The 10 Most Common Customer Service Interview Questions and How to Answer Them
When it comes to customer service jobs, the interview is everything.
You need to prove you have the skills in your customer service CV, in person.
You need to show you fit the job description, and then some.
They know which buttons to push and which questions to ask.
We’ve unearthed the 10 most common questions, and the best way to answer them.
Let’s dive in.
1. What does customer service mean to you?
You can’t – and shouldn’t – fake this one.
It’s worth taking the time to have a proper think about this before the interview.
Your answer could be almost anything: teaching and coaching, maximising value, building relationships, sharing product knowledge and expertise, or doing as much as you possibly can within one interaction.
What matters isn’t what you answer. What matters is how you answer. You need to show the interviewer your positive attitude (a customer service essential) and your willingness to adapt, learn and grow. How you tackle this question is especially important if they ask it first.
2. What about this role appeals to you?
Your answer to this question should line up with your customer service cover letter. Make your answer as specific as possible. Not just this company, not just this role, but this role, at this company, now.
Give the impression that you moving to this role makes perfect sense given your career trajectory, as if it was part of your plan all along. As with question one, prepare an answer for this before the interview. One of the worst interview mistakes (according to employers) is a lack of knowledge of the role or company, so make sure to avoid that pitfall.
3. What’s the best customer service you’ve ever received?
This isn’t an opportunity for a long anecdote.
This is an opportunity for you to prove you know what good customer service really is. Your potential employer knows what it is. They want to see if your answer aligns with theirs.
The ideal answer is a short example of an experience that aligns with the company’s (and your) values.
4. Tell me about a time when you received poor customer service
Again, there’s no point launching into a lengthy anecdote.
Instead, show you know what poor customer service is. This is just as important as your answer to question three.
However here you also need to demonstrate not only your knowledge of why it was poor, but your understanding of their situation and how it could be improved.
5. How would you deal with an unreasonable customer?
Time to flex your conflict resolution muscles.
There isn’t room in your CV or cover letter to fully give an example of a situation you de-escalated. But there is now.
Your example should include how you diffused the situation, and how you turned the customer’s experience into a positive one.
6. Tell me about a time when a customer reported a technical issue that you didn’t have the solution to
You can’t have every solution, that’s just part of the job.
But what you can have is an ability to adapt in the face of uncertainty. This is a great opportunity to show your adaptability, versatility and problem solving. To show that you aren’t reliant on your supervisor.
Once again, it’s not just about what happened, but how you learnt from it. What happened next time you were in that situation? Were you better prepared? The answer is yes.
7. When replying to a customer, how do you decide what information to include/not include
Each of these questions is an opportunity to show you have a particular skill essential to customer service.
This question? Communication.
The interviewer wants to find out how you talk to customers. Your answer should show variety – they don’t want to hire someone who’s inflexible. Every customer is different, and every interaction you have with them is different too. So convey your ability to tailor your responses to each customer instantly.
8. How do you deal with negative customer feedback?
You will almost always be asked this.
Here’s what not to do:
- Don’t give an example where the customer was at fault (hint: they never are)
- Don’t give an example where a colleague was at fault (team-player, remember?)
- Don’t give a theoretical example
What the interviewer wants to see is humility. They want to see someone who takes responsibility for their mistakes and can cite examples. Remember, you may be asked follow-up questions, and it will be glaringly obvious if your answer is fabricated.
9. Can you tell me about a time when you made a great contribution to your team?
Be as specific as possible. Your answer should have numbers. Show you know what success looks like and how it is measured. For example “Our goal that quarter was to increase renewals by X%.”
There’s a common mistake candidates often make here.
This question isn’t about your success. It’s about your contribution to your team’s success. Only talking about personal successes is a huge red flag to any hiring manager.
10. What do you think makes you a good teammate?
Remember, if you’re in the interview, the company already thinks you’re suitable.
This question is to give the interviewer an idea of what you are like to work with, and hence whether they want to work with you.
It’s also worth mentioning that your answer doesn’t necessarily have to be entirely work-oriented. Throw in something about your karaoke skills, or buying the team donuts when you met your targets. It’s not so much about pitching yourself as an employee, but as someone who’s fun to work with.
And there you have it. Hopefully you’re feeling more confident and have a better idea of how to prepare for your next interview. If 10 wasn’t enough, The Interview Guys have 13 more customer service interview questions to check out.
If you’re still concerned about interviews, it’s worth checking The 10 Interview Mistakes You Need to Avoid.
We’ve also got some killer questions to ask in an interview to really set you apart.
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