Call center interview questions and answers - Part 2

What do you know about BPO?

BPO is an abbreviation of Business Process Outsourcing. It could be outsourcing of various processes, such as, manufacturing, call centers, IT, and others.

There are 2 types of Call Centers:

- Inbound– Here agents receive calls from customers
- Outbound – Here agents are supposed to call random people, to sell a service or product.

What is the difference between inbound process and outbound process?

Inbound customer service agents handle incoming calls from customers for:

- Requests for help
- Inquiries or requests for information
- Placing orders, in product purchases
- Applications for services
- Filing complaints

Outbound customer service agents make calls to random potential customers to sell a service or product. These agents can also be called as telemarketing executives.

What will you do when a customer is abusive/irritated?

When you work at a call center you will come across irritated, angry, and abusive customers, you can say you will do that following to handle them:

- Listen to them and empathize with their situation
- Apologize and take ownership of the problem and give a solution
- Approach them and ask for a reason for their displeasure
- If they insist on talking to your manager, get him on line ASAP
- Follow up after giving the solution and ask for feedback

Rate yourself on communication skills

Communications skills are one of the key skills an interviewer looks for in an interviewee

- Be confident and say "I would give myself an 8+ for communication skills, and I am improving on it."

- You could tell them to get in touch with references who think you are good and say: "My previous Manager who rated my
communication skills gave me a 9."

- Give a range to be on a safe side: "Anywhere between 8-10"

Do you have patience? Give an example to show this.

Patience is considered as a strength, by showing you are patient you are letting the interviewer know that you know what to expect and that you are prepared for it.

Show that you are able to maintain a positive attitude and a high performance standard under pressure and can face of challenges head on. Describe a situation when you used appropriate methods to overcome provocation and stress and exhibit that you are able to keep patience when faced with a difficult customer.

Can you work in shifts/rotational shifts?

Call Centers provide 24*7 support to customers, so if you want to make a career in this industry, make sure you are ready to work in shifts. You will not only work at odd times, but your shifts will rotate on weekly, fortnightly, or daily basis. So be prepared to say yes to this question and be open to working in shifts.

Can you work under pressure?

Here again they are checking your patience level, so you need to provide some examples to answer this question, some sample answers:

- In any job one has to face with stressful situations that require them to work under pressure on a daily basis and with time one learns to manage stress. For most of us it is just part of the job

- I like the challenge of working under pressure, but proper planning and time management skills can take the pressure of.

- I work well under pressure. But I do not panic when faced with stressful situations. Instead of reacting to a situation, I analyze the situation and try to come up with an optimal solution.

What motivates you to work in a call centre?

You need to again show them that you know what does a call center do and you would enjoy working at one. Some of the following would be good reasons:

- I like to deal with customers over the phone and develop my customer service skills

- The call center industry is booming

- I like the type of work done in call centers and the salary provided by call centers is decent and I look forward to a long term career in this industry, as it is bound to grow and will provide long term career stability.

Sell a product.

Pen/Watch are common products as they come handy. Sales is one of the most difficult jobs and you need to prove that you can sell the product to someone who does not actually need it, you need to:

- Focus on how the product’s features and how it addresses your potential customer’s needs

- Be persuasive, confident, and lively

- Do not list down the features of the pen, be creative and think about the situation when you will need a pen desperately

- One such example would be, signing a check; you could give a blank check to the interviewer with your sign and ask him how it would be like to have a pen in this situation.

- You will need to consider your customer’s concerns and how to handle them. Your interviewer might counter your points, but keep your cool and focus on addressing those concern. Show your willingness to take up the challenge.
- Be honest about your CTC, as you will have to produce you salary slip as a proof of employment
- Be realistic when you state your expected CTC, you can ask for a 20-30% hike
- If you are underpaid at your current company you can look for the standard salary paid for the experience you have and ask for that amount.
- For freshers, call centers usually pay a decent amount and there are lot of other benefits so make sure you ask for the industry’s standard salary.

Are you planning to go for further studies?

Be transparent in your answer.

