Providing great customer service sets you apart from your competition. But to make that happen, you need to staff your team with people who have the skills and temperament to effectively solve your customer's issues and positively represent your company for every interaction, day after day.

For many organizations, certain people and communication skills are more important than expertise in the product or industry. The latter can often be taught, but the patience and empathy required to effectively help customers is much, much harder to learn on the job.

One thing to look for is a passion for helping others. A good indicator for this trait is passion for other things in their lives: a sport, a hobby, their family. During the interview, get the candidate talking about their interests and note the level of enthusiasm they bring to the conversation.

Once you get the icebreaker questions out of the way, where should you take the interview next? To get you started, Zendesk compiled 10 interview questions that can help you understand if the person you're talking to has the skill set and temperament to be an effective customer service rep.