In this new economic reality, customer retention is top of mind for every business and having a strong team of customer service agents is key to giving your customers a great experience.
But hiring for these roles isn’t always easy. Adding the wrong person to your customer service team can wreak havoc not only on your customer experience, but your support team’s morale.
So let’s skip the obvious questions and get straight to practical tips to help you find your next customer service superstar.
Whilst each candidate can look great on paper, there are many attributes that don’t get flagged until a final interview. In order to have a successful interview process, you need to do some prep work beforehand, just like your candidates will be doing.
Consider the following:
- As a customer service manager, a gut feeling can be important, but remember to interrogate your internal biases when listening to this. Go into each interview with an open mind and ask open questions.
- Be intentional about diversity and inclusion: include non-gendered language, don’t assume or judge anyone’s pronouns, and communicate your company’s plan.
- Make sure each interview is tailored to the candidate but don’t get too personal. Let them speak freely about who they are, their hobbies and be open to their personality.
However, it is illegal to ask some questions — marital status, sexuality, or religion for example.
- Map out the different areas you want to cover with your interview questions. For customer service roles, these can include emotional intelligence, core company value alignment, and previous service experience.
We know there is a range of questions that you will want answers to. Some obvious, some less so.
When hiring customer service agents, you need to know if the interviewee is prepared for the role. You’ll need to ask relevant questions related to the role, how they will fit in at your company as well as their previous experience.
Here are the three main areas to focus on during customer service interviews:
#1 Advocacy potential
This is the make or break when it comes to hiring a customer service agent.
They will be acting as the face of your company, and often, they’re the only “face-to-face” interaction a customer will have with your company.
Word of mouth is still the most popular referral for businesses and your customer service staff have the power to foster this. They’re on the frontline of your customer experience, so will need to be able to bridge the gap between advocating for the customer and having the best interests of the business in mind.
Ultimately, they might help to better your customer policies from the feedback and communication they receive. Personalized customer service might take longer but it is often the most valued.
Questions to ask
- Has there ever been a situation in which you have had to go against company policy to help a customer? If so, what happened and what was the company’s response?
- Have you ever helped to introduce a change to company policy through feedback you’ve received from customers?
- Is there a time where you went to bat for a customer internally, collaborating with other teams to help a customer resolve an issue? What was the outcome, and how did you communicate this back to them?
The next area to look at is to see if a candidate’s values match up with those of the business.
Do they become easily frustrated when they’re in a situation without a clear path forward? Are they passive, hoping to be anonymous in an environment where someone else will fix their problems? Or do they truly take pride in doing things the right way the first time, demonstrating follow-through?
You’ll also be able to tell if they’ve done their own research too as to whether they know what your company values are or not. You can focus your questions around your business values or ask more generic questions to find out what the candidate’s values are.
Questions to ask
- What is your favorite part of working in a support role? What about your least favorite?
- What motivates you to help a customer?
- What is a nightmare scenario you’ve had to deal with with a customer, and how did you handle it?
- Are you someone who takes initiative or would you prefer to let others take the lead when solving an unforeseen problem?
- If you asked your closest family members and friends to describe you, what three words would they use?
#3 Empathy levels
Empathy in customer service is a must-have, but it’s not a given that everyone working in the industry is empathetic.
Ask some questions that will help you get an idea of your interviewees’ empathy levels. They should be able to step outside themselves and demonstrate consideration for the perspectives and experiences of others like customers and colleagues, all while keeping business objectives in mind.
Whilst many roles consider teamwork to be a core value, it often requires independent work. Are candidates capable of solo working to maximize productivity or do they need to be closely managed? Do they prefer formal reviews over longer periods of time or informal, regular reviews? Whilst some changes can be made to a job role, you will require someone who fits in with the ethos of the company as well as the available resources.
Questions to ask
- When you’re helping a customer, do you imagine yourself in their situation?
- Tell me about a time when you had to give a customer bad news.
- What is your proudest professional moment so far?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- How do you respond to constructive criticism?
- How do you deal with a conflict at work?
Customer service made easy
Whilst hiring the right customer service agents will be key to a successful business, it’s equally important to have the technology in place to help them achieve this.
Here at Dixa, we’ve built an intuitive customer service platform that improves the agent experience, giving agents everything they need to create superior customer experiences—right at their fingertips.
Get in touch today to make customer service easier for your company!