1. Can you tell us about a time where you received constructive criticism?

It's always interesting to hear how people handle constructive criticism. This is a tough one to analyze, but you can usually tell in their story if the criticism was well received. If the candidate says something like, “I appreciated the feedback”, then it's likely they weren't defensive when the advice was received.

2. Can you tell me are you able to work with multiple phone lines?

Your answer: Yes, this has been part of my training, and my previous job entailed handling several lines. I have good multi-tasking skills and my previous employer can vouch for this.

3. Please explain how would you handle a high pressure environment?

Your answer: I am highly organized, and I prioritize my workload so that everything gets done on time and with high quality. I also leave room for urgent tasks that might be assigned to me so that my schedule is basically unaffected by emergencies.

4. Explain me what about the job description enticed you to apply?

Now that you know a bit about them and their background, it's good to get a sense of why they're interested in this particular role. Look out for specific keywords in their answer. Assuming this is a role for a contact center agent, responses like “customer facing” or “problem solving” might be great keywords for you. It also shows you how well they understand the role.

5. Tell us can you multi-task? typing while talking, for example?

You have to be able to do this, so say that you can. If you have never done this you must start practising. You can practice by typing replies while having a conversation with family or friends.

6. Explain why are you leaving your current role as Manager Call Center?

If the candidate is currently employed, it's important to understand why they are moving on. Answers like, “I'd like to learn more” or “it's time to spread my wings”, are great, but not if they've only been at the job for a few months. Watch how often the candidate jumps from job to job, since this can be a bad sign. Also, if they quickly go into shaming the company, this shows a lack of loyalty and professionalism.

7. Tell me do you have any experience in a call centre?

Give full details of any call centre jobs that you have previously done, even if only very short temporary work. If you have never done any call centre work say so and then go on to say why you would like to work in a call centre. By volunteering the information from the start you will come across as enthusiastic.

8. Tell us how have you used data to improve the level of customer service?

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 comprehensive 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."

9. Can you tell me how do you measure the success of your incentives?

An ideal answer to this question will demonstrate that you are capable of monitoring a situation as it evolves.

Whilst working in a call centre as a supervisor, I introduced ‘Sugar Fridays' – giving my team sweets and treats to get them through the Friday slog.

Prior to introducing the incentive, I compiled a backlog of sales figures from previous Fridays. I then introduced the incentive on a trial period, continued collecting data and cross-compared the results. There was an obvious peak in sales figures and so the incentive became permanent.

10. Tell us how would you deal with an irate customer on the phone?

To deal with an irate customer you must remain calm and be polite. Listen to the customer's complaint, take notes, and then reassure the customer that the company will make every attempt to resolve the problem.

Apologise to them directly, using phrases such as: “I am really sorry” to display sincerity. Don't apologise on behalf of the company by saying things like: “the company is sorry” as it takes away from the authenticity of your apology.

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