In this new blog, we would like to bring you the tools to succeed in a Customer Service job Interview. The customer service representative, agent or coordinator is a role that acts to provide information on products/services and resolve any emerging problems that the customer may face with efficiency and accuracy.
There are differences in customer service roles based on the company you apply to. You can find customer service roles in the front or in the back office. With the front office you may deal directly with customers or you could be working in the back office supporting the customer indirectly with intermediaries. In more concrete terms, the customer service agent deals with complaints, errors, orders, cancellations, billing, and other queries. The primary role is to maintain customer satisfaction through the different types of interactions.
The good news about Customer Service roles is that you can see this role as your entry ticket to many companies. It can open you many doors as the skills required to be an excellent customer service agent are keys to many other jobs.
An interesting article from McKinsey & Company, the role of customer care in a customer experience transformation highlights how Customer Care roles are becoming important in the future of customer experience.
As Customer Service evolves and becomes more and more important, companies are looking for genuine people who want to do customer service jobs by conviction. The skills and profile researched in this function becomes more and more concrete and narrowed down. Let’s go through an example of a good Job interview for a customer service agent role and let’s discuss and summarize the main key take away.
1. What is the mission of the customer service department?
The mission of the customer service department is to respond to customers' requests on product or service. The customer service department handles basic requests like order delivery or order process to most urgent requests like a breakdown. The mission is to maintain and sustain customer satisfaction on the long run.
2. What does customer service mean to you?
Customer service means human interaction, helping and supporting people with challenges and problems. Customer service is the image of the company. It is the enabler of the organization because without order, the company would not be able to sell and without problem solving the number of customers retained would be low. The customer service is the department who has a sole mission to help, support and make everyone's needs happen by means of process and reflection on the best path to resolve a problem.
3. How would you turn an unhappy customer into a happy customer (switch experience)?
An unhappy customer is a person who has been disappointed by either a product or a service that the company fails to deliver in the expected conditions. To turn an unhappy customer into a happy one, the first step is to understand what the actual problem is. It does not mean only listening to what the customer is saying at the first echo but to ask a question, dig into what the actual reason of the issue is. A customer care agent must ask questions and be willing to listen to customer frustration. Once the actual problem is identified. The switch of experience from the customer point of view will be happening if as a customer care agent, I stay patient, smiling and I provide solutions in a timely manner. The customer needs to feel ownership and feel accompanied in his journey.
4. What are the skills that a customer care agent must have?
To be an excellent customer care agent, few skills are needed: a customer care agent should feel empathy towards customer situations, be motivated by the feeling of solving problems for others, and be able to adapt communication style based on the person. The customer care agent should also be able to manage priority and time as urgency often drops on its table.
5. What are the challenges of a customer service agent?
The role of customer services is shaped with challenges like dealing with unhappy customers, tight key performance indicators, being limited by the number of options to offer in order to help the customer but also sometimes a customer care agent can be challenged by the number of requests received at the same time.
6. What do you do when you do not know how to help a customer?
When I do not know how to help a customer, I would usually first make sure I understand the request of the customer and ask as many details as I can. Once I have a clear overview of the situation, I will ask the customer contact details if not yet done and tell him or her that I will get back to him or her as soon as possible. In the meantime, I will verify if I can find a solution with the tools that the company places at my disposal and if not, then I will reach out to my supervisor or my colleagues and ask for help. If the situation takes long to be implemented, I will continue to keep my customer updated on the action I am taking to make him or her feel like I am taking ownership of the situation. I will follow up until I have the solution.
7. How do you think teamwork is important in a customer service role?
Teamwork in a customer service environment is crucial as a customer should never feel interruption in its experience regardless if I am on leave. Teamwork is first important to ensure continuity in customer experience and ownership, but also because there are usually many processes, changes, and information to know, teamwork is important as you cannot be an expert in every field.
8. What is your process for de-escalating a customer argument?
To de-escalate an argument, I need to make sure I keep my calm, regardless of the situation, losing temper is the best way to lose control of it. I will focus on understanding the situation fully and respond rationally without excluding any emotions from my response. To respond I will put myself in my customer shoes and express empathy. I will try to find common ground with the other person and find an alternative solution that can be acceptable. My best tactic is to always stick to the facts.
9. What do you think of empathy?
Empathy is the foundation of a customer care agent journey; without empathy it is easy to let yourself overwhelmed by the situation and distance yourself from the customer problem. Empathy is what makes our company keep its human touch, without empathy customer service would not exist. Empathy is what helps us to feel and understand our customer’s problem and do our best everyday as a customer care agent.
10. Describe a mistake you have made handling a customer problem and tell us how you did solve it?
Once, I provided a delivery date to my customer that was incorrect, I was checking the wrong product. I realized this only some time after I sent my response. Once I realized my mistake, I directly communicated my mistake to the customer and I also told my supervisor about my mistake.
I have sent an email to apologize to the customer and copied my supervisor. Luckily, the customer understood and was not angry. In other cases, I was already thinking of another alternative to remediate my mistake.
Here are potential questions and answers that a candidate for a customer care role may go through.
When you apply for a customer care role, make sure you put forward your soft skills: communication, empathy, problem-solver etc. Speak as much as possible as “we” to demonstrate team work ability and emphasize the communication and customer need in your response.
Your day to day challenge will always be to keep your customer happy while making sure you stay aligned with company policy and capacity.
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