10 interview questions for hiring great customer service reps

Providing memorable customer support sets you apart from your competition. But to make that happen, you have to build a customer support team that has the skills and temperament to effectively solve your customer’s issues and positively represent your company, day after day.

At Zendesk, finding customer service reps with certain fundamental skills is actually more important than having an extensive background in technology. We can teach them about the intricacies of Zendesk relatively quickly but the ability to be patient and empathetic must already be in place.

One of the first things we look for is whether or not they are passionate about helping others. A good indicator for this trait is if they’re passionate about other things in their lives such as a hobby or their family. During the interview, get them talking about their interests and ask yourself: “are they great at talking about the things they are passionate about?”

Honesty and transparency are huge for Zendesk. Our culture is such that we don’t want to hide anything from our customers. Our pricing is very transparent and our tone is friendly and engaged. We want our support team to reflect those values, so we look for people that naturally come across as genuine and open. During the interview, ask yourself: “do they go for easy, softball answers or can they get deeper without over-sharing?”

Below are 10 interview questions that can help you understand if the person you’re talking to has the skill-set and temperament to be an effective customer service rep:

  1. Who have you spoken with so far in the interview process and what did you talk about? [This demonstrates if can they retain knowledge of names and other details]
  2. Tell me about your last or current position — what did you love and what didn’t you like?
  3. Tell me about problems with the products or services you previously supported?
  4. What things on your resume are you really an expert on? [Ask to provide a really tough issue they resolved that involved those items.]
  5. How do you respond when you don’t know the answer to a question?
  6. The customer is saying you’re taking too long to solve the issue, what do you do?
  7. The customer is pointing out a big known problem with your product, what do you do? [This indicates if they can show empathy and/or have the ability to apologize.]
  8. Give an example of a customer that you turned around from a position of unhappiness to sheer joy.
  9. Define really great support. What experiences have you had personally that are great examples?
  10. Have you tried our product/service and what do you know about it?

Keeping all of the above in mind, when you’re looking for a rep that can provide memorable customer support, you should ask yourself if the candidate was memorable during the interview itself. If they were, and in all the right ways, you might have found yourself a great customer service rep.