Any company would agree that customer support is the thing that keeps their business alive and kicking. Out of all the people you hire in your company, those who play a role in customer service will influence how you’re perceived by your target market and how you can thrive with repeat business. Your people in customer support has the power to turn customers into ravings fans of your brand or lead them running out the door. According to a study made by American Express, more than half of Americans have scrapped a planned purchase or transaction because of bad service, and 33% say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service. That’s why when it comes to hiring customer support, you have to get it right.
No matter what kind of hiring process you have in your company, whether actively or passively recruiting candidates, interviews will always be a crucial part of it. It’s still one of the most effective ways to tell if a candidate fits the role like a glove.
Curious to know what type of meaningful questions you should be asking? Check out the 10 best interview questions below to successfully hire your next customer support champion.
1. Why do you want to work in customer support?
This is a good question to ask to start the conversation going. Many would say that they love working with people or are excited to hone a new skill. Whatever their answer is, make sure their sense of purpose is aligned with your brand and they have the right motivation for the job. Hiring customer support is not just about filling a vacancy, you’re fulfilling one of the most crucial roles in your organization.
2. How important to you is customer satisfaction?
Ask this question to know if your candidate understands the real value of customer happiness and its impact on the business. Their answer will tell you if they have a genuine desire to help others and capable of creating a positive impact in a service-based environment.
3. Can you tell me about a time when you were proud of the level of service you gave a customer?
Knowing how a candidate perceives excellent service will tell you if their standards are parallel to yours. This question will also help you size them up to see if they’re the type to go above and beyond what is expected or will they just do as they’re told.
4. How do you handle stress and pressure?
The nature of customer service is unpredictable and stressful. You never know when you’re going to face an upset customer or when a complex problem will fall on your lap. Hire someone who can stay calm and collected in the face of difficulty. This question will give you a sense if your candidate knows how to manage stress and can rise above whatever comes their way.
5. Tell me a time when you couldn’t resolve a customer’s concern.
Everyone hits a wall once in a while even if they’re an expert in what they do. Asking a question like this can give you insights on how your candidate reacts to a problem they don’t know the answer to. What you’re looking for here is someone who can think outside the box, goes out of their way to assist, and present an alternative or temporary solution.
6. Share a time when you had to admit an obvious mistake to a customer?
Everybody makes mistakes, whether it be individuals or companies. Admitting a fault shows humility and accountability. Good candidates will be able to walk you through how they own up to their own or their company’s mistake, how they maintain a positive language, and what step they took to make things right for the customer.
7. Tell me a time when you handled a frustrated customer?
A customer service professional deals with a lot of clients every day — all with different emotional wavelengths. In hiring customer support, it’s important to assess if your candidate has the emotional intelligence to identify with your customers. The best customer support knows that they can’t let an upset customer lose their cool. Their answer will reveal if they can pacify a customer by being empathetic, reassuring, and focusing on the solution.
8. Describe a time when you had to say no to a customer’s request.
There’s the classic saying that customer is always right. But in rare times, people who work in customer service find themselves having to say no to a customer. You can ask your candidate about their experience in doing so or what they would do in such a situation. This question tests their confidence, professionalism, and execution in unusual times when they have to politely decline. Most importantly, you need to be looking out for answers where they offered other means to address a problem. In customer service, the mantra is — focus on what you can do and not what you can’t do.
9. How do you keep yourself motivated when you have to deal with an unpleasant situation at work?
When hiring customer support, it’s good to throw in interview questions that will shed some light on your candidate’s personality. It’s not only the skills and experience you’re looking for after all. Will your candidate get easily distracted with personal problems? Can he or she stay objective amidst a potential workplace issue? Any company, no matter how great they are, has its own set of workplace challenges. Asking this question lets you know if you’ll have someone who can stay objective and manage themselves when the going gets tough.
10. How do you normally work in a team setting?
You have to assess for collaboration to ensure that your next customer support has the ability to work well with others. In most companies, the customer support team has to communicate with other departments. Their answer to this question will give you a sense of their working style and if they can team up with others to achieve the same goal.
Hiring the best possible talent is easier said than done. It starts with asking the right questions when you sit down and interview a candidate. Having an open conversation that reveals their past experiences, attitude, and skills is a great way to see how they’ll be like working in your team.
You’ll avoid making painful hiring mistakes and land people who are worth their weight in gold — those who will help you turn customers into lifelong supporters of your brand.