Interview

10 Common Customer Service Interview Questions and Answers

Interviews may seem daunting and can be quite stressful. But preparing ahead of time will help you keep a cool head and prevents you from being flustered when you're in the interview, whether in person or on a call.

You’ve got a callback, and you’ve landed an interview for a customer service role. How exciting! Although the application itself probably took a lot of time, the work doesn’t stop now. Being prepared for an interview is key to getting the job in the end. Interviewers will be assessing your experience, how you’ll fit, and more about you, and you’ll need to know what to say when they ask. 

How to Prepare for a Customer Service Interview

All interviews start with very similar questions. For example, “Tell us about yourself.” There are also some other common interview questions that you should prepare for ahead of time. 

Apart from this, make sure you read the job description and research the company thoroughly. Also, make sure that you have two to three questions to ask at the end of the interview. Make these questions specific to what you may want to know about the role. For example, “what do you think would be the main challenges in this role.” 

This is an interview, and they’re not expecting you to know everything. So be honest about who you are and where you have space to grow. Think about your most relevant work and where you’ve made an impact. This all adds to the picture that you’re building of who you are. 

Here are ten of the most frequent questions and ways to structure your answers so you’re prepared for your customer service interview. 

10 Customer Service Interview Questions

Question 1: How would you define good customer service? 

Try not to regurgitate the job description here. Interviewers want to know what you consider to be quality customer service and how you would provide it. Think about specific examples in your experience of good customer service. If you’re new to the business, think about examples where you’ve received great customer service. It shows the interviewer what you consider as great and areas that go beyond the brief. 

What an answer may look like

Good customer service means knowing the customer, the product, and listening to the crux of the customer’s problem. For example, when I worked at XYZ Company, I spent time going through the new features in the product and understanding where the customer hurdles may lie. This helped me talk the customer through their problem with a human response.
 

Question 2: What does customer delight look to you?

Interviewers are asking to see how above and beyond you would go when dealing with a customer. Your answer should show specific times when you’ve wowed your customers that make them come back for more. 

What an answer may look like

Think about a specific time when you’ve been able to go “above and beyond” for a customer. Relate this back to the brand and the type of customers they have. This shows that you’ve really thought about how customer delight looks like in the company you’re interviewing for. 

Question 3: How do you approach a problem when you’re not sure what to do? 

This question is asking about your collaboration skills. Although it may seem like you need to have all the answers, what interviewers are asking here is how you work in a team, and your ability to ask for help. In your answer, stress the fact that you can work independently, but enjoy collaborating and using the knowledge of your collective team for a better customer outcome. 

What an answer may look like

Being independent and able to handle anything that comes your way may seem like the correct answer. But, think about a time when you engaged with your team and drove a successful outcome. For example, when you asked for help with a demanding customer, and your team got together for a huddle to discuss the options and you were able to solve the customer’s problem. It shows that you’re a team player, which is important in customer service roles. 

Question 4: Describe a time when you had a difficult customer and how you resolved the situation. 

This is a situational questions so your answer should follow a structure. You need to describe what happened right through to the results at the end. . 

What an answer may look like

The structure of your answer should go like this: 

  • Explain what happened. 
  • Describe why the customer was difficult. 
  • Outline the action you took. 
  • Talk about the results. 

For example, “There was a change in our pricing for the product and the customer called to complain. As I was talking, the customer became louder and started to get quite angry. I asked the customer a few more questions to understand the crux of their anger. It turned out, the customer had lost staff and was over stretched. I talked to my manager to think about ways to help them space out their payments. They then recommended our product to others and we got new business.

Question 5: What are two or three qualities that make a good customer service agent? 

Look at the company’s values and talk about your qualities in relation to the company. Try not to give a stock standard response, and be honest about how the values resonate with you. If you don’t understand how to apply the values to yourself, do more research about the people who work there. This should give you a good understanding about the qualities they are looking for.  

What an answer may look like

Depending on the values of the company, think about your personality and how it relates. For example, “I really like working in a team, and working as one is a value I really resonate with.This is because…” 

Question 6: Tell me about the best team you’ve ever been on.

This question is trying to assess whether you care about the team or yourself. It also gives the interviewer a sense of whether you understand their business. Different types of teams work for different companies. Understanding this will show that you are interested in the company. 

What an answer may look like

Think about a previous role (if you haven’t worked before, an example of a great team), and talk about the characteristics of the team and how they were high performing. 

Question 7: Tell me about a time when you had to engage with higher management. 

This is another situational question, so use the same structure as above. This question is checking to see how comfortable you are engaging with higher management. Some companies are very stuck in their hierarchy. Start-ups however, tend to have more fluid structures and if you’re interviewing for a start-up or technology company, they want to know whether you can talk to seniors and how you would. 

What an answer may look like

Think about a time where you’ve had to talk to an executive level (if you’re in a smaller company) about a problem or issue you care about. If you don’t have experience, think about issues you’re passionate about and how you would propose change in your company. Like a time when you talked to the Chief People Officer about bringing in a speaker to talk at your lunch and learn sessions. It’s an opportunity to show your adaptability and flexibility. 

Question 8: Tell me about a time you had to choose something else over doing a good job.

Another situational question. Although the customer is always right, the interviewer is asking your ability to handle an abusive customer. If a customer starts yelling and is verbally abusive, there are most likely processes to follow to help keep you safe. 

What an answer may look like

Describe what happened, how you addressed the customer (you kept cool), and then how you talked to your manager who then stepped in. Your answer should show how you were able to manage customer expectations but also not take the abuse from any customer. 

Question 9: What do you do outside of work? 

This question is to learn more about you and your interests outside of your job. Talk about things you’re interested in, but steer clear of anything controversial. It’s easy to get carried away and try to impress in this question. But keep it brief and make sure that your answer showcases more of your personality. 

What an answer may look like

This is very personal so there isn’t really a stock standard answer for this. Think about the role you’re applying for, and talk about two to three things that you do outside of work that could complement the role. 

Question 10: What’s something about you I should know that we haven’t yet discussed?

This is an excellent opportunity to talk yourself up. It’s also an opportunity to talk about your goals. It shows that you don’t see this role as your end goal and that you’re motivated to go places. Don’t say that you’re taking this role to do something else, but it’s key to show that you have a growth mindset. 

What an answer may look like

Think about your career goals and how this role may help you get there. For example, if leadership is something you’re interested in, mention that you want this role to teach you to manage others which will help you be a future leader. 

Outro

Interviews may seem daunting and can be quite stressful. But preparing ahead of time will help you keep a cool head and prevents you from being flustered when you’re in the interview, whether in person or on a call. 

All interviews are unique and ensuring that you’ve prepared a few different scenarios under your belt will help. Try not to rush to answer the question. Instead, remain calm and take your time to answer the questions. It is perfectly acceptable to pause and think. It actually shows the interviewer that you can take a minute to think through your response. 

Best of luck with your interview!

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