Agent Experience

4 Questions to Ask When Hiring Contact Center Agents

Hiring contact center agents is one of the most important recruiting initiatives for your company. They’re often your first line of interaction with customers, and their demeanor and decision-making can reinforce or cost you critical customer relationships. Beyond evaluating résumés and past professional experience, the interview for contact center agents is absolutely critical. Here are four questions to ask to ensure you are adding the right talent to your team.

What’s your definition of great customer service? Every company has a unique understanding of what excellent customer service looks like. While agents can be trained to execute on your vision, a fundamental alignment of underlying expectations can help make the process more seamless. For example, do you believe the customer is always right and that your team should go to any lengths to resolve their issues? Delivering on this level of service requires a certain perspective and perseverance. Take the time to understand what the candidate organically thinks of as great customer service and whether that matches up with your company’s goals and objectives.

Describe the worst Customer Service interaction you’ve had and how you resolved it. Every Customer Service agent has a horror story of a particularly difficult customer or a challenging issue to resolve. Take the opportunity during the interview to find out what the most challenging scenario this person has ever dealt with looks like, and determine how they resolved it. You can learn a significant amount about the candidate’s thought process, creativity, and focus on the customer by exploring this scenario in detail.

How do you deal with stress on the job? Customer service is a stressful job. Whether it’s dealing with angry customers or simply staying “on” for the required volume of calls, a sustainable career in this field requires inventive approaches to managing stress. For example, does the candidate practice meditation between calls or take a walk on his or her lunch break? Perhaps candidates naturally don’t mind stress and even find that they thrive in these conditions. Explore what the candidates’ relationship is to stress and what steps they take to manage it on an ongoing basis.

How do you handle questions you don’t know the answer to? In Customer Service, agents are frequently faced with new challenges or asked questions they don’t know the answer to. Look for candidates who are willing to ask questions, explore available resources, and leverage technology to help them quickly, efficiently, and accurately resolve customer questions.

Hiring the right people depends on a number of different factors, and in Customer Service, it’s critical to get down to the root of how potential candidates address challenging situations. Ask the right questions to get the full picture of how they stay cool under pressure, manage stress, and handle difficult customers. A strong interview will ensure you have the right people on the front lines of your customer service efforts.