So, you’re hiring a new customer support rep.

You have gone through piles of resumes and it is now time to interview the top candidates.

Interviewing and hiring people is a long and expensive process, as a result, you want to make sure you’re picking out the best talent out of these upcoming interviews.

We have put together some key questions to ask while interviewing customer support staff specifically.

These are designed to pick up on top skills for customer support reps to provide flawless customer support.

To help you out further, we have also added an explanation as to why you’d be asking these questions, so you know exactly what to look for.

Customer Support vs Customer Service

First, you should be able to recognize if you’re interviewing for a Customer Support or a Customer Service position. Or maybe a hybrid position of both.

After all, Customer Support and Customer Service are different and their positions require a slightly different set of skills.

For this specific set of questions, we’ll be focusing on Customer Support skills.

Customer Support Interview Questions

With the previous considerations out of the way, it’s time to get into the key questions to ask while interviewing customer support representatives.

What makes for good customer support?

Why you’d ask: a lot of interviewers make the mistake of telling the candidate what kind of customer support they want them to offer rather than letting them elaborate on their own definition of customer support.

Ask this question and let the candidate talk freely. Keep track of how close their definition is to the support you want to deliver.

What kind of products or services have you provided customer support for?

Why you’d ask: Customer support practices can vary drastically from industry to industry. Providing customer support for a financial company is very different than providing customer support for an e-commerce apparel company.

Ideally, you’d like to find a candidate that has provided customer support for products or services similar to yours.

Can you tell me about problems with the products or services you supported that customers had to deal with?

Why you’d ask: The reality is that you will eventually run into a problem with your product or service that is affecting your customers. It happens more often than you’d think.

This question will allow you to see how the candidate approached these situations and their understanding of the issues themselves. You’d be looking for an in-depth understanding of the issues rather than answers like “I didn’t know what was wrong, but….”.

You want to make sure they have a clear understanding of said issues and can provide confident and reassuring answers to your customers. After all, they’ll be the first person your customers talk to when running into issues.

What are some ways our company can empower you to provide better customer support?

Why you’d ask: We believe that your company also plays a part in the quality of your team’s customer support efforts. Let the candidate speak as to what tools and resources will help them provide better support to your customers.

Do not make the mistake of going with the candidate that requires “fewer resources”. You’re looking for someone that can self-reflect and identify the resources that can help them do a better job. These will be your star representatives in the long run and push to provide better support to all your customers.

What platforms are you comfortable with when providing customer support?

Why you’d ask: Customer Support practices have been changing drastically over the last decade. Mostly because customer expectations are changing as well.

You want to make sure that the candidate is comfortable providing customer support in person, via phone, email or live chat.

What would you do if a customer reports an issue you’ve never heard of before?

Why you’d ask: While you should already have your internal procedures to deal with a scenario like this, you’d get to hear about the candidate’s approach to unknown situations.

An astute candidate will probably point out that there should be some sort of existing procedure for situations like these and who to report them to.

A few interview tips

We’ve written this guide to stand out from the classic interview questions most people ask when interviewing customer support candidates.

However, some of the classic tips still apply while interviewing customer support candidates.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Encourage the candidate to elaborate on their answers

  • Let the candidate think about their answers before speaking (if needed)
  • Talk about current challenges in your company or department and ask how they would tackle them
  • Provide insight on day-to-day tasks in the position and ask if this aligns with what the candidate is looking for
  • Provide insight on potential career growth in the company and how the candidate can achieve growth

You are now ready to find the best candidate possible for your team.

And if you’re a candidate reading this before an interview, you know now how to make a great impression!