The Story of a Call Center Applicant Who Landed His Job Offer

His name is Kevin and here’s the story of a call center applicant who landed his job offer.

Four days before Christmas, he sent me this:

Hi Ma’am Sheina

I’d liked to thank you for the tips you gave me when I failed on my first interview. It took me one week to apply again, because I first prepared and mastered answering situational and behavioral questions.

Luckily, I passed the final interview and got a job offer. Right now, I’m on the nesting stage of my call center training.

I described the training as BRUTAL. I saw people terminated right at the early stage of training.

It made me realize that working in the call center is not easy at all and I admired the people who stay in this industry. Good thing, I had a supportive and kind trainer who always pushed me to do well when handling customer calls. So I think I have a better chance of passing my training.

If I pass, I’d proudly say that being a call center agent is not a downgrade or a dead-end career but an awesome job.

The tips you gave especially about listening to tutorials in YouTube by AJ Hoge, watching movies with subtitles, and talking to English speakers (like my mom and my two cousins who live in Australia) really helped a lot in improving my listening and communications skills.

By the way, my mom is a public school teacher and her English accent is quite good, even though I find it weird when talking to her in English at home hehehe.

Merry Christmas Ma’am Sheina God Bless 🙂

The Story of a Call Center Applicant Who Landed His Job Offer

I wanted to keep this story short but I can’t. If you’re a call center applicant who’s struggling to land your job offer, you’ll certainly learn from Kevin.

Before he sent me the message above, we’ve already been exchanging emails. He asked me questions, I gave him answers, and the most important part: he worked on it, he took action.

I won’t take credit of his success simply because without his hard work, all the tips I gave him would have been useless.

Here was my conversation with Kevin: his questions, my answers, and the work he’s done to finally land his job offer.

Nov. 14, 2017

Good am Ma’am Sheina

For the first time, I applied in a call center company yesterday but unfortunately failed the final interview.

But I’m not totally sad because my initial interview and my Versant exam went great, because of your blog. I found out that my weakness in yesterday’s job interview was about personal questions (like how do you keep your friends? Or how’s your relationship with your previous co-workers and situational questions).

There were few questions which I had a hard time expressing my thoughts because I didn’t expect the interviewer to ask them.

1. If you’re a customer and you are not satisfied with the answer of the customer associate and he/she treats you in a bad manner, how would you feel or respond to that situation?

(I started panicking because she started throwing easy to complex questions.)

2. What is customer service as a whole? Don’t define it in a call center manner.

(Panic again because I can only define it relating into call center work.)

3.) What were your struggles in your former workplace? How did you manage them?

(I was selling life insurance and loan offers but my answers started to not make sense. It threw off my good start and I could not even expound my answers anymore.)

4. Lastly, a situation where a client ordered flowers for his wife at 7 pm for their wedding anniversary. However, the flowers didn’t arrive. Client got mad, and threatened to sue the company. How will you handle this situation?

(Here, I was totally lost because I already gave terrible answers to the 3 previous question and the interview told me that she would give me a chance if I answered this right. Unfortunately I didn’t.)

Thank you and God bless

Nov. 20, 2017

Hi Kevin,

So sorry for the late reply. I just went home from the province for 10 days. I’m glad you messaged me about this. Although you didn’t pass, the chances of you getting hired is now 10X better should you decide to apply again.

And you should! Here would be my answers:

1.) If you are a customer and you are not satisfied with the answer of the customer associate, and he/she treats you in a bad manner. How would you feel or respond to the situation?

If I were the customer who received a bad service from a customer associate, of course, I would feel frustrated and upset. In fact, I would take the time to answer the surveys and let the management know how bad they handled my concern.

On top of that, I’ll gladly take the time to post in social media for all the customers to see, and would never recommend the company to my friends. If I paid for a service or product, then I expect to get what I paid for. Therefore, if someone wants to keep his company in good shape, he should make sure that his customer service is first class.

2.) What is customer service as a whole? Don’t define it in a call center manner.

(I’m confused about the question. What did the interviewer mean when he said “don’t define it in a call center manner?)

3.) What were you struggles in your former workplace? How did you manage the situation?

(Can you tell me the struggles you’ve had so I can give you an example?)

4. Lastly, a situation where a client ordered flowers for his wife at 7 pm for their wedding anniversary. However, the flowers didn’t arrive. Client got mad, and threatened to sue the company. How will you handle this situation?

This depends on the company’s policy. Surely, delays and late deliveries can sometimes happen. If the company offers compensation for late deliveries, say for example, a full refund and a free delivery for a different occasion,  then I would offer it to the customer.

First, I’m going to apologize and explain why the flower was delayed, and then if available, offer the compensation to make up for the inconvenience. The important thing to is to make him feel heard and understood. Make him feel that you GENUINELY care about his situation and are willing to do something for him.

If handled well, it is very unlikely that the customer would sue if the concern is addressed to the best of your resources.

