Hiring the perfect CSR is not an easy task by any means. Organizations have to put in a lot of effort in selecting the right candidates for this position, since candidates with the right skills need to be hired who can deal with different kinds of customers. It is thus essential to figure out important characteristics in potential candidates.

Fundamentally, a customer service representative should have passion to help others. Some of the other aspects that an organization should consider when hiring customer support representatives include having a positive attitude, patience, and empathy. Having patience and a positive attitude are essential for those working in customer service since there is always a chance that the CSR will interact with frustrated customers throughout the day who may use foul language, or try to humiliate the support representative.

It is thus fundamental to ask the right questions when interviewing candidates for your support department. The right questions will help you gauge the personality of the candidate, and whether he or she has the above mentioned vital characteristics. The following 5 questions can help organizations select the right customer service representatives.

1. What would you do if you don’t know the answer to a particular query from a customer?

This question will help managers determine if the candidate has the necessary skill to tackle questions they don’t know the answer to. Questions such as these, test the candidate’s communication skills, as well as their intelligence to successfully redirect the question to someone who can better respond to the customer’s query.

2. How will you handle a customer who has continuously faced the same problem before?

A customer who has faced the same problem over and over again, and is now contacting support to resolve the same issue will obviously be agitated and will demand answers right there and then. The answer to this question will test the candidate’s ability to be patient and determine whether he/she can empathize and understand the issue from the customer’s perspective. The right candidate will successfully answer this question by ensuring that the issue faced by the customer is resolved without any further delays.

3. Give us an example of a time when you went the extra mile to resolve an issue?

Going the extra mile is perhaps the most talked about quality that any customer service representative should have. A good customer service representative will answer this question by telling a story about a time when he/she successfully resolved an issue for the customer the moment he/she received that issue. A great customer service representative will answer this question by telling a story about a time he/she did something extraordinary to make sure that an issue was resolved; for example, an Amazon employee personally visiting a customer and delivering his misplaced items to his doorstep.

4. In your opinion, what contributes to truly great customer support?

This question tests the candidate’s values and principles, while making sure that the candidate brings to the table the same values that the organization stresses upon for all employees. The right candidate will answer this question by telling the interviewer that great customer service is not just about handling and resolving complaints from customers, but it’s mostly about being the face of the organization and how one should be polite, patient, and strive to go-the-extra-mile to ensure that customers feel comfortable while their issues are efficiently and effectively resolved.

5. How would you improve customer support based on your previous experience?

While this question asks candidates about their past role, it also allows them to give feedback and provide solutions to how customer service can be improved in their opinion. This is an essential question to ask since it determines if the candidate has enough knowledge of the industry as well as of the day-to-day operations of working in the customer support industry.

Asking these questions will help organizations figure out potential candidates and if they have the right skills and personality to become a great CSR. This will obviously not guarantee the best hire for you, but it will filter out most unsuitable candidates.