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Whether you are bringing aboard new live chat agents or setting up your live chat dream team for the very first time, you want to make sure that you are hiring agents that will have a positive impact on your team and your customers. These live chat interview questions and answers will help you get to know your prospective agents, and decide if they are the best match for your company.
This blog post is Chapter 2 in the eBook: Ultimate Guide to Building a Live Chat Dream Team. You can follow the links below to read other chapters:
This first question gives your interviewee a chance to show off their understanding of the customer service industry. It provides key information about how familiar your candidate is with the role, and whether they know the basics of what will be required of them as a live chat agent.
A winning response might sound something like this:
Yes, you could probably find this information on your candidate’s resume—but it’s most valuable to hear from them in person. This is because it gives your candidate the chance to explain the nuances of their experience, what their role was in their former position, whether they enjoyed it, and any information that they may not have included on paper.
Plus, not everyone will have previous work experience in a traditional call center or with live chat, and asking candidates this question gives them the chance to bring to light what parts of their former experience have prepped them for being a live chat agent.
The beauty of customer service is that it’s a vast field; any interaction where you help fulfill and serve a customer can count as customer service. This means that you can find valuable experience in candidates who come from a number of other areas, including waiting, teaching, cashier work, accounting, healthcare, and more. A lot of good communication principles applied to other settings are transferrable skills in customer service as well.
How this question is answered will depend entirely on the person. You can work out whether an answer is satisfactory or not by reading between the lines to see how well their skills can be applied to the job role. Here’s an example of how one qualified candidate might respond:
This question gives your prospective live chat agent a chance to reveal a bit of their skill set, and show their knowledge of why certain skills matter in the industry. It shows what exactly they are committing to bringing to the team, and delivering to your customers.
An example response might look something like this:
Before a job interview, it is good to go in with some knowledge about the business. This question will show you that your interviewee did their homework. It will reveal whether your candidate has the ability and desire to learn about your product and company, and whether they are a serious applicant. A variation of this question is, “Have you tried our product or service, and what did you think of it?”
Here’s an example response:
Since live chat systems allow for agents to be on multiple chats at once, your candidates should be comfortable with multitasking.
Fortunately, most millennials are familiar and comfortable with handling several tasks at a time. And many of them are already used to engaging with multiple contacts at once on social chatting platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, or iMessage. While this may not be the same as your live chat interface, it can still be a valuable experience.
Live chat customer service is rapidly becoming a norm. That being said, not every company has adopted it yet. Even if your candidate has prior experience in a call center, they may never have attended to customers over live chat before.
This question will show whether your interviewee is aware of the skills that make an excellent live chat agent—skills which differ in many ways from those needed to fulfill traditional phone or in-store support.
Here’s an example response:
This question will reveal whether an agent is familiar with specific customer service systems, and will show how much additional training that they will need in order to become well-oriented with your live chat solution.
Like the question before it, if a candidate doesn’t have experience with this system then it shouldn’t be a deal breaker. If they do, however, then this candidate may be more easily trained and more quickly oriented.
Let’s go back once more to an example response:
A big part of being a live chat agent is being able to sense a customer’s emotions. An agent who can perceive a customer’s emotions can take better care to avoid agitating an already frustrated customer. They also have the ability to recognize when more passive customers aren’t quite satisfied with a solution, and to help them express what they want.
Since live chat is based primarily on written text, your candidate should be more or less familiar with typed cues that reveal a customer’s emotions. Here’s one answer that a prospective agent might give that hints at this ability:
This question is classic pre-hiring requisite, but with a customer service spin. It should reveal not just an interviewee’s strengths and weaknesses in general, but also demonstrate an awareness of how to treat and deal with customers.
Take a look at how our example candidate does that:
Live chat is not a solo game. Without effective teamwork, your prospective agent will have a tough time learning, communicating, and sharing knowledge with their team members and supervisors.
Also, a candidate who is not interesting in helping their teammates will probably not have enough interest in helping others to be a part of your operation. Another way to pose this question is, “Tell me about a time where you worked well in a team.”
One might respond like this:
This question should be answered with a specific story of a customer interaction, and should show a candidate’s ability to empathize with and genuinely help their customers. It will reveal whether that person is willing and able to go the extra mile.
This question also sets apart caring individuals and individuals who thrive on challenges – both of which are desirable attributes for a live chat agent.
