Your customers are important.
In a world of social media and review sites, customer service and experience is a huge deciding factor for consumers choosing brands to trust. So, what are the things you need to ask to be sure you’re hiring the right people to look after your customers? …
The reasons an applicant chooses to apply in the first place says a lot about how well they’re going to fit the role; whether they’ll enjoy it, whether they’ll get on well.
Try: “Why did you apply for this role?”
Look for: A genuine passion, experience or interest in customer service, as opposed to liking the convenience of the role/place of work (although this isn’t a bad thing, as long as it’s accompanied by the right stuff!).
The skill sets of candidates need to reflect the types of activities they’ll be turning their hand to on a day-to-day basis. Of course, you should have some information by way of their past roles, education etc., but to gain the full picture, you’ll need to find out more about them as a person…
Try: “What are your hobbies; what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?”
Look for: Any transferable skills, interests or competencies- especially if the candidate lacks customer service experience.
Being understanding and empathetic is extremely important when interacting with customers. When a customer has an issue, sympathy won’t take you far- the customer will see right through scripted sympathetic responses and it’ll only annoy them all the more. Instead, customer service employees need to really put themselves in the customer’s shoes, and fully understand the situation, in order to come up with the best solution, tailored to their needs.
Try: “Would you say that you’re a helpful person?”
Look for: Of course you’re looking for a yes to this question, but by delving further in to the reasons why the candidate believes they’re helpful and their experiences (what they did, how they reacted etc.), you’ll find out more about their levels of empathy and understanding.
Being polite, friendly and easy to talk to is an important skill in customer service; not to mention the positive effects employees with these traits have in creating a friendly, supportive atmosphere for the rest of the team, too. A happy team = happy customers!
Try: “Do you enjoy working in a team; if so, why?”
Look for: This question should reveal how well employees react to working in a team, but it should also tease out some detail about their interpersonal skills, which they’re going to need to utilise when speaking to customers! Customer service employees will need to work both on their own and with team members/colleagues, so it’s best that they feel comfortable with both.
Many times a day a customer service employee will need to use their initiative, along with brand process/policy, to resolve their customers’ queries/problems.
Try: “When was the last time you used your own initiative to resolve an issue or make a positive change?”
Look for: You want to know that your customer service employees are able to work alone confidently and effectively, and use their own initiative to resolve any problems. It’s also worth looking out for candidates sticking to policies, or using guides/knowledge bases to inform them should they need help: Initiative is good, going completely off track isn’t!
We all know that every job roles comes with its own trials, and customer-facing roles certainly don’t get away from this one!
Try: “What’s the most high-pressure experience you’ve faced within a working environment; how did you deal with it?”
Look for: The candidate will need to show an understanding of pressure, and how this is a part of everyday life. The most important thing is that they’re aware how they react to stresses and pressures, and know how to handle this in a professional way.
(Something to add: Don’t forget to measure all of your candidates to the same criteria!)