Working in a contact centre is a tough job, it requires a specific kind of resilient character and a passion for customer service that shines through in everything you do – especially on the phone. While it may seem like any other interview, a phone interview for a contact centre holds added significance. With tone and phone manner firmly in the spotlight, it’s better to think of a phone interview as a live audition. If you have an upcoming Contact Centre phone interview, here’s how to leave a fantastic impression on your interviewer over the phone.
Phone Interview Etiquette
Getting a phone call out of the blue can be tough to deal with, especially if you’re at work or commuting at the time. However, being honest and upfront no matter what is important from the very outset. If you’re not in the right frame of the mind, it’s better to say so rather than to soldier on and potentially interview poorly.
It’s a common misconception among candidates that if they say no they’ve blown their chance, but that’s not the case. You are being judged on what is presented on the phone; if you’re on the bus or out having a coffee and are a little flustered or hurried, then this can come across as impatience or rudeness on the phone. That’s a far bigger risk than simply asking to reschedule. A Recruitment Consultant would prefer to call back when you’re in a good space, rather than you proceeding despite not being ready. We want to present the best person for the job to our clients, so we want candidates to be mentally prepared and able to give a good account of themselves.
For phone interviews, it’s all about tone. Everything comes across within it, so remember that from the moment you say hello, your phone manner is being evaluated. How you portray yourself reflects how you are going to talk to the customer, which is why it’s important to use this opportunity to demonstrate passion. Remember to smile – it might sound silly, they can’t see you after all, but it really does change your whole tone of voice. Stumbling over simple questions is never a good look. Instead, there should be a seamless transition between the different stages of a call, so be fluid with answers and always keep the flow of the conversation in mind.
What you can do to prove your experience
In a role that is largely phone-based and customer service-focussed, it’s no surprise that you’ll be put under the spotlight in a phone interview. Although it can sometimes be difficult to prove your experience in these situations, preparation and research is key. You want to recall strong customer service examples that will allow your experience to shine through.
Even cases where the end result was that you were unable to solve the customer’s issue can be useful. Perhaps it was calming down an irate customer and giving them room to vent. Although often the problem can’t be solved, what it shows is resiliency, and the ability to empathise with challenging customers. However, given the nature of the role, be careful not to paint them in a negative light. This on its own could spell the end of your chances.
Working in a Contact Centre environment means that repetition will be a large part of your role. You may answer 10 consecutive calls, all of which are essentially the same. Because of this, being able to handle each situation, whilst still maintaining your drive and performance, is critical.
In an incredibly target-driven environment, it’s also likely that your ability to work to goals will be a key discussion point. Beforehand, think about any previous experience in working to specific targets. Do you enjoy working to KPIs? What have you done to ensure they are met? These are all useful examples to take with you into the interview.
The phone-based nature of Contact Centre jobs means that phone interviews take on added significance in the recruitment process. It’s often a chance for interviewers to put you under the spotlight and assess your phone manner, as well as previous customer service experience. Understanding what it takes to come across as a confident Contact Centre professional, even when you’re called out of the blue, will help you leave an impression and give you the best possible chance of advancing to the next stage.
For further phone interview advice, or if you’d like support in your Contact Centre job search, get in touch with us.