This question should point to a prospective agent’s ability to negotiate with the customer, and use their resourcefulness to come up with a workable solution. It also tests their understanding of company rules and processes, and their ability to get good solutions within the bounds of these.
Live chat is not always a walk in the park. Some companies are constantly busy with live chat messages; others have peak seasons, where the department gets slammed. Even when there is low website traffic, certain conversations with angry customers can have a high-stress level.
It is important to hire an agent who keeps their cool in times of stress, and who knows how to continue on instead of breaking down. Looking for an answer that provides specific tools and techniques for handling this situations is a must; don’t just accept “I handle these situations fine,” as an answer.
The ideal candidate might say something more like this:
De-escalation is an important part of customer service, and if handled properly can even be extremely rewarding. The ideal candidate will remain calm and respectful, while working hard to provide the best experience possible for this customer.
Here’s an example:
This is another question that emphasizes the importance of teamwork in this position.
Here is how your interviewee should respond:
The most effective customer service teams tend to value first contact resolution before above many other metrics. This is because customers who have to make repeat contact will not only be considerably less satisfied – they will also end up increasing the queue and ultimately taking up more time and resources.
The ideal candidate should understand the importance of solving a customer’s issue the first time. Here’s how they might show this:
[highlight]Solving a customer’s issue the first time is more important. If you can’t help a customer well the first time, then you’re basically going to end up giving your team double the work. Also, your customer will probably be upset if they have to ask for help with the same issue twice, and won’t have as much faith in your company or the ability of your representatives.[highlight]
If an interviewee can tell you what they as a customer have enjoyed from customer service, then it is likely that they will strive to bring the same kind of service to the table. A candidate who can imagine being a customer can relate to your customers, and empathize with their struggles.
Here’s a successful example:
[highlight]The best experiences that I have had as a customer have been when a representative was very warm and friendly. They had a good sense of humor, and were very helpful. It felt like a friend giving me advice, not an employee giving me assistance. Also, when they are able to show a lot of knowledge of the product, I walk away feeling great—like my purchase was a good decision.
Customer service isn’t only about fixing a customers’ problems – it’s a platform through which customers can express themselves and even give your company advice. While helping customers is a must, an agent who is willing to go the extra mile and help prevent these problems from happening in the first place takes the cake.
This question reveals whether your interviewee has the determination and communication skills it takes to make sure that problems get forwarded to the proper channels, and that systematic issues get geared towards permanent resolution.
Here’s an example response:
Every job experience is an opportunity for learning and growth. This question will reveal a prospective agent’s desire to learn and contribute to the company.
Some candidates might just be looking for a live chat job as a stop-gap, rather than a career. That might work just fine for your business. On the other hand, if you’re looking for employees who’ll want to stay for the long term, asking this question upfront means you can be clear on that expectation. This question will then help you find those keen potential employees who are looking for opportunities to grow and progress in your organization.
An ideal candidate might answer something like this:
An agent who cannot receive feedback or constructive criticism cannot grow. You want your prospective agent to show that they take feedback into consideration, and use it to better themselves, rather than letting it fall on deaf ears.
Here’s an example of a successful response:
The best live chat candidates will be able to look beyond their interactions with customers, and put their skills into practice in other areas. This question will reveal creativity, problem solving, resourcefulness and initiative amongst your candidates.
Here’s an example:
This question can tell you more about your candidate’s personal goals, and reveal any desire to grow within the company.
If they see themselves pursuing a dream of theirs down the line rather than being the best live chat agent that ever existed, don’t take it as a deal breaker. It’s an opportunity to better know your candidate, and see what drives them.
Check out this example response:
Prospective agents should know that customer service is ultimately helping real people find solutions to real problems. They should not only have the mind for customer service, but also the heart. Ideal responses include that they enjoy helping people, interacting with people, or that they enjoy solving problems.
Here’s our last example:
You can tweak these questions or use them as is. The important thing is that you are bringing agents aboard who care about people, who want to help your customers, and who have the dedication and problem solving skills that it takes to see an issue through to resolution.
For additional reading, check out our blog post, How to Go the Distance: Key Tips and Practices for Managing a Remote Live Chat Team
This comprehensive eBook contains everything you need to know about hiring, interviewing and training your live chat team – whether they’re in the same office as you, or remote workers.Download Now