How to Interview Customer Care Representatives in Kenya
Customer Care Representatives are often at the frontline of your business. While it’s important to train them up with your specific company brand and tone, there are also some raw skills to screen for through your recruiting process.
For customer care reps, it’s really difficult to give them a test before the phone screen to narrow down the funnel. The best advice we can give is to leverage the Basic Test application on Duma Caliber to set up automatic grading to check for minimum qualifications.
For example – number of years experience, expected salary range, educational background, and years experience working in a specific sector.
Interest in your company
On the Basic Test, you can also ask one open ended question about why the candidate is interested in working with your company. Their answer won’t be an automatic qualifier or disqualifier for them, it will give you some insight into the candidates the actually care about where they are working.
For customer care people, this is important, as their job can sometimes be grueling, and you will experience less churn in your customer care employees if you hire individuals who care about your mission.
Once you have narrowed down the pool to candidates who meet your minimal requirements, we would recommend shifting to a quick phone screen.
If the candidate has indicated on their CV that they are currently working at another company, give them a quick call to see how they answer the phone.
Check to see how professional they are when they answer the phone initially. You can pretend you are a potential client or disgruntled customer and begin engaging with them about their company. See how good they are at customer care form that cold call. Often, it will disqualify 70% of your potential candidates!
As I was telling a friend of mine about this article I was about to write, she jumped in an told me a hilarious story about an experience she had with customer care.
While she was working at her previous company, she had the habit of coming into the office early and one day received a phone call at 6:30am. She answered “Hello, this is [Company Name}, how can I help you? And it turned out to be Caroline Mutoko calling live from the radio!
Just based on that small amount of professionalism on the phone, Caroline told my friend that she had passed the test, and was then given the opportunity to pitch the company on live radio.
Small things as a Customer Care Representative make a difference!
Most customer care representatives will also be required to do at least a minimal amount of email follow up with clients.
To make sure they will be able to handle the task, during their in-person interview, give them a scenario about a client and then ask them to compose an email response.
For example: “You have a client who has experienced a failure in service and you are trying to make them happy through your excellent customer service. Please send them an email following up from your phone call earlier in the day about their technical issues, and explain to them that there will be a technician coming to visit their office to make the necessary repairs next week.”
Time this test, that way you can evaluate their typing speed, their spelling and grammar, and the formatting of their email – including subject line and preliminary greetings.
Look for things like –
- Preliminary greetings ie. “I hope you are well,” or “Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today.”
- Specific instructions about what the client will expect as next steps with the technician
- Appreciation for the client’s feedback and reassurance that they are a very important client
- Signing off with formalities ie. Cheers, Kind Regards, or Thanks.
- Including their contact details in case their is more follow up the client would like to do
Willingness to be wrong
Once they have completed the email, give them feedback. Ask them to explain why they decided to say a certain thing to understand their ability to understand a client’s potential emotions. How well do they understand people?
Ask them to try again. Give them the same parameters and time constraints.
This will evaluate how quick they can learn and how receptive they are to feedback. See how well they incorporated your feedback into their fresh response.
Technical Customer Support
This may not be relevant to all of your roles, but if you are interviewing for a technical support role, one of the most important traits is their ability to ask targeted questions about what the technical failure is. This way, when they relay the information to the technical team, they are able to give a full brief.
Before even meeting the candidates, you can pose a scenario for them about a client who is experiencing a technical issue with the service or product. We would recommend asking about a technical service they will be familiar with, or need to be familiar with.
So, if you are running a niche technology that you don’t expect them to have a background in, you can ask about a generic technology like internet service or phone service. If you require the candidates to have a background in the technology you run, you can make the scenario about an issue customers may experience with your product.
Give them this scenario, for example, “I just installed internet access in my apartment but I am not connecting to the service, what is the problem.” Then, ask them as customer care, what kinds of questions they might ask.
For example –
- How many buttons are flashing green?
- Have you tried connecting to internet on another device?
- How far away from your router are you?
- Is your electricity working?
These questions aren’t rocket science, but you are just looking for their ability to think critically about what questions might be important to answer.
Ready for the In-Person Interview
Since you are likely to get a large amount of applicants for your customer care role, we would recommend scheduling brief first interviews to check to culture, conduct the email test, and put candidates through an in-person skills test.
There are a variety of ways you can keep your interviews brief but effective. One suggestion we have is not limiting the interview to the face to face conversation.
For example, while candidates are waiting in your reception, you can ask a member of your team to walk in carrying something heavy, and ask the people in the room for help. That person should be tasked with seeing which people are the quickest to volunteer as a test for helpfulness.
Another example is to have two interview stations. One is a quick test for friendliness and ability to talk with people. As part of this station, you can put them into a room full of your teammates as they are waiting, and see who can pick up conversation most easily.
Then, you can send candidates one by one into the room for practical testing with their future manager. These practical tests can include the email test that we mentioned above, amongst others.
Onboard, Onboard, Onboard!
Once you’ve decided based on this interview process who you are going to select, bring them on-board!
And DON’T FORGET to give them a rigorous orientation about how to deal with every FAQ they might be asked, what tone they should be using with customers, and who to go to for help when they are stuck.
Pairing your new hires with someone else in the department as a “buddy” for their initial 2 weeks is never a bad idea, if you are able it.
We hope this helps you with your recruitment process for hiring customer care people! We would love your feedback if you think there are elements we missed in this article – just leave us a comment here or email us at [email protected]
Posted in Recruiting & Leadership Tags: customer care, hire, Hiring Tips, interview, Kenya, Recruit