Great customer service is critical to any organisation’s efforts to maintain strong relationships with its clients. Customer service staff are currently in demand by many retailers adjusting to an exodus of customers from stores as they shift to online retail because of COVID-19. Key services are also experiencing a spike in activity because of the increase in remote working – such as telecommunications and internet companies – which means more customer service support is needed here, too.

But there’s more to the job than meets the eye — just as there's more to asking the right interview questions for customer service than you might expect when you're hiring.

Customer service representatives must be fast-thinking, flexible and diplomatic. What’s more, they must have excellent communication skills in order to walk people through solutions to complex challenges, and they must be creative problem-solvers. In addition, these individuals also often perform data entry and research ways to resolve problems brought to them by the company’s clients. It’s a skillset you won’t discover in many people, which is why top-notch customer service employees can be hard to find.

Hiring managers can’t afford to pick just anyone. They must ensure they’re landing the right people for the position. The following 26 customer service job interview questions will help your company evaluate job applicants and find the ones that best match your needs:

Use these interview questions for customer service to learn more about skills and experience

  • Tell me about your previous work experience in customer service.
  • What first drew you to customer service? What do you like best about it, and what do you find most challenging?
  • What types of customer service systems have you used?
  • How familiar are you with the systems we use?
  • How much experience do you have with data entry?
  • How would you characterise your communication style?

Pose these interview questions to assess the applicant’s fit with your company culture

  • What do you know about this company’s products and services?
  • Have you tried our products and/or services? If so, what do you think of them?
  • Why would you be a good fit for our company?
  • What makes you the best candidate for this particular job?

These job interview questions can help you learn about the applicant’s work style

  • How do you measure your success as a customer service rep?
  • What types of team structures have you worked with in the past? What team structure suits you the best?
  • Tell me about a time you had to handle a major change in the approach to service at your company or had to adapt to a new supervisor’s style.
  • Describe an experience in which you received feedback from a client, positive or negative, and how you changed your approach to the job in response.
  • Tell me about a time at a previous job when you disagreed with a policy or decision regarding service at your organisation. What did you do about it?
  • How would you handle a conflict between co-workers? What about a conflict with your supervisor?

Ask a question like these to find out more about the applicant’s approach to the job

  • In your opinion, what is outstanding customer service?
  • When you are calling clients, how do you start the conversation with them?
  • Do you ever chat with clients, other than simply providing an answer to their query or solution to their issue? If so, what sort of things do you discuss?
  • To do this job well, you need to be a good problem solver. Solve this situation for me: My coffee maker stopped working this morning. How do I fix it?
  • Give me an example of an instance in which you went the extra mile for a customer.
  • Have you ever had to answer queries from a client whose request you didn’t fully understand? Explain how you resolved the situation.
  • Tell me about a time when you encountered a patron who was extremely angry and/or upset. How did you handle it?
  • Have you ever been unable to answer a client’s question or solve a customer’s issue? What did you do? Provide details in your answer.
  • Give me an example of an occasion when you didn’t know the answer to a patron’s question. How did you explain that, and how did you ultimately resolve it?
  • If you had to decline a valued client’s request, how would you do it?

Asking the right interview questions for customer service staff will help you select the right candidate for the job.

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