Customer service is no longer purely about logistics, it’s a matter of survival. If you don’t deliver the service your clients expect, you’ll lose them. Switching to new providers has never been easier than in the digital age.

Providing outstanding customer service, by contrast, boosts sales and loyalty. Consumers buy as much 67% more from companies when you get the customer service experience correct. The value is cumulative. By simply improving retention by 5%, translates you can increase profitability by 25%.

How do you see the benefits within your organization?

It all begins with a simple question, “Where does outstanding service start?” The answer, naturally, is that it starts with the people who deal with your clients daily. Finding consultants with the correct customer service qualities should be your top priority.

The added bonus is that you may then Make Customer Service Your Best Sales Channel.

What are these elusive qualities? For 68% of customers, politeness is key. There is a lot more that goes into service, however, and we’ll look at those features here today.


How To Find Consultants With the Qualities You Require

You may conduct the initial interview over the phone using these 13 Phone Interview Questions to narrow down your short-list of applicants. Then look for agents with a good blend of the following skills.

Communication Skills

Great consultant skills start with great communication. When vetting applicants, look for evidence that they’re top-notch communicators before doing anything else.

These skills fall into one of four areas:

  • Listening
  • Thinking
  • Nonverbal
  • Speaking

To test for the requisite skills:

  • Have a chat and ask about things outside of work – think of questions that they wouldn’t have prepared answers for
  • Provide them with a client support email and ask them to find the solution in your knowledge base. They should then write a response to the customer.
  • A role-playing exercise is an excellent test of their nonverbal skills, such as body language.

Emotional intelligence (EI)

Dealing with the public is often both highly rewarding and stressful simultaneously. Your team will deal with hundreds of people daily. That potentially means dealing with hundreds of different personality traits, moods, and issues.

The agents that you hire must have a high level of EI to connect with each client. People with EI re adept at reading emotional cues, defusing tension, and establishing relationships. They’re effective at adapting to a client’s emotional state.

They display empathy naturally because they understand what makes people tick. People with high EI come off as interested in others because they are fascinated by the human psyche.

Testing for EI is relatively simple.

  • You may present examples of interactions and ask the potential professional to explain what is happening.
  • Role-playing exercises are extremely useful in evaluating the professional’s responses.


It requires much patience to answer the same questions every day. The agent’s patience may be further tested when dealing with highly demanding customers. Specialists should be able to provide a consistent level of support to all clients, even when under pressure.

Role-playing exercises are among the best options here. Seeing how a potential consultant handles different types of clients or stressful situations is a good test of their patience.

If you prefer, you may create a “stressful” situation to test how the candidate acts when caught unawares. A simple way to do this might be to tell the applicant that they’re at the incorrect office and send them to another floor. They could receive the same answer there. Seeing how they react when they feel that their job interview is slipping away is a good test of patience.

Active Listening

Active listening is one of the top customer consultant qualities to cultivate. With this skill, consultants  allow clients to explain the issue thoroughly, without interruptions or making assumptions.

A client may not get to the point straight away or may not be able to explain the issue troubling them. Without active listening, a representative may miss clues that help them understand the core of the problem.

  • Play recordings of support calls or provide clients’ emails for them to read. You should then ask the candidate to analyze the interaction and explain what the client wanted in detail.
  • Ask questions at the end about small facts mentioned in the conversations to see how much attention the candidate was paying to the calls.


Paying attention to details is essential to service delivery. Consultants cannot afford to miss a follow-up call or skip a step on a repetitive task. Candidates with a keen eye for detail glean useful facts about the customer from the client database and combine them with what the client says.

This skill makes it easier for the client to resolve their query without repeating the same facts several times. Customer satisfaction increases, boosting client loyalty.

Simple tests make it easy to screen for attentiveness. You may create tests with subtle errors in them to see if the candidate picks those errors up.


A customer service representative must be able to multitask. They’ll often have to handle support tickets from several sources and can maximize their time by dealing with two simple queries at once.

To give both clients the support they deserve, the consultant must be able to split their focus without losing track of the conversation.

With more complicated queries, personnel will deal with the customer one-on-one. They must still be able to multitask, however, because they’ll listen to the client while pulling their details up on the systems or checking for more information.

Check their skills by:

  • Fun multitasking games make it possible to assess the candidate’s skills.
  • You should also ask interviewees about their organizational skills
  • Give them exercises to test how they prioritize work.

Time Management

In addition to multitasking, consultants must practice excellent time management skills. Ask potential personnel about how they would manage their day. Do they allocate time for performance reports, customer surveys, or client follow-ups, or do they simply focus on the tickets?

An organized professional can balance their peak and off-peak periods to ensure that they’re productive throughout the day. Not all days will go according to plan, but most should for your team to be effective.

Positive Attitude

A positive attitude is one of the leading traits for a service professional. Candidates who have this trait are naturally optimistic and motivated to find the solutions that the client needs. Customers pick up on this very quickly.

