Customer service roles can be found in any company that deals with clients. Some companies communicate through call centres while others use email. Retail stores big and small have customer service representatives who deal with customers on a day-to-day basis. Companies use a customer service recruitment process which involves a customer service skills test and a role play exercise.
Although each specific company is looking for something specific in their employees, keep these general competencies in mind when answering interview questions or completing a test as they are common to all customer service jobs.
Good communication skills - Customer service is all about the communication between you as a company representative and the customer. This means you need to be able to communicate clearly and in a positive manner.
Stress tolerance - Unfortunately, unhappy customers are not always the most pleasant people to deal with. Good customer service means that you can act under stressful circumstances and are able to handle surprises. You should also be able to serve customers quickly and efficiently to avoid further frustration.
Problem analysis and solving - Most of your work as a customer service agent revolves around problem solving. You need to be able to understand the customer's problem as well as the appropriate solution. Having a good knowledge of the product can help with this along with attention to detail about both the product and your customer's issue.
Adaptability - Companies are looking for candidates who are able to adapt quickly to situations.
Being a good customer service representative means interacting with customers in a positive, calm and personable way no matter the situation. To determine if you have the skills necessary, companies use customer service skills tests which take the form of a situational judgment test or SJT. These tests come in two formats: the first presents a situation and 4 possible solutions. Your task is to choose either the best or worst of these solutions. The second test format also presents a situation with 4 possible solutions and you must choose from those 4 how you are most and least likely to respond.
Our dedicated customer service SJT can help you get the score well on this assessment and bring you one step closer to that job offer.
Apart from interviews and situational judgment tests, some companies also hold assessment centres or recruitment events to see applicants in action. During these assessments, the assessors simulate a situation between you and a customer to see how you respond and what actions you take as well as an examination of your overall behavior. This can simulate a live setting or a situation over the phone depending on the nature of the company. Make sure you review the competencies and keep positive and calm throughout to make sure you leave a good impression.
Interviews for customer service roles focus on competencies and previous work experience. Having work experience is not always part of the job criteria, however be prepared to show the competencies in other areas, such as school or extracurricular activities. As in the previous assessments, your ability to come across and sociable, polite and positive is key.
Here are some example customer service interview questions:
Check out Monster's page for more examples of customer service interview questions.
Before your interview, which can be conducted in person, by phone or via webcam, review the competencies listed for the job and think of any relevant examples where you feel that this competency is shown. Remember to keep a cool head during the interview and be confident.
Getting that customer service can be a challenge but with the right preparation for the tests and interviews coming your way, you're sure to get yourself the spot. Remember to show off the competencies at every turn and let assessors know what a hard worker you are.