- If you are pursuing further studies, say so. Tell them why you want to go for that course
- If you are taking up a distance education course or a part time course, they should know. They might not even hire you if you say you are going for higher studies.

You are well qualified, why do you want to work in a call centre?

This is a very important answer, as you will need to convince them with your tone, answer, and expressions. Some of the answers could be:

- I want to work in a call center because it is a fast growing industry. Call centers provide a good working environment, and a good salary to maintain a good lifestyle, and offer great opportunities to develop my skills.

- Call centers provide a work hard, play hard environment, with rewards, and job satisfaction

What is the difference between BPO and call centre?

A BPO is responsible for executing a process of another business organization/unit. That means a business process is outsourced to save on costs or increase productivity.

A call centre handles telephone calls; it could be handling customer complaints coming over a telephone.

What is back office?

Back office manages a company’s technology, services, or human resources. Back office is involved administration/services that are not seen by customers.

How to impress your customer?

- When selling a product remember that you are the one (your company) who created the solution, so you know your customer’s problem better than anyone else.

- When you have no answer, or don’t know an answer, make something up. A customer will always be impressed by someone who knows everything.

- Do not make them wait or leave them to assume what you’ll do.

- Create a niche around your product/service that you offer, you need to know why your customers come to you.

What does customer service mean to you?

- Polite
- Professional
- Courteous
- Friendly
- Helpful

How long will you stay in our company?

You should ensure that you give an impression that you will pay back more than what you take from the company:

- You can say I will stay here as far as I see an opportunity for growth, as I am looking for a stability in work place

- If they stress on number of years say 3-4 years, and more if I can explore new challenges/growth opportunities

- Show them that you want to grow vertically and that is possible when you stay in a company for long and not when you switch jobs frequently.

What do you expect from us, as an employer?

The employer is interviewing you to see what you can do for the company, but now wants to know what you want from them, be reasonable and not very demanding, if you want to be hired:

- Say whether you want to work alone or in a team?
- You can express how would you want to be motivated?

You can also say the following:

- A company that encourages learning
- A company that encourages open culture

Tell us about your qualities that affect this job.

You need to exhibit qualities that will affect the job you will be hired for, following points will help:

- I believe in hard work and honesty, and these two are very important characteristics that a call center executive must possess.
- I am confident and patient, so I can handle difficult customers
- I like talking to different type of people and possess strong communication skills, and I can understand human nature quickly, this is again a very crucial skill for customer service professionals

What do you know about our company?

- Do some research about the company, make sure you know about their processes
- When you have done your homework, they will be convinced that you are interested, as you have taken out time to learn about the company and its work.

What procedure you will follow when taking a customer’s call?

Answer this question around the following steps :

1. Greet customer.
2. Tell your name to the customer.
3. Ask customer how you can be of any assistance to him/her.
4. Listen carefully and patiently to the customers query or requirement.
5. Provide the customer with the best solution or assistance without making him/her wait for long.
6. Inquire if customer is satisfied with the assistance or help provided.
7. Ask the customer if he needs any further assistance.

Why should I hire you when you are not related to this field?

This question can get very tricky at times. Make sure you have appropriate knowledge of the field or process you are applying to. State why you are interested in getting into this field. The answer can be built around as “ This is a very fast growing sector and i see a good future in the sector.” Do not assert too much on promotion or growth in the field or about switching profiles as it may give the wrong impression to the interviewer.

What is a KPO? What Is the difference between call center and a KPO?

KPO stands for Knowledge Process Outsourcing. It is a subset of call centers. The ways in which a KPO differs from a call center are :

1. In KPO knowledge and information related work is carried out.
2. Staff requirement is for highly skilled people.
3. Is mainly related to support and not sales.
4. Carries out works mainly for research and analysis process besides support.

Why do you want to join this company?

This question is asked to check what you think of the company and how much do you value it. Answer this with points stating good things about the company you are applying for or the industry it relates to. Give points such as the company has a good reputation or i have heard good reviews for the company from people. Show interest in the profile the company is offering and what all you like about the company such as the work environment, packages offered, work enthusiasm and other related points. Do not answer this question with points such as the company is your only option or related statements that might give a wrong impression.

