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40 Probing Questions for Customer Service Chats (+ Free Templates)

Parvathi Vijayamohan

18 July 2022

3 min read

Probing questions in customer service are the key to discovering and knowing more about a customer’s problem.

On the whole, customer service pros often use a mix and match of diverse question types to solve a customer complaint faster and more effectively.

In this article, we will:

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Now, let’s move on to the four common types of probing questions in customer service.

Four types of probing questions in customer service

1: Exploratory probing questions

As the name suggests, these probing questions are used to explore the customer’s problem and understand what’s going on.

  1. “How can I help?”
  2. “When you say [ABC], what do you mean?”
  3. “Could you give me some background about the issue?”
  4. “Can you tell me more about the present situation/problem?”
  5. “How is this problem affecting you?”
  6. “What are you using/doing now?”
  7. “Do you have any preference regarding the solution?”
  8. “Can you please tell me about that?”
  9. “When you say [ABC], can you give me an example?”
  10. “When do you need the issue fixed?”

2: Funnelling/Investigative probing questions

If you face a broad or complicated issue and need to dig deeper, funnelling questions are what you use. In other words, they ‘funnel’ the customer from a general complaint to the specific details that you need.

  1. “What led you to conclude that there was an issue?”
  2. “Can you tell me what you see on your screen?” (or any variation thereof)
  3. “Have you experienced this issue before?”
  4. “When exactly did this problem begin?”
  5. “How long/often is this happening?”
  6. “Can you tell me what you tried to fix this issue?”
  7. “What difficulties did you face when trying to solve this issue?”
  8. “What happened after you did this step?”
  9. “Have you tried [solution]?”
  10. “Alright. Is there anything more you want to tell me about the issue?”

3: Confirming /Empathetic probing questions

This probing question type has three purposes:

  • Allowing the customer and you to step back and re-evaluate the issue.
  • Helping you confirm that you understand the customer’s complaint.
  • Making the customer feel valued.
  1. “So that I understand, [repeat problem statement]. Did I get that right?”
  2. “What do you think about this [solution]?”
  3. “Will you do that yourself, or do you need my help?”
  4. “How does this look/feel/sound to you?”
  5. “Why do you want to do this action?”
  6. “What is your ideal outcome?”
  7. “Have we covered everything?”
  8. “Do you want to explore other options?”
  9. “Do you have any further questions you’d like to ask?”
  10. “Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

4: Leading questions

A leading question is a probing question that suggests a specific answer. Customer service teams use it to encourage customers to choose a particular course of action. They are also a good way to kick off upselling and cross-selling strategies.

  1. “What product features are important to you?”
  2. “What do you plan to use this feature for?”
  3. “It would be great to choose something that [insert advantage]. Would you be interested?”
  4. “[Solution A] comes with [feature]. So if you choose it, you will get [benefit]. Would that add value for you?”
  5. “With [solution A], you have a [benefit]. Would that be something you’re looking for?”
  6. “Would you like me to get started on [solution A] for you?”
  7. “Most customers with an issue like yours go for [solution A]. Would you like me to explain why?”
  8. “Would you like to sign up for our service/insurance/free trial?”
  9. “Are you interested in receiving [offer/freebie/discount]?
  10. “How would you rate today’s service?”

Why are probing questions important in customer service?

  • Probing questions steer the conversation from “problem” to “solution.” Often, customers focus on how they feel about the issue and how it affects them. By probing, you can steer the focus to the details of the problem and get the info you need for a solution.
  • Probing questions get into the specifics. They encourage the customer to go into further detail and think beyond the heat of the moment – about the root cause of the problem.
  • They help clear misunderstandings. You not only find out the root cause of the problem, but you also clear up a lot of assumptions on the customer’s part.
  • They keep the conversation flowing. Best-case scenario: probing questions will help you have a productive discussion, resulting in a superb customer experience.

“Asking the right question at the right time for the customer can be the difference between solving a problem, making a sale, or satisfying a request. In addition, asking the right question at the right time for the customer means that you’re attuned to what the caller is trying to accomplish by calling you.”

Wrapping Up

In this article, we’ve discussed four types of probing questions in customer service and how they will effectively help you provide a great customer experience.

Is there any other question we missed out on? Drop a comment below. If you’re curious to learn how our CX software can improve your customers’ experience, well, we’re just a chat away!

Parvathi Vijayamohan

Growth Marketer at SurveySparrow

Fledgling growth marketer. Cloud watcher. Aunty to a naughty beagle.

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