managing live chat team

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How to build, train and measure your customer service team for peak performance

The Ultimate Guide to Managing a Successful Live Chat Team

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1.2

Top Interview Questions to Find the Best Live Chat Agents

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 find out if they are the best match for your company.

In your opinion, what makes for great customer service?
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.

What skills could you bring to our live chat team?
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.

What do you know about our product or service?
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 or not. A variation of this question if possible is, “Have you tried our product or service, and if so, what did you think of it?”.

What is your experience with multitasking, and how would you feel about handling multiple systems/chats at once?
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. Many of them are already used to engaging with multiple contacts at once on social chatting platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or iMessage.

Sometimes your live chat agents will also be the ones interacting with your customers on these channels – even better! (Learn more about omnichannel on this page) While this may not be the same as your live chat interface, or you might not include social or SMS platforms in your strategy, it can still be valuable experience.

Do you have experience as a live chat agent? What are some of the skills you might need in order to succeed as a live chat agent?
Live chat customer service is rapidly becoming a norm, but 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.

What kinds of customer service systems have you used and how familiar are you with them?
This question will reveal whether an agent is familiar with specific customer service systems and will show how much additional training they will need in order to become well-oriented with your live chat solution or customer engagement platform.

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.

Unlike in a traditional call center, you cannot hear a customer’s tone over live chat. What are some of the cues that you can look for over live chat to know how a customer is feeling?
A big part of being a live chat agent is being able to sense a customer’s emotions through written text. An agent who can perceive a customer’s emotions can better avoid agitating an already frustrated customer. They can also recognize when more passive customers aren’t quite satisfied with a solution and help them express what they want. Your agent should be able to identify these typed cues and respond accordingly.

What is your experience working as part of a team and what does teamwork mean to you?
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.”

What was your proudest moment helping a customer?
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 those who thrive on challenges – both of which are desirable attributes for a live chat agent.

How well do you work under pressure or in high stress situations? What do you do when things are getting tense?
Live chat is not always a walk in the park. Some companies are constantly busy with live chat messages; others have peak seasons when the department experiences peaks and troughs in chat volume. 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.

Tell me about an experience where you had to de-escalate a situation with an upset and/or angry customer and how you handled it.
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.

If you had to choose between completing a chat quickly or taking the time to make sure you’d solved the customer’s issue, which would you pick? Why is that so important?
The most effective customer service teams tend to value first contact resolution before and 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.

Think about a time where you have had a good experience as a customer talking to a customer service representative. What made that experience so good?
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.

You have noticed a reoccurring problem or complaint amongst your customers. What do you do?
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.

Tell me about a time where you have used feedback of your performance from a supervisor, colleague, or customer in order to make a change for the better.
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.

What have you done at your current company to improve a process and/or save time, money or resources?
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 among your candidates.