Why would you be a great candidate for the job?

This question is asked to judge your confidence level that you have in you to compete for the job level of performance. Show confidence about your standing among other candidates in the field you are applying for. Make sure you show positive dedication to the work and how your abilities will help define the job better or get work done. you can ans this question with reference to you qualifications and how they might be the reason for you being above other candidates.

Have you ever missed a deadline?

Be realistic when asked this question. Say that you missed a dead line and you had a thrashing from your boss but in work culture it is part of life and how you learned from it and implemented it in your work life. Also state points such as humans have tendency to make mistakes but with every mistake one must learn and improvise and you believe in improvising self.

Judge and rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10.

Be very practical, realistic and modest while answering this question. Do not rate yourself anywhere below average as this will indicate lack of confidence also do not rate you self 10 as this might show you as over confident. Rate moderately and base the rating entirely on your qualification and skills. Adequate rating will be 7 to 8 and provide a good base for this rating.

What if we provide you adequate money to retire, will you?

Do not say a yes as you are interviewing to work. Answer this with a no and state points such as you are in a learning zone right now where you want to work and make the most out of it. Saying a yes will put you forward as a lazy and spoon fed person. Follow up the ans with your will to work and how it makes you feel better. Saying a yes will also put up a question about you just being interested in money and not the work.

What did you do yesterday?

This is a very commonly asked question to check communication skills and to see how good you are in expressing things. Do not lay down your day as a very plain, normal and dull day. Make it sound a little interesting. Add up points which help you keep them involved or interested or involve some of the current events to make it more interesting. Also do not go beyond the line to gain attention and state a very extraordinary. Keep it interesting yet subtle. Also focus on the language you use and especially as the conversation relates to past tense do not make grammatical errors.

What will be your response if the customer who calls on the other side of the phone is angry?

This question focuses to check your ability to handle situations. Do not answer this question with anything that states retaliation. Talk about handling the situation with patience and relaxed mind set. You can answer it as “ If the customer on the other side of the phone line is angry i will first try calming him and ask him his/her problem. After that I will try sufficing the best solution keeping in mind his problem. In this sector customer satisfaction is very important and thus it will be my primary goal.

Define success and what do you consider self to be in this aspect?

This question is set to check your attitude towards life. You can answer it as “ Success is to achieve goals set by self to suffice every requirement to achieve these goals.”

When answering the other part of this question be modest and realistic. Do not come across as someone who thinks very high of self.

You can answer this as “I consider myself successful and the reason for this is that i have set goals in my life , achieved some and i am in the process of achieving rest."

What tasks or activities have you done in past year to improvise self?

Talk about activities and tasks related to your job life and aspects for developing skills. Also add up personal side to the answer by mentioning points such as increasing endurance, learned to be patient, work harder and set personal goals. You can include activities related to your profession such as courses or study of the current trends in your field, reading of books to gain knowledge related to the field.

What does virtual call center technology provides?

Virtual call center technology provide various ways to get connected just by using the service known as software as a service. This service is one of the emerging services from where the virtual call centers are operated. The operations that is being performed on this consists of the host servers and their equipments to run the call center activities. This service is being given on the basis of monthly or annual subscription. Through this they use their own data center and setup to host many call centers together. Agents connect through the service that is being provided using the VOIP or the vendor's equipment. It allows the people to do work from home, instead of coming to offices or having a centralized office from where they work and submit their work.

How will you define a good team leader? Do you think the definition goes for you as well?

If ‘yes’ say how and mention some instance to prove yourself a suitable team leader.

A good team leader is one who uses his/her past experiences to lead his/her team, adopt his positive points and eliminate his negative points to guide team accordingly.

You can say “I was also a team member, so I know what a team member expects from a team leader” But do mention some of your school or college incident to justify it.

What is your perspective of seeing a most difficult job?

This type of question is asked to check how you are planning your work and how determined & confident you are, so in this case you can say “I think if one is skilled enough, then no job is difficult. what makes a job difficult is poor planning and management. I know i would plan and manage my job well, so there is no point of difficulty”.
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