Keep your answer simple and precise. Stay away from long drawn out stories. Briefly, describe a time when you resolved a customer service issue. Highlight your ability to remain patient and rational.
"Just last week, a customer called our design team because he was unhappy with a particular design we were creating for him. I reassured him that we would modify the design to his liking before finalizing the project. We spoke further and, in the end, he was just feeling uncomfortable not being a part of the decision-making every step of the way. With any customer complaint I remain patient, listen to their concerns, and reassure the customer we would do anything within reason to satisfy their requests."
"I worked in a retail customer care center and had to navigate angry customer experiences more times than I would have liked. People who are upset want to be heard and respected. I would listen, empathize and reassure the customer that I am there to support them and resolve the matter. Communication and reassurance is important throughout the process. If I needed to check on an order or get back to the customer, I would set expectations to explain what I was doing and when they would hear back. I am proud to say that I have successfully turned more detractors into promoters than anyone else in our organization."
"I once was a customer service rep at a call center. I had many angry customer calls, but one in particular I remember well. The customer had ordered a dish set, but when it arrived, it was missing half the pieces. She had unfortunