I'd be very surprised if you haven't been asked this one at every interview. It's probably the most asked question because it sets the stage for the interview and it gets you talking. Be careful not to give the interviewer your life story here. You don't need to explain everything from birth to present day. Relevant facts about education, your career and your current life situation are fine.
This could include anything from night classes to hobbies and sports. If it's related, it's worth mentioning. Obviously anything to do with further education is great, but maybe you're spending time on a home improvement project to work on skills such as self-sufficiency, time management and motivation.
Once again, there are a few ways to answer this but they should all be positive. You may work well under pressure, you may thrive under pressure, and you may actually prefer working under pressure. If you say you crumble like aged blue cheese, this is not going to help you get your foot in the door.
Do your homework before you go to any interview. Whether it's being the VP of marketing or the mailroom clerk, you should know about the company or business you're going to work for. Has this company been in the news lately? Who are the people in the company you should know about? Do the background work, it will make you stand out as someone who comes prepared, and is genuinely interested in the company and the job.
The answer to this one is not money, even if it is. You should be motivated by life's noble pursuits. You want recognition for a job well done. You want to become better at your job. You want to help others or be a leader in your field.
Ok, this is not the time for full disclosure. If some people from your past are going to say you're a boring A-hole, you don't need to bring that up. Stay positive, always, and maybe have a few specific quotes in mind. "They'd say I was a hard worker" or even better "John Doe has always said I was the most reliable, creative problem-solver he'd ever met."
These questions will follow along the lines of competency based interview questions where the interviewer tries to find out your skill level and what you would do and have done in certain situations relating to the customer service job. Below we will guide you through the possible customer service interview questions you may be asked, so sit back, relax and get yourself interview ready with us.
This is a good way to hint that you're in demand, without sounding like you're whoring yourself all over town. So, be honest and mention a few other companies but don't go into detail. The fact that you're seriously looking and keeping your options open is what the interviewer is driving at.
Customer Service first of all is knowing that the 'customer is king', the 'customer is always right'. Keeping the customer happy is the main role of a customer service agent. As you are usually the first point of contact, how you present yourself and your overall attitude is always remembered. Customer service is all about the customer and the service you provide, it will be your job to build positive relationships with them, making sure that their experience with the company is a confident one and in doing so the overall reputation of the company is increased.
No. Well, unless you're talking about murderers, racists, rapists, thieves or other dastardly characters, you can work with anyone. Otherwise you could be flagged as someone who's picky and difficult if you say, "I can't work with anyone who's a Bronco's fan. Sorry."
This should be a straightforward question to answer, but it can trip you up. Presumably you are looking for a new job (or any job) because you want to advance your career and get a position that allows you to grow as a person and an employee. It's not a good idea to mention money here, it can make you sound mercenary. And if you are in the unfortunate situation of having been downsized, stay positive and be as brief as possible about it. If you were fired, you'll need a good explanation. But once again, stay positive.
This is your chance to shine. You're being asked to explain why you are a great employee, so don't hold back and stay do stay positive. You could be someone who thrives under pressure, a great motivator, an amazing problem solver or someone with extraordinary attention to detail. If your greatest strength, however, is to drink anyone under the table or get a top score on Mario Kart, keep it to yourself. The interviewer is looking for work-related strengths.
How do you employ this data to achieve your customer service goals?
I measured the number of repetitive support emails that were coming in and identified that a number of questions were consistently asked. I researched the benefit of setting up a knowledge base online to address these questions. It was cost effective to do this and has proved an efficient way of reducing these repetitive emails sent by customers.
It's not a very fair question is it? We'd all love to get paid a Trump-like salary doing a job we love but that's rare indeed. It's fine to say money is important, but remember that NOTHING is more important to you than the job. Otherwise, you're just someone looking for a bigger paycheck.
Hopefully if you're applying for this position you have bags of related experience, and if that's the case you should mention it all. But if you're switching careers or trying something a little different, your experience may initially not look like it's matching up. That's when you need a little honest creativity to match the experiences required with the ones you have. People skills are people skills after all, you just need to show how customer service skills can apply to internal management positions, and so on.
In your answer describe receiving feedback from customers to identify areas for improvement, looking at every touch-point in the customer life-cycle and implementing actions to improve the process.
"I identified that customer satisfaction with our email support was not what it should be. The rule of thumb has been providing a response within 24 to 48 hours. However with the pace of everything increasing online I understood that we needed to achieve more impressive response times. I instituted a response time of 4 to 8 hours as the standard. This has set us apart from our competitors and improved customer satisfaction"
If you're completely honest, you may be kicking yourself in the butt. If you say you don't have one, you're obviously lying. This is a horrible question and one that politicians have become masters at answering. They say things like "I'm perhaps too committed to my work and don't spend enough time with my family." Oh, there's a fireable offense. I've even heard "I think I'm too good at my job, it can often make people jealous." Please, let's keep our feet on the ground. If you're asked this question, give a small, work-related flaw that you're working hard to improve. Example: "I've been told I occasionally focus on details and miss the bigger picture, so I've been spending time laying out the complete project every day to see my overall progress."
I identified that we were not getting the feedback we needed from customers. To ensure we knew about all the experiences our customers have we had to create an easily accessible way for them to give us feedback.
One way we resolved this was with a phone survey at the end of a service call. By creating a means for customers to provide immediate feedback it was easier to learn what needed improvement.
Run for cover! This is one tricky game to play in an interview. Even if you know the salary range for the job, if you answer first you're already showing all your cards. You want as much as possible, the employer wants you for as little as you're willing to take. Before you apply, take a look at salary.com for a good idea of what someone with your specific experience should be paid. You may want to say, "well, that's something I've thought long and hard about and I think someone with my experience should get between X & Y." Or, you could be sly and say, "right now, I'm more interested in talking more about what the position can offer my career." That could at least buy you a little time to scope out the situation. But if you do have a specific figure in mind and you are confident that you can get it, I'd say go for it. I have on many occasions, and every time I got very close to that figure (both below and sometimes above).
► Who have you spoken with so far in the interview process and what did you talk about? [This demonstrates if can they retain knowledge of names and other details]
► Tell me about your last or current position - what did you love and what didn't you like?
► Tell me about problems with the products or services you previously supported?
► What things on your resume are you really an expert on? [Ask to provide a really tough issue they resolved that involved those items.]
► How do you respond when you don't know the answer to a question?
► The customer is saying you're taking too long to solve the issue, what do you do?
► The customer is pointing out a big known problem with your product, what do you do? [This indicates if they can show empathy and/or have the ability to apologize.]
► Give an example of a customer that you turned around from a position of unhappiness to sheer joy.
► Define really great support. What experiences have you had personally that are great examples?
► Have you tried our product/service and what do you know about it?
► How would you handle negative feedback from a client?
► How would you handle a situation where a customer has asked for some service or product that is in violation of the company's policies and is against the better interests of the company?
► What would be the most important service skill that you would need to have in your day to day business?
► How would you initiate contact with the clients and customers?
► What would you do if you had to turn down a request from a valued customer?
► A customer is repeatedly using abusive language, but he has a valid point; what would you do?
► If you have to change any current activities in the company, how would go about doing it?
► Do you have any computer or technical knowledge?
► Do you have the necessary technical know-how for information and data transferring?
► Describe any intimidating situation you experienced in your previous job; did you handle it?
► Describe any unpleasant situation that your colleague was in. Did you intervene? What did you do?
► Describe a feature that was often requested by customers at your previous position.
► The product team asks for your opinion on the next feature to implement. What would you recommend?
► List some upcoming features on the product roadmap and discuss their relevance and value to your customers.
► How do you stay current on the industry of your customers?
► Describe a situation wherein you helped to exceed customer expectations.
► How have you gathering feedback from customers? How have you turned this feedback into actionable insights?
► Tell us about a time you had to give a team member candid feedback on their work.
► What is the most challenging aspect of working in customer service?
► Describe your approach to training a customer service representative.
► What would you do if you where given 10 tasks but only have time for 8?
► Tell me what you know about a ticketing system.
► What do you know about a ticketing system?
► How well do you work under pressure?
► Do you work well within a team?
► What would you do if you had to deal with a problem last minute?
► How would you deal with an angry client/customer?
► Give me an example of when you went the extra mile for a customer?
► How would you solve a problem creatively or in a creative way?
► If you had to decline an urgent request from a client what would you do?
► What targets did you deal with in the past and what where their results?
► Why should we hire you for this Customer Service Role?
Unless you have the I.Q. of a houseplant, you'll always answer YES to this one. It's the only answer. How can anyone function inside an organization if they are a loner? You may want to mention what part you like to play in a team though; it's a great chance to explain that you're a natural leader.
