Customer Service Interview Questions

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Customer Service Interview Questions

As the products and services we use on a daily basis have become far more complex and technical, the skills of our customer service associates have had to evolve as well. To keep customers happy, companies have had to shift from transactional customer service calls to interactions that are solution based and solve the immediate challenges their customers are facing.

For this reason, employers often focus on customer service interview questions that measure the candidate’s technical abilities and problem-solving skills. But this is only one piece of the puzzle.

When interviewing potential customer service representatives, behavioral traits are almost more valuable than technical skills. Behavioral interview questions for customer service representatives assess their people skills, problem-solving under pressure, and attitude toward customers. These customer support interview questions and answers often reveal how the candidate will deal with difficult customers and handle potential conflicts.

When interviewing a customer service representative, it's always a best practice to start with your customers' needs. Is your product one that requires immediate first-contact resolution? Like ambulance or hospital equipment - where not solving the problem would put life on the line? Or, is it an issue that can be easily resolved through escalation to a knowledgeable customer service advisor?

Customer service positions are often the only people who have regular direct contact with your customers when they are experiencing a technical difficulty, so remember to look for candidates who are patient, empathetic, and have a proven track record in customer service.

When creating your interview questions - the 5 most important metrics are:

  1. Customer Satisfaction Score,
  2. Ticket volume and backlog,
  3. Average reply and resolution time,
  4. First contact resolution rate,
  5. Average time to handle a claim.

Your questions should gather data on each of these points that can be verified with references. For example: "Tell me about how your customer satisfaction score was calculated in your previous role, and what was your score?" You can always go into more detail, but asking semi-structured open-ended questions will allow you to get the best verifiable information on past performance.

If you're a Pillar customer and use our interview intelligence software during your interviews, these questions and over 1000 more are already outlined for each role and set up as prompts for the interviewer to ask during the interview. That way you can devote all of your focus to the potential hire and ensure that you get a comprehensive understanding of their skills and experiences.

Customer Service Interview Questions and Sample Answers

When you're interviewing a customer service advisor, what answers are you looking for? Here are some customer service interview questions and sample answers to help you find the right candidate:

  1. When you have an irritated customer who's complaining how do you keep a cool head? Answer: I believe that when customers are complaining, they need to feel heard and understood before anything else. So my first approach is to listen actively and show empathy towards them by acknowledging their feelings and validating their experience. After that, I respond constructively by trying to offer a solution or at least pointing them in the right direction of someone who can.

  1. What do you believe are the most important qualities of a successful customer service representative? 

Answer: In my experience, the most important qualities of successful customer service are patience, empathy, and good problem-solving skills. Patience is important because customers often need to be talked through an issue or simply need someone to listen and understand their situation. Being able to empathize with customers and put yourself in their shoes can also help build goodwill and trust. Finally, having the ability to identify problems quickly and come up with creative solutions is essential for resolving customer issues in a timely manner.

  1. Describe a time when you had an unresolved conflict with a customer that needed to be escalated to a manager.

Answer: I once had a customer who was dissatisfied with the service they had received and refused to accept any of the proposed solutions. After trying to resolve the issue multiple times, it eventually became clear that the only way forward was to escalate the problem to a manager. In this situation, I stayed calm and professional throughout by listening carefully and reiterating the customer's concerns. I then explained that a manager would be better equipped to handle their issue and offered to take them through the process. Ultimately, the customer accepted my proposal and we were able to successfully resolve the conflict with minimal disruption.

Now, the three that I've mentioned above are all positive responses to customer service representative interview questions. However, answers aren't always going to be positive. How you handle the negative answers is just as important - and show

  1.  Describe a time when you had to deliver bad news to a customer.

Answer: I recently had a situation where I had to inform a customer that their order would be delayed due to supplier issues. After explaining the problem, they were irate and exclaimed that they'd be taking their business to a competitor from now on. In this situation, I stayed calm and professional. I expressed my understanding of the customer's frustration and then offered to make it up to them by providing an additional discount or offering a complimentary gift and handing their case over to a manager who may be able to offer more assistance.

