Customer support can make or break your company.
One of the most important investments you can make is in customer support. Why? Your customer support team's importance relies on the fact that they are your most direct connection between your customers and your business.
That's why it's crucial to understand how essential customer service is to improving your business and relationships with customers.
Why is customer service important?
Good Customer service is key in helping you retain customers and extract more value from the relationships with them.
Top-quality customer service will allow you to recoup customer acquisition costs and nurture a loyal following that refers customers, serves as case studies, and provides testimonials and reviews.
Building a customer support team is important, but listen to these tips about what KPIs to track to measure the performance of your customer support efforts.
Customer Support Representatives are likely to determine your level of retention and acquisition.
That’s why you must be very thorough when hiring Customer Support Specialists. Here are 5 interview questions that help you find the best:
#1 - What’s your approach to customer support?
Your company should have a customer service philosophy, guided by your overall mission statement. For example, some of the most successful companies in the world, like Amazon or Zappos are customer-obsessed. Like Tony Robbins says, don’t fall in love with your product; fall in love with your clients.
So, by asking this first question you’ll be able to discover if the candidate is a good fit for your company’s culture.
You’ll also find out if they understand what their role entails; if they're passionate about customer support; if they believe in the importance of customer retention and customer success; and if they’re committed to the growth of the company.
#2 - Are you a people person? Give me an example
The answer to this question will be more obvious by the candidate’s body language and his/her interaction with you during the interview.
Still, you should ask for a story where the candidate showed empathy and built rapport with a client. Does the candidate enjoy talking to people and know how to nurture relationships?
Even if the candidate has little or no experience, look for hints that the future Customer Support Rep has a passion for helping people and is focused on the customer.
#3 - Tell us about a time when you successfully handled a difficult customer (or person)
Here, you’re looking for evidence of conflict resolution skills, emotional intelligence and the ability to follow customer service protocols.
The ultimate test is to turn an angry customer into a happy customer, without getting frustrated or angry yourself. So, listen for those candidates that focus their story on the steps they took to resolve the problem as opposed to those who complain about the customer and how difficult everything was. The best candidates won’t bad mouth the clients.
Look for personal stories, not just theory. If the candidate doesn’t have prior experience with clients, ask for a life story where they had to deal with a difficult person.
A closely related question is, What do you do when you don’t know the answer to a question? Here you’re looking for honesty and resourcefulness -- you don’t want reps providing inaccurate information.
#4 - Tell us about your experience in customer support
The level of experience is very important, especially if your current needs call for a specialist with previous experience. It will also show what level of training and on-boarding needs to be done.
Here are some questions you may ask:
- What type of support (Tier 1, Tier 2) have you done already?
- How many customers did you serve per week?
- What support channels have you used before (phone, chat, email)?
- What CRMs have you used?
You should ask specifically for the tech tools used in your company. If they have experience with those tools, it’s a great bonus; if not, asses their ability and desire to learn new skills quickly.
Also, inquire how they handle monotonous tasks, as the day-to-day of a Customer Support Rep may involve many repetitive and sometimes boring activities.
#5 - What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Although not every candidate will know how to answer this question with details, at least they should have a sense of where they want to go in life.
It will show you a couple of things. First, it will reveal if they’re driven and focused, which is a good character trait, as it reflects self-confidence and determination.
Second, it will let you know if the candidate is a person who wants to grow within the company, if his or her career path is in customer support or if this is just a temporary job until something better pops up.
Closing the Interview
There are indeed many questions you can ask when hiring a Customer Support Specialist, depending on your needs and your industry.
Just make sure you have a balanced interview, getting to know each candidate’s skills and character traits. However, the most important, as described above, is a match with your organizational culture and values, because while skills can be taught, culture and values aren’t as simple.
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