Everything has got more competitive in the recent years. Profit margin have become thinner, expectations of customers higher. An outstanding service is the only way a company can retain their customers–which is one of the main goals of every company.
But how to ensure that the staff members deliver an excellent service to each customer? How to make them follow the best practices, and ensure that they go above and beyond for the customers?
It will be your role. Customer service supervisor does exactly what their job title indicates–supervises customer service staff, trains new team members, and solves complaints of the customers. Let’s have a look at some questions you will face while interviewing for this interesting job.
Why do you want to work as a customer service supervisor?
First and foremost, because you have a passion for excellent customer service. You understand the pivotal role it plays in each and every business, and you know what it encompasses.
What’s more, you have excellent people skills, can work with different personalities (including the difficult ones), and have experience with leading small teams. You have everything it takes to become an excellent customer service supervisor–or at least you hope so.
Perhaps you even had that job before–you stood in the first line, experienced all types of complaints and customer behavior, and now you feel ready to benefit from your experience in a role of a supervisor, and transfer your knowledge to your subordinates.
Try to talk with enthusiasm about this job. They should get an impression that you really want it, and do not apply only because it is the next logical step in your career, or because you feel you deserve promotion (if you apply for the position internally).
Can you tell us something more about your previous working experience?
Any experience you narrate, try to find the connection with the role of a customer service supervisor. There is always a connection–you just have to help the hiring managers to see it. In all jobs, you work either with customers or with colleagues (typically with both of them).
You experience conflicts, try to motivate people–or yourself at least, you hear some complaints from the customers, and have to address various challenges the job presents.
If you had to address some particular challenge, something special in your last job that illustrates your excellent leadership or customer service skills, be sure to narrate the experience in your interview answer. You should use this question as an opportunity to present yourself as an excellent candidate for the job.
How do you imagine a typical day in work as a Customer Service Supervisor?
The most important thing is to show proactive approach to work. You do not plan to walk around with your head high, bossing people for nothing, or even staying in your comfy office, waiting for some problem to arise.
On the contrary, first and foremost you want to listen to your people, and to the customers. You will ask them if everything’s all right, clear, if they need your help with anything. You will encourage them, or even praise, when they deliver an outstanding service.
And of course, if they make a mistake you will tell them, but in a friendly and polite way, without attacking their emotions or ego. You will simply explain them how they should do things differently next time over.
What’s more, you imagine “getting your hands dirty” at times. You want to stay in touch with the reality of the job, and therefor you will sometimes step into the role of your subordinates and serve the customers.
How do you plan to motivate the people in your team to work hard, to deliver an outstanding service to each customer?
Try to be creative in your answer. Suggesting offering them some bonus for great results or perhaps a promotion won’t impress any hiring manager. You won’t have an authority to grant such things as a supervisor, and people always want more. Salary raise will make them happy for a few months, and then they will demand another one…Try to come up with better ideas.
For example, you can say that you will try to build a team spirit in the workplace. You want to create a team where people feel good together, and enjoy their time in the workplace. Choosing right personalities (friendly, non-conflict, empathetic people) for new customer service representatives is the most important thing, but team building events and other things can also help.
Another idea is going by example. You do not want to be just a boss in the eyes of your subordinates. On the contrary, you want them to perceive you as a leader, someone who works extremely hard, and does not mind doing the basic job sometimes, talking to customers, helping them, etc.
Of course, it helps to reward your people with some bonuses, if they achieve exceptional results. But you won’t respond for designing this structure of rewards. Your role will be just to communicate it properly to your team, and to ensure it is motivating enough for them to try their best week after week.
It’s Saturday morning, and two of your employees did not come to work. You try to call them but they do not reply. Customers starts entering the store. What will you do?
In an ideal case you should demonstrate two things in your answer to this question: your managerial skills, and your willingness to take on the job–if necessary. Explain them what you will do, step by step.
You can suggest calling someone first, perhaps an employee from another shift, kindly asking them if they could come to work. If you have good relationship with them, if you managed to build some loyalty in them, and they respect you as a leader, they may agree and come–of course if they aren’t already traveling somewhere for vacation, or have not drunk until 3am.
Second step is forgetting your supervisory or managerial position for one day, and replacing the missing employee on their place–whether it is behind the cash drawer, on the sales floor, or even in the warehouse…
A customer complains loudly about a service they received from one of the employees. What will you do?
Customer is always right, even when they are wrong. They should at least feel that they are right, because the last thing you want is to see them spread a bad name of the company, or post a terrible review online.
Ensure the interviewers that you will calmly listen to the complaint of the customer, and let them express their thoughts. You will apologize–even if there’s nothing to apologize for, and you will try to make them happy again.
Once done, you will talk to the employee they complained about. But you won’t just blindly reproach them, because you respect your staff members as much as you do respect your customers. You will ask them to tell you the story from their perspective. If you identify any mistakes on their side, you will explain them how to do things better next time. You may even do a simple role play with them, just to ensure they understood your instructions and will act in a proper way next time, when experiencing the same situation with another customer…
Other questions you may face in your customer service supervisor job interview
- Tell us about a time when you demonstrated leadership in work.
- How do you define an outstanding customer service?
- What do you consider your biggest weakness as a manager or supervisor?
- Describe the last conflict you had with one of your colleagues. What did you do to solve the conflict?
- Why do you want to work as a supervisor here, and not in some other place?
- Tell me one thing about yourself you wouldn’t want me to know.
- What do you want to accomplish as a supervisor here? What goals will you set for yourself in this job?
- What are your salary expectations?
- Do you have any questions?
* You can also download the list of all questions in a one page long PDF, print it, and practice your interview answers anytime later:
Conclusion, next steps
Just like any other vacancy which includes “manager” or “supervisor” in the job title, customer service supervisor typically attracts a lot of applications. It is not uncommon to compete with five or even with twenty people for the job. This makes your situation more difficult.
Try to learn as much as you can about the prospective employer, and prepare at least a short answer to each question from our list. The more time you spend preparing for your interview, the better your chances to succeed will be…
May also help you succeed:
- Supervisor interview guide – eBook, brilliant answers to all questions you may face in an interview for a supervisory job.
- How to overcome interview nerves – You need to be at your very best to ace this interview. Learn how to overcome your anxiety.
- Salary negotiation tips – Learn how to get as much as you deserve–or even more, once you discuss money in the interview.