Customer service advisor questions and answers aren't always going to be positive, but you're listening to the behavior and attitude of the candidate. When interviewing a customer service representative, you want to focus on their problem-solving skills and how they handle difficult customers. If you're not using an Ai (artificial intelligence) powered video interview platform to assess candidates, it's something you should consider. Platforms like Pillar pick up on microexpressions, tone changes, and other inflections that could indicate the candidate isn't being completely honest.

Call Center Customer Service Interview Questions and Answers

The life of a call center customer service advisor is rarely easy. Most often, they're taking calls from people who're frustrated and experiencing some kind of issue with a product or service - or even worse, an accident or another highly emotional circumstance.

The customer service call center interview questions that you ask probably won't accurately express the challenges that a customer service representative will face on the job. But they will give you an indication of their problem-solving skills and how they handle difficult customers. Here are a couple of sample call center customer service interview questions and answers to help you assess potential candidates:

  1. Describe a time when you had to quickly resolve an emotional customer issue.

Answer: I recently had a situation where I was dealing with an irate customer over the phone who had been in an accident and needed help filing an insurance claim. After making sure that they were alright and listening to their concerns, I quickly took control of the call and began going through the necessary steps to help them with their claim. I was able to walk them through each step and provide detailed instructions so that they felt comfortable knowing what they had to do. In the end, the customer thanked me for my professionalism and assistance in resolving their issue and they hung up the phone just as the tow truck arrived.

As you can see from this encounter, the answer to the interview question met many of the criteria that you'd look for in a customer service representative. They were empathetic and understanding, they provided detailed instructions, and resolved the issue in a timely manner.

  1. How do you handle a customer who repeatedly calls you about the same issue?

Answer: In this situation, I would first take a step back and try to understand why the customer is calling multiple times. Is it because they're not getting accurate information from me or is it an issue where I'm not providing them with enough information to solve their problem? Once I know what's causing the issue, I can make an action plan to help address their needs. My goal would be to permanently resolve the issue so that the customer no longer has to waste their time calling in for help.

This is a well-articulated answer and shows an awareness of company goals and customer goals. The candidate has demonstrated an understanding of how to properly handle customer service issues and how to minimize the amount of time spent on each call.

These are just a few sample questions and answers that you can use in your customer service interview process. Remember to focus on problem-solving skills, emotional intelligence, and other soft skills when reviewing candidates.

Interview Questions and Answers for Customer Service Position

What are the 10 most common interview questions and answers for customer service positions?

  1. What experience do you have in customer service?
  2. How do you handle difficult customers?
  3. What do you consider to be excellent customer service?
  4. How do you stay motivated when dealing with a large volume of calls in a short period of time?
  5. Describe a time when you had to resolve an issue that required technical knowledge or specialist skills?
  6. How do you ensure accuracy and quality while recording customer information?
  7. Describe a time when you had to make an unpopular decision or take disciplinary action with a customer?
  8. What methods do you use to keep up-to-date with new products and services?
  9. How would you handle a customer who was dissatisfied with the product or service they received?
  10. How do you navigate situations that are not covered by existing customer service policies?

These questions will give you an insight into the candidate's experience, expertise, and problem-solving abilities but they're not fool-proof. Since they're asked so often, candidates are prepared to answer them.

That's why interview questions and answers for customer service positions should be unique and customized to the role you're hiring for. This will help you get to the heart of their experience and qualifications. So you can use these questions as a starting point, but make sure to tailor them to find out exactly what skills and experiences the candidate has that can be useful for your organization.

If you're currently assessing your interviewing practices, check out Pillar's resources to help you hire better. We created a suite of tools that records, transcribes, and provides real-time interview guidance all powered by Ai. It also allows you to automate many of the tasks in your hiring process to save you time and money. Schedule a demo to see how it works.