Call Center Representative Interview Questions
A Call Center Representative provides stellar customer support for a company’s clientele; they may also act as sales agents and assist potential customers by answering any questions and completing transactions. Call center jobs require patience, strong communication skills and technical abilities to ensure every caller has a positive experience. Customer service is one of the most influential service activities affecting a company’s reputation, so hiring the most qualified, flexible and personable people for your open job is essential to good business.
Interpersonal skills are by far the most important among Call Center Representatives. The ability to listen, ask the right questions, and provide clear, detailed responses to customer inquiries is crucial to company productivity and customer satisfaction. Every company has a unique voice, and it’s important to find candidates who can exemplify your business’s brand and mission to customers.
General interview questions (such as “Can you tell me about yourself?” and “Why are you looking for another job?”) are a great way to get to know your candidate’s personal history, interests, and goals. However, be sure to add inquiries specific to the role they’re interviewing for, so you can gain valuable insights into their likelihood of success in that position.
Below are Call Center Representative interview questions to help you get started:
1. What do you consider to be the most important element of good customer service?
What you want to hear: Everyone wants to receive quality customer service, but not everyone knows how to provide it. Strong responses to this question will list characteristics such as empathy, good listening skills and a friendly attitude. Listen for those candidates who take the extra step of relating such characteristics to their own strengths.
Red flag: Someone who does not know what customer service entails or any of its key elements will not be able to provide callers with the quality of care they expect. Your business’s reputation is shaped by experiences both new and loyal customers have with Call Center Representatives, which means you should only hire those candidates who have a deep understanding of the most essential qualities.
2. How would you manage your callers if you are personally having a bad day?
What you want to hear: Self-regulation ensures that every caller is treated well even when the Call Center Representative isn’t feeling great. Leaving their personal lives out of their work is important, and they must find ways to balance their own stressors and problems without letting a bad mood impact how they treat their callers.
Red flag: Candidates who are indifferent toward this question are more likely to be comfortable treating callers poorly when they do not feel like working or are dealing with personal struggles. Equally problematic is the candidate who claims to never have bad days; valuable candidates will fully acknowledge the impact mood has on job performance and list strategies to remain calm, reduce stress and maintain a positive attitude at work.
3. Do you have experience multi-tasking at work?
What you want to hear: Each call provides a new situation and task, and multiple calls at once can feel overwhelming. A candidate should provide examples of when they handled multiple tasks at work and have had to change tasks within a moment’s notice. Those who have actual customer service experience should include prior call experiences with their answer. Answers that use actual numbers are a plus.
Red flag: Call Center Representatives must be able to maintain their composure during high-volume hours. Some centers receive hundreds if not thousands of calls a day, which means multi-tasking skills are not only essential to work performance but also personal well-being. Those who become quickly flustered are not a good fit for the role.
4. If a customer calls you and starts screaming, what do you do?
What you want to hear: Customer service can be filled with anger and tension; candidates cannot take a customer’s anger personally even if they are directly attacked. They should strive to let the caller know they understand their frustration and express their desire to help. De-escalating the situation first will make it easier to find a solution and provide support.
Red flag: Anyone who has a bad temper or is highly sensitive will not perform well. Although there are many good experiences with callers, there are also many that are negative, stressful and disappointing. Lack of self-control can lead to callers being yelled at or calls being ended prematurely.
5. What role does patience play in your customer service?
What you want to hear: Customers may struggle to understand things, not speak English as a first language, or need additional support. Patience involves more than just the ability to listen well; patience ensures that all customer service is tailored to suit each caller’s needs and every solution is implemented at the perfect pace. The level of detail for the same problem will vary depending on each caller, which means the candidate should see patience as one of the most invaluable assets they bring to the job.
Red flag: Someone who openly admits they have little patience or does not see it as an influential factor will likely become frustrated or aggressive toward callers who do not respond immediately to their suggestions or instructions.
6. Can you walk me through the basic steps of taking a call?
What you want to hear: The candidate should start off with an introduction and possibly ask for the caller’s name. They should thank them for calling and ask them what they can help with today. They should always apologize for any inconvenience that a customer has and reassure them that they’re here to help.
Red flag: Failure to politely greet the caller or simply asking them what’s wrong will negatively impact the customer service experience. Although some well-intentioned, inexperienced candidates can likely be onboarded easily, you should closely listen for those whose responses indicate a lack of empathy or poor communication skills.
7. If a customer calls and asks for a refund but they do not qualify for one, how do you handle the situation?
What you want to hear: The candidate should apologize to the customer for their dissatisfaction and calmly explain why they are ineligible for a refund according to company policy. They should offer approved alternative solutions first, and they may offer to transfer the caller to a supervisor if they are unable to satisfy the customer.
Red flag: Callers may often demand things they are not able to receive, but companies typically have alternative solutions in place to meet customers’ needs without negatively impacting business. Candidates who refuse to offer solutions or simply disregard a customer’s experience are not likely to be valuable members of the customer service division. Positive responses to difficult situations can retain customers while poor handling of even minor inconveniences can sever a relationship for good.
8. Can you describe a time when you had to work with a customer who had a problem you struggled to resolve?
What you want to hear: A candidate should detail an experience that demonstrates their ability to solve problems quickly while maintaining a positive, reassuring attitude for their customer. Answers should demonstrate self-awareness, use of available resources, and solution-focused communication.
Red flag: Those candidates who respond negatively to challenges will be a risk for leaving customers feeling lost. Candidates must be comfortable handling a variety of problems and even be fully prepared to properly handle ones that they do not know how to immediately resolve.
9. What are some ways you strive to improve your customers’ experiences?
What you want to hear: Answers will vary based on what attributes a candidate considers most valuable to the customer service experience. Examples of good responses include incorporating feedback from supervisors, maintaining a positive and friendly attitude, and learning to empathize more.
Red flag: There is always an opportunity to learn new skills or strengthen existing ones; a candidate who is unmotivated to improving their customers’ experience is unlikely to be engaged in their work. They may also become defensive in response to professional feedback.
10. How would you upsell to customers in a non-intrusive way?
What you want to hear: Customers may benefit from upgrading or purchasing additional products or services that align with their current needs and experiences. A candidate should mention that they would find a way to connect the caller’s current situation with products or services that could help them. The focus should be on providing a better experience for the customer rather than making money.
Red flag: Candidates who do not know how to upsell or take a promotional route may negatively impact the business. Avoid hiring anyone who does not see the value of selling to customers or only focuses on making a sale. Identifying the right opportunity and aligning it with customer needs is the only way to upsell in an effective, respectful manner.
Every interview question can help get you closer to the right fit for your Call Center Representative position.
Be sure to keep an eye out for candidates who:
- Are friendly, easy-going and conversational.
- Demonstrate strong communication and active listening skills.
- Understand the qualities of good customer service.
- Can multi-task and perform well in a fast-paced environment.