Evaluating Customer Service Skills During an Interview

With numerous positions demanding employees who are great at customer service, looking for these skills is something you should do right from the get go. Fortunately, an initial interview is the perfect time to assess a candidate’s customer service skills and get a feel for how qualified they are. Here are some specific ways to evaluate how strong they are in this area.

Examine Politeness and Etiquette

A big part of excellent customer service is simply being polite and treating customers respectfully. Consequently, you should observe how a candidate behaves, and the level of courtesy they show. For example, do they say things like please and thank you? Do they say you’re welcome? In terms of body language, do they smile and have an approachable demeanor? Also, are they generally likeable?

If a candidate exhibits these signs, then the chances are good that they would be effective in a customer service position. On the other hand, if they’re noticeably rude or seem unapproachable, then they’re probably not right for the job.

Analyze Overall Communication Skills

Because effective communication and solid interpersonal skills are critical in customer service, you should use take notice of your interaction with a job candidate. This starts from the time you first receive their resume and cover letter. Do they communicate clearly so you understand the point they’re trying to get across? Or is there some level of confusion on their qualifications?

You should also use the time during an interview to gauge how strong their communication skills are. Do they answer your questions effectively? How good are they at listening? Are you able to establish clear two-way communication? See if you’re able to build solid rapport and make a connection with them, because it will be important for a candidate to do this with customers if they’re hired.

Ask Key Questions 

After making a subjective assessment, it’s a good idea to ask a few questions to see how a person might respond if they’re in a real life situation. Here are a few examples from Penn State University that should provide some insight:

  • What makes excellent customer service excellent? Give one example of excellent customer service that you have provided.
  • Describe the ways in which you ensure the satisfaction of your customers. Can you provide an example?
  • Can you give me an example of a time when a customer was being unreasonable? Tell me exactly what the situation was and how you handled it.
  • What did you learn from that situation?

Due to the importance of customer service skills in many of today’s occupations, you should use an interview as an opportunity to learn as much as you can about a candidate and where they stand in this area. For more information on finding highly qualified employees and streamlining the recruiting process, contact us today.

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