Picking up this trait goes beyond merely asking the necessary questions. Most candidates practice how to answer interview questions beforehand. Asking them questions such as why they choose to work with people will only get you so far.

A more pertinent question would be to probe into their relationship with their previous manager. The interviewer may, for example, ask how that person would rate the candidate. The answer itself is not the point. Instead, interviewers should focus on how the person speaks of their ex-employer.

A positive person will naturally highlight the better aspects while downplaying the negative ones.

Being Organized

Organizational skills tie in strongly with time management and are just as critical. Candidates should logically approach each situation to ensure the best outcome.

To test their organizational skills, interviewers may lay out a set of tasks and see how the interviewers approach them.

  • How do they sort and prioritize the work?
  • Where do they look for answers, if necessary?
  • Do they apply logic when they search?


Most clients call in to solve a problem. Being able to get the pertinent facts to find the correct solution is something of an art. Effective candidates first understand the full nature of the issue. They then shortlist possible solutions and finally hone in on the best option for the client.

Problem-solving is an essential skill. It’s also one that candidates can learn quickly. If the interviewee doesn’t have sufficient skills in this area, the interviewer will have to assess whether they can or are willing to learn them.

The following questions will help interviewers to assess the candidates problem-solving skills.

  • Describe an instance where you were unable to do your job as efficiently as possible. What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?
  • Describe a time when you had to find a solution to a difficult challenge without assistance. What did you do, and how did it work out?
  • How do you know when a problem becomes too much for you to handle?

Ability to Deal With Negative Feedback

Clients will call in and complain more often than they call to compliment a company. When hiring customer care consultants, you must find people who’re able to handle criticism.

They must be able to depersonalize unfair criticism from the worst clients to complete their tasks with grace.

It’s challenging testing candidates for their ability to handle negative feedback. Role-playing scenarios are useful here, but the actual test is in the field.


People with good communication skills are typically empathetic. These people can easily place themselves in someone else’s position, and so see both sides of an argument.

Empathetic consultants provide sincere support that clients appreciate. They’re able to form a better connection with the consumer, and so improve customer satisfaction in general.

Testing for empathy is best done through scenario-based questioning. Interviewers should ask the candidates to respond to each scenario, noting the client’s query and how they feel.

Candidates who win at these tests are responsive to the clients and their needs and can elicit the necessary responses from them.

Being Tech-Savvy

Service professionals today must be able to switch between several tech solutions. These may include CRM and support software, chat, VOIP, and email.

While it’s possible to train a consultant in each of these functions from scratch, it’s easier if they already understand how these systems work.

To ensure that candidates have the necessary skills, interviewers may present them with support tickets to resolve. The candidate will then use your systems to find the answer and reply to the client.

Be Willing to Learn

You should look out for professionals that are always willing to learn. With the fast-tracked pace of product development today, candidates must be able and willing to learn the ins and outs of new company offerings.

It’s also helpful for them to know something about the industry that they’re working in, in general. They should keep up to date with issues that may affect their clients. Consumers may, for example, ask how the firm handles privacy regulations and ensures compliance. Consultants must be able to answer these questions, as well.

A quick way to gauge how willing the candidate is to learn is to ask whether they’re learning any new skills. Find out how they use modern technology and how they stay up to date with industry developments.


Customer service is seldom dull and requires a high degree of adaptability. Adaptable people can easily cope with a wide range of circumstances.

To learn how adaptable a candidate is, interviewers should ask about times that they were asked to perform a task that didn’t fall within their job description. They should further ask how the candidate handled the situation and what the results were.

It’s also useful to ask about times that candidates had to convince a colleague to change their working style to complete a task successfully.


How many tickets your consultants get through a day depends on the nature of the queries and their efficiency. Candidates should have a proven ability to type fast and think on their feet.

Creating a mock simulation and asking interviewees to answer several questions at once gives you an insight into their adaptability. A typing test helps interviewers to assess basic typing skills. Finally, asking candidates to find information on the knowledge base helps evaluate how long the query resolution will take.

Successful customer service agents can handle several queries at once without breaking their focus. They provide quality service resolution quickly and efficiently.


Finding the right people with all these qualities will be difficult, if not impossible. When screening candidates, look for those that display excellent communication skills and a willingness to learn and grow. A willing attitude often proves to be a customer service consultant’s best asset.

Testing for the qualities you need is often tricky but possible with role-playing exercises and psychometric tests. While it’s expensive and time-consuming to set these up at first, they’ll become an invaluable part of building your essential service team.

For firms unable to spend the time or money developing these teams, specialist outsourcing services provide quick access to the skills required.

Author bio

Veronika is a professional content editor and CCO @SupportYourApp. While working @SupportYourApp, she got to know many aspects of customer support and likes to share her knowledge with everyone around the world. Veronika is passionate about business, customers and has published many articles in this area.

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