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We’re hiring agents to handle email, chat and social media. I also expect them to handle calls when the volume is high. What questions should we ask?

Question:

We’re hiring agents to handle email, chat and social media. I also expect them to handle calls when the volume is high. What questions should we ask?

Answer:

Every contact center is different, and there is no single set of interview questions that is right for everyone. The following questions are intended to elicit responses that will give hiring managers an appreciation of whether or not the candidate has the skills needed to work and succeed in an omni-channel contact center. These questions are divided into three categories: opinion (what do you like), competency (skill level), and behavior (experience). In most cases, there is no right or wrong answer.

Opinion Questions: To gain an appreciation of each candidate’s approach to delivering a great customer experience

  • Which channel(s) is/are your favorite(s) and where you think you will do the best job? Why?
  • What social media channels do you use regularly, and why?
  • Please share your definition of an outstanding customer experience.
  • Tell me about the best experience you’ve had as a customer and why it stands out.
  • Please describe a bad customer service experience and what you, as an agent, would have done differently.
  • Why do you think companies have a hard time delivering consistently great service?

Competency: To determine if the candidate has the skills to deliver a great customer experience in your omni-channel contact center

  • Which channels do you use to communicate, and why?
  • Please describe the differences in communicating in each of the following channels: phone, email, chat. SMS and social media.
  • Do you prefer multi-tasking or taking care of one thing at a time?
  • On a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being the best, please rate your ability to communicate over the phone and in writing.
  • What do you think are the top 3 – 5 traits you will need to thrive in an omni-channel contact center?
  • If you are on a call with a customer and a team member comes over to ask you for help, what will you do?

Behavioral: To determine if the candidate has the experience needed to deliver great service in an omni-channel contact center

  • What forms of communication do you use to interact with companies you currently do business with or are considering doing business with? Why?
  • Under what circumstances do you interact with your favorite brands on social media, chat or email?
  • Tell me about a time you used social media to solve a problem.
  • Tell me about a time when you wish you hadn’t said/done something on social media.
  • Please provide examples of where you had to use verbal and written communication skills to express complex situations.
  • If asked to follow a procedure that was no longer effective, what would you do?

In addition to this list, we recommend that you ask your best omni-channel agents what qualities they possess that make them successful in the environment, and include questions or skill-based assessments that allow you to evaluate these characteristics in applicants. Many organizations also use a test to determine if a candidate can communicate and interact effectively in each of the channels supported by their contact center.