Having interviewed for a range of Customer Services and Call Centre positions I am very familiar with the different types of interview questions you will come across. Some will be directed towards discovering how capable you are and whether you possess the essential skills such as communication and customer handling, while others aim to find out how committed you are and how long you will stay in the role.
This article gives an insight into the industry and highlights some potential questions asked at customer services or call centre interviews and are relevant to posts such as Customer Services Agents or Representatives, Supervisors, and Managers.
All about Customer Services and Call Centre Jobs
Almost all modern organisations have some form of Customer Service function. This can range from the receptionist who meets and greets visitors, right up to a dedicated call centre with 1,000′s of employees.
The activity of Customer Servicing refers to the behaviours and actions an organisation undertakes during its interaction with its customers and can be present at all times, before, during and after a transaction.
The task of the Customer Service function is to make this interaction as easy and smooth as possible, generating goodwill and in turn encouraging loyalty and repeat purchases.
A career in this sector can certainly be rewarding. While some may find the task of dealing with people stressful, for others there is a sense of achievement in ‘helping’ and making sure that customers get what they want.
Many jobs are specifically ‘customer facing’ which refers to the situation where the customer is being interacted with directly, for example in the branch of a bank or over the telephone or internet.
In others, such as ‘back office’ roles, the employee never has to deal directly with the customer. For example, when processing a credit card application, the front end sale may have been completed in a live environment with a sales agent, after which the application is sent to a processing centre where the details are input into a computer and credit reference checks performed. Even though this individual never sees the customer, they are still part of the customer service chain.
The Job Interview: Interview Questions to Expect
A candidate at a job interview for a Customer Service or Call Centre role can be asked a whole array of standard interview questions such as: ‘Tell me about yourself’, ‘What will you bring to the role?’, ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?’.
No change from any other interview, however, they will also be asked some very specific question relating to their ability to manage customer relationships.
For example, how would you answer these questions?
1: ‘Can you give an example of a time when you experienced good customer service and explain why it was good’
2: ‘Tell me about a time when you gave effective customer service.’
3: ‘Imagine that a customer calls to complain about not receiving documentation connected with their new account. How would you respond to this customer and what would you do to resolve the situation?’
4: ‘Have you ever dealt with a company that provided first-class customer service? What aspects made it so good and how would you apply the same principles in this role?’
5: ‘Working in this face-to-face customer service environment, how would you demonstrate that you are listening to a customer?’
6: ‘Talk me through an example of how you have used data to improve your teams productivity.’
7: ‘How would you deal with an angry customer who was verbally abusing one of your staff?’
8: ‘How would you build and maintain and excellent customer services team?’
9: ‘Tell me about a time when you or your team failed to achieve it’s targets.’
10: ‘What do you find most challenging about a career in Customer Services?’
11: ‘Tell me about a time when you have gone above the call of duty to assist a client.’
12: ‘Have you ever had to go outside standard policy in order to help a customer? Tell me about it.’
* Questions taken from the InterviewGold Online Interview Training System. Click here for more.
So how would you have answered these questions? While it is possible to train an employee in the basics of the job, it is very difficult to instill the empathy and sensitivity required to be an excellent Customer Service employee; these can only come through experience and this is what these questions set out to discover.
In addition, remember you may be asked Competency Based Interview Questions exploring core skills such as Communication, Achieving Results, Building Relationships, Interpersonal Skills, Use of Initiative, Leadership and Supervision and Team Working.
How to Answer Customer Services Interview Questions
The key to successful answering lies in being able to understand what is required in the post and what the interviewer is looking for. For example, Customer Service jobs require a certain skill set and the interviewers will be looking to see if you possess them. They will expect you to give examples clearly demonstrating these skills and being able to communicate these in a clear and concise manner is essential.
While the competencies required can vary, for every Customer Services position, you can bet on one of the main skills being Communication. You will either need to be excellent at communicating with clients, colleagues and with an audience.
Other key skills and/or experiences are ability to think laterally, make decisions, work as part of a team. You’ll also need to demonstrate your ability to manage time and meet deadlines. To work in customer services management, you need the ability to motivate others, to lead and manage and to ensure your team contributes to goals. Most importantly at whatever level you are at, you should be enthusiastic about the organisation and what it does, and let that enthusiasm shine in the interview.
How to Succeed in Customer Services Interviews
To succeed in your Customer Services Interview you need to prepare properly and practice thoroughly and to help I can fully recommend InterviewGold the leading online interview skills training system.
With InterviewGold, not only will you learn all the skills to succeed in any Customer Services interview you will also get EXPERT INTERVIEW ANSWERS to any interview question they can ask.