If you have no experience, see also the Interview for Inexperienced Customer Service Representative
You are scheduled for an interview for an entry level position as a Bank Customer Service Representative for the City Bank. You will be asked questions about your relations with your superiors, your learning abilities and aptitudes. See Recommendations after you go over the questions and answers below.
Answer: I graduated from Boston University in 2006 with a major in Business Administration. I was a top student in my major study in college as I expected of myself to be. I was involved in extra curricular activities. Extra curriculum activities helped me develop interpersonal skills. Then, I took a Customer Service Rep position with HSBC in New York for two years. In this position, I was given front-desk assignments. I served to customers directly face-to-face. The tasks this position entailed were: I looked up information on the computer for customer inquiries. I answered customers' questions on the phone, transferred calls to appropriate offices. I listen to customers' complaints and offered alternatives for what action to take, or people to contact. I made telephone calls to customers for emergency purposes. I answered questions on interest rates on savings accounts. I escorted customers to appropriate offices when needed.
Question: What skills did you learn on this job?
Answer: First and foremost I have learned people skills: how to listen, how to answer questions and how to deal with difficult customers. As for technical skills, I have learned a lot about banking transactions, how to look up information on the computer for customer accounts, interest accounts, and service charges for business accounts. I learned how to trouble shoot computer problems, deal with downtime problems. I also learned database accounting interfaces my bank uses. They are universally the same, but also different in terms of layout, data storage and access to customer accounts.
Question: What experiences have you had that demonstrate your skills in dealing with difficult customers?
Question: How did you handle angry customers? Assume a customer is yelling at you. How would you deal with the situation?
I have seen "angry customers" first in my customer service rep position. In dealing with angry customers, I have come to know this: most effective strategies always entailed patience, giving appropriate help to the customer, being polite yet firm. If I did my best, then I would take on the next step; I would report to my supervisor. Or, I would remind the customer we would contact him/her shortly with an answer to the problem.
Question: A customer calls and tells you that, because of some unusual circumstances, he needs more time to make his payment. Assuming you have the authority to make a decision, what information would you need to make a decision on his request?
Answer: I would consider the payment history of this customer. According to the customer's payment history, I would tell the customer's what options he or she has. First the company's policy for delinquent customers, interest charges for delinquency--30-days, 60-days and 90-days. I would politely remind the customer of these three delinquency terms, and which one best fits his/her payment history. Then I would explain interest terms, rates for each delinquency term.
Q: Dealing with a high volume customers is a fact of this job. Tell me how you worked under pressure in a fast-paced environment. How were you able to perform successfully under pressure?
Answer: In my position with HSBC, I was expected to type when taking calls, sometimes heavy volume calls. I followed my supervisor's instructions on how to handle high-volume calls. I answered calls after three rings; I listened to the customer briefly and then asked the customer to hold on and I would get back to him or her shortly. Or, I would turn on a tape-recorded response for the customer to listen to if I needed more time. On the switch board I would pick up the calls in the order they were received, and then give an appropriate brief answer to the customer's inquiry. Because I was trained on what to say on most frequently-asked questions, I effectively handled customers' questions. After I was thorough with the customer's calls, I would resume my typing.
Q: Is the customer always right?
A: The customer may not always be right, but I must put my best face to the customer's demand. Because, first I am working for a business where we need them to have a business. Second, I am dealing with a human being; and, maintaining professional demeanor to serve the customer is a must. I've learned that nothing is as more helpful as serving the customer with professional demeanor. To a difficult customer, I would apply the grand rule: Be calm, don't argue with the customer; do your best.
Q: Why should we hire you?
They usually ask this question at the end: "Tell us why should we hire you if we have other applicants as good as you are?" This means: in order to choose you over other applicants, you should come up with a skill or trait that is rare. Think about your good traits and talk about them. For example:
You are a problem solver, you can handle stress, you listen well, you work well under stress. You are a leader to inspire others to do their best; you are a team worker, you know how to work with others. You must have one or two of these qualities that may clearly distinguish you from other applicants. Many applicants will probably have the same type of skills, such as they may all meet education requirements and experience for the job. What makes you an outstanding applicant is a unique quality you can offer. So, for example, not every body will have leadership qualities; not everybody has an interesting personality. Many of us may be good workers but not leaders, have good personalities but just average. An applicant who can offer the most will be hired. If you have a unique quality, talk about it.
Question: How many languages do you speak?
For this question, you must speak fluent English if you are to work with English speaking customers. Improve your English by working at it everyday, by utilizing Internet resources. See our conversation lessons.
Answer: I speak Urdu, Russian or Hindu or Tagola as my first language, and English as a second language. Please note whatever language you speak, you will be told the level proficiency required for the position.
excellent people skills: telephone skills, listening and speaking skills
technical skills for the Customer Service Representative position required by the industry. Customer Service Representative requirements will vary depending on the company, product and scope of the position. However, general skills for the customer service position include:
typing/keyboard (usually over 40 wpm)
basic computer and Internet knowledge
knowledge of relevant software applications
numeric oral and written language applications
administrative procedures and information processing
customer relationship principles and practices
Learn about other skills needed for the position and write them down for the interview Think of an example or two for each. Also, if you're experienced in this type of work, in high telephone call volume, put it down on your resume.
Attire for Interview:
Be groomed. Do not wear excessive makeup.
Wear proper a two-piece suit or jacket and skirt.
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