful’ as characteristics, you can assume that they prefer talking to cooperative and appreciative people.

Understanding these triggers will help you identify situations where the candidates are most likely to thrive. You can also pinpoint their strengths and use them as a basis when making hiring decisions.

 

10. How do you maintain professionalism in stressful conversations?

Among all the customer service interview questions, this is one of the most important since it can identify a candidate’s ability to stay on task and maintain composure despite negative interactions.

In customer service roles, professionals often encounter situations where customers express frustrations, dissatisfaction, or even direct personal attacks. How candidates respond to such instances can significantly impact customer satisfaction and brand reputation.

So, by asking this question, you can evaluate the candidate’s emotional intelligence, conflict resolution skills, and resilience in handling challenging situations. This will also help you identify the best brand ambassadors among your list of potential employees.

 

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