Kevin, I know you would have answered these during your interview but the problems were:

  1. you panicked.
  2. you already have a good English but it needs to improve and sound more spontaneous. That was my English before I worked in the call center, but after listening to English mp3s, I mastered speaking it without having to think much about it. Repeat, repeat and repeat. Download English audios from Youtube on your phone and listen to them while doing your daily task.

If I can give you only one advice it would be that. That’s the most important technique.

Let me know if you have any questions. Don’t give up. I know you really want this so don’t stop now. 🙂

Nov. 20, 2017

Thanks Ma’am Sheina

By the way, here were my answers. I need your suggestions on how to improve my answers or what I could have said better.

1. If I were a customer, I would be mad and maybe shout or throw insults to the customer associate. I might hanged the phone and write a letter then drop it to their suggestion box or send email about the incident. 

(The interviewer’s face started to frown and that made my panic even worse, thinking that I gave a wrong answer which affected my confidence to answer the succeeding questions.)

2. Customer service as a whole means not only imparting information needed by the customers but also going out or going extra mile when serving your customers.

(My answer was too short for this one and I couldn’t expound anymore)

3. My usual struggle was to reach the monthly sales quota of our life insurance products: 150 people a month. It was a hard sell because most people are reluctant to think about their death or illness so their perception about life insurance is just an additional expenses and not necessary at all.

It doesn’t give them instant gratification like the feeling of having a new car or Iphone. So that’s the common difficulty I experienced in my previous job. 

(I had the idea how I managed the situation but I had a hard time constructing my ideas into sentences, how to open the minds of my potential prospects why life insurance is important and necessary. So I gave a terrible answer here because it was incomplete)

4. First, I would apologize to the customer about the incident. Ask the customer that I will put him on hold for 2-3 mins for me to check what happened to his order and assure him that his concerns are acted upon. Inform the customer about the reason why the order didn’t arrive and and we will just send his order again. Give the client an assurance that it would not happen again.

(I read how you answer this and I realized that my skills in customer service were terrible 🙂 because I forgot the idea about giving refund or free delivery)
 
I appreciate any constructive criticism from you about my answers. Thanks and God Bless

Nov. 21, 2017

Hi Kevin,

Here are my suggestions

1. If I were a customer, I would be mad and maybe shout or throw insults to the customer associate. I might hanged the phone and write a letter then drop it to their suggestion box or send email about the incident.

Suggestion:

(Some grammar errors here:
“I might hanged the phone”- Should be “I might hang up the phone.”)

2. Customer service as a whole means not only imparting information needed by the customers but also going out or going extra mile when serving your customers. (My answer was too short for this one and couldn’t expound anymore)

Suggestion:

Yes, you do need to expound. In this case, you can give an example of a time where walking the extra mile was better than merely giving info to the customer. Like this:

“Customer service isn’t just answering the customer’s questions, or saying no after finding out that the customer’s request is impossible.

Customer service to me means walking the extra mile for the customer and making sure that if he doesn’t get the resolution he wanted, I’ll suggest and give him the closest, next best possible solution.

It’s about letting the customer know that I genuinely care about his problems and making sure that I solve the problem to the best of what I’m allowed by the company policy.

For example, if a customer says he wants a refund but it’s no longer possible because his order was already shipped, I won’t only apologize and tell him no without explaining why. The customer must feel involved in the process. And then, I will offer the closest resolution which is to ask him to refuse the delivery and once received back by the company, he will get the refund.”

I suggest you read my blog about PREP. This will help you organize your thought and avoid too short and general answers. Click here:
How to Express Your Thoughts in English Painlessly
How to Improve Your English Accent and Land a Call Center Job

3. My usual struggle was to reach the monthly sales quota of our life insurance products like 150 people a month. It was really a hard sell. Most people are reluctant to think about their death or illness so their perception about life insurance is just an additional expenses and not necessary at all.

It doesn’t give instant gratification like the feeling of having a new car or Iphone X so that’s the common difficulty I experienced in my previous job.

(I had the idea how I managed the situation but I had a hard time constructing my ideas into sentences like I did marketing strategies like how to open the minds of my potential prospects why life insurance is important and necessary. So I gave a terrible answer here because it was incomplete)

Suggestion:

Here, you shouldn’t only talk about the problem. You should also talk about the solution. How did you manage to deal with the fact that people are reluctant to buy life insurance? What were your techniques? This was your opportunity to show to the interviewer that you rock, that you can handle challenges. It’s kinda like the interview question, “what is your weakness?”

If you want examples, read this: How to Answer: What is Your Greatest Weakness?

After that, I didn’t hear anything from Kevin. So much for “not giving up,” I thought. He was probably one of those applicants who get very excited at the start but whose fire eventually wobbles into surrender after the first sign of failure.

Oh boy, was I wrong!

December 21, exactly a month later, Kevin surprised me with a message saying he landed his job offer and was on training! Add that to the fact that he feels so determined and positive in passing his training.

That’s the best present PisoPinoy received this Christmas. And except for the “Ma’am Sheina“, I totally, completely, 100% agree with Kevin.

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