If this is one of your first customer service interviews, you’re likely nervous and wondering what to expect. You may have already heard a lot of general job interview prep tips and prepared for more universal interview questions. That’s great, but what about the specifics? What exactly can you expect in a customer service job interview?
- What is customer service? …
- What does good customer service mean to you? …
- Why do you think you’d be a good fit with our company? …
- Why do you want to work in customer service? …
- Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult customer, and how you handled it.
21 CUSTOMER SERVICE Interview Questions And Answers!
6. Tell me about a difficult customer you had to deal with and how you handled it?
For answering behavioral interview questions, I like the S.T.A.R. method.
Situation. Task/Challenge. Action you took. Result.
That’s a good way to organize your answer.
So when you’re in a customer service job interview and they ask about a difficult customer you encountered, you could say:
“It was Friday afternoon and we were about to close the store.” (Situation)
“A customer came to me extremely unhappy because __” (Task/Challenge)
“So I quickly did ___ and decided to offer her ___ to rectify the situation” (Action you took)
“She was very grateful and completely understood after I explained ___. And she was thrilled that I was able to give her ___ as compensation for her hassle. She said she’d be back soon to shop again.” (Result).
I’d recommend using this method to break down your answer into smaller pieces and tell clearer and better stories.
This is useful for any behavioral customer service interview question.
5. Describe a time where you provided or observed high-quality customer service
This is one of the most common behavioral interview questions for customer service representative roles.
If you have prior customer service experience, focus on discussing that.
However, you can still ace this question in your customer service interviews even if you’ve never worked in this type of role.
You can simply describe a time you observed high-quality customer service.
When did you see a service employee go above and beyond what was expected to please a customer?
Think about recent trips to the supermarket, Starbucks, etc.
Or, when did you see an employee be especially patient and kind with an angry customer to resolve an issue?
Talking about how you’ve observed those customer service skills, and what you learned from the experience, shows you appreciate and understand excellent customer service and will fit well in the job.
However, if you do have any experience as a customer service representative, it’s best to talk about your own work.
Sharing a time you delivered great customer service to a satisfied customer is a bit more powerful than telling a story of how you observed another customer service representative.
And in general, pay careful attention to the wording of each question when you interview for a customer service position.
Some interviewers will ask, “Describe a specific situation where you provided excellent customer service.”
In that case, they’re asking only for your direct experience in prior customer service positions or similar roles.
6. How Do You Keep Yourself Motivated When People Are Being Mean to You?
Unfortunately, customer service jobs can involve a lot of encounters with people who are unhappy—and being quite vocal about it—which can result in a less-than-pleasant experience for you. Bell likes to ask this question to people who are new to customer service to see if candidates have thought about this aspect of the role—and figured out if it’s something they’ll be able to handle.
For this question, and questions like it, interviewers want to see that you understand the downsides of a customer service job but that the upsides far outweigh them for you. They want to know that you won’t snap at a customer and that you won’t burn out.
“Having 50 people yell at you a day isn’t always a fun thing, so you have to have your own reason to get through it,” says Bell. And you have to consider how you’ll keep going even when that 50th person goes off on you—not just so you can tell the interviewer but so you know for yourself that you can manage the job.
The biggest mistake you can make in your interview would be complaining about customers and other people. Bell, for example, bristles at the words, “dealing with customers,” because it shows they don’t view it as something they enjoy doing, it’s something they have to do for a paycheck.” While the phrase isn’t an immediate dealbreaker, she says, it is a red flag that causes her to dive a little more deeply into whether an interviewee really wants to be in customer support and how they’d get through interactions with angry customers.
You might explain that you’re somebody who can handle being yelled at when you recognize that the anger isn’t directed at you and can empathize with the customer’s complaints. You could share that you’d allow frustrated customers to vent for a few minutes so they feel heard—and so that you and they both know you fully understand the situation—before you try to solve their problem. And if helping an exasperated customer come away with a resolution gives you particular satisfaction, be sure to mention it.
Of course, getting yelled at all the time can start to weigh on anybody. So it’s important to show that you’re self-aware and know how you’d take care of yourself so you can stay motivated and calm when talking to customers. For example, maybe you’d go for a quick walk or make sure to listen to some of your favorite songs over your lunch break.
For example, you might say:
“If I know someone’s anger isn’t really directed at me, I tend to not get very emotionally affected by them taking their frustrations out on me. I understand that to them, I represent a company that has done something they see as wrong. It’s my job to try to help them and try to improve their idea of the company. So I make sure they feel heard, usually by allowing them to vent for a minute before getting into the service part of customer service. However, on days when it feels like I’m only getting angry customers, sometimes I like to unwind by blasting my favorite music on the drive home.”