Describe the metrics you use and why. Common metrics include:
► first response time
► first contact resolution
► problem resolution time
► resolution rates
► escalation rates
► customer retention
► call volumes
I have been asked this a lot, in various incarnations. The first time I just drew a blank and said, "I don't know." That went over badly, but it was right at the start of my career when I had little to no experience. Since then I've realized that my genuine answer is "Neither, I'd rather be respected." You don't want to be feared because fear is no way to motivate a team. You may got the job done but at what cost? Similarly, if you're everyone's best friend you'll find it difficult to make tough decisions or hit deadlines. But when you're respected, you don't have to be a complete bastard or a lame duck to get the job done.
What process did you follow to understand the reasons for the poor performance, gain commitment to the need for change and resolve the issues?
Approaches include developing a program of required actions for the team member to follow, providing training, coaching and mentoring, allocating necessary resources.
Again, another nasty question. If you say yes, you're a corporate whore who doesn't care about family. If you say no, you're disloyal to the company. I'm afraid that you'll probably have to say yes to this one though, because you're trying to be the perfect employee at this point, and perfect employees don't cut out early for Jimmy's baseball game.
Focus on the strengths and skills required to successfully manage a customer service team including clear communication, organizational and planning skills, people development and empowerment, motivational skills and problem-solving skills. Support your answer with examples of actual feedback you have received from team members.
As I'm sure you know, "because I'm great" or "I really need a job" are not good answers here. This is a time to give the employer a laundry list of your greatest talents that just so happen to match the job description. It's also good to avoid taking potshots at other potential candidates here. Focus on yourself and your talents, not other people's flaws.
Talk the interviewer through a policy you developed, structuring your answer around these recognized steps.
► Clearly identify the goals for the policy
► Ensure correlation between the customer service goals and the company mission and objectives
► Identify the specific processes that will result in goal accomplishment
► Develop standard operating procedures and guidelines for the processes
► Train your staff in the implementation of the new customer service policy
It's important here to focus on the word "implemented." There's nothing wrong with having a thousand great ideas, but if the only place they live is on your notepad what's the point? Better still, you need a good ending. If your previous company took your advice and ended up going bankrupt, that's not such a great example either. Be prepared with a story about an idea of yours that was taken from idea to implementation, and considered successful.
Focus on utilizing different management styles to increase effectiveness in different situations and with different employees. Why do certain management styles work in particular scenarios?
"I find that it is most effective to have a variety of management styles and to use them appropriately. I have to adapt according to the team member and the situation. However one aspect of my management style that remains consistent is that I employ a hands-on approach.
I get a better appreciation for what my team does by spending time on the front lines, it builds a strong relationship with them and keeps me informed. I have found a participative approach to management helps build commitment and consensus among employees "
Arrgh! If you fall for this one you shouldn't be hired anyway. The interviewer is testing you to see if you'll speak badly about your previous supervisor. Simply answer this question with extreme tact, diplomacy and if necessary, a big fat loss of memory. In short, you've never had any issues.
Key factors include a good understanding of the needs of the customer and having the right skills, resources and processes in place to meet these needs.
From a customer service management perspective criteria include clear communication of objectives and expectations to staff, consistent performance management, empowering staff to meet customer demands, ensuring staff are sufficiently engaged, listening to feedback from staff and customers and effectively acting on it.
Of course, you have a list as long as your arm. But you can't say that, it shows you as being negative and difficult to work with. The best way to answer this one is to think for a while and then say something like "I've always got on just fine with my co-workers actually."
This should be directly related to the last question. Any research you've done on the company should have led you to the conclusion that you'd want to work there. After all, you're at the interview, right? Put some thought into this answer before you have your interview, mention your career goals and highlight forward-thinking goals and career plans.
Discuss how you identified the opportunity for cost saving and how you implemented appropriate measures to improve operational efficiency. Examples include:
► cross training employees to handle different functions
► scheduling employees according to call and query volumes
► introducing new technologies
► providing information via an interactive website or other digital channel
Provide examples of the types of motivation you have used and their effectiveness. Examples include cash incentives, training programs, career development, time off, recognition. Focus on identifying and meeting individual motivations with specific rewards tied to the employee's interests and needs.
Other factors to discuss in your interview answer include providing the right resources for the team to do their job including skills, knowledge, support and equipment. A team that is not armed with the right resources will find it difficult to do their job and stay motivated.
Time spent individually with each team member listening to them and developing them is another strong motivational tool. Taking the time to encourage them in their work and providing constructive, factual and sincere feedback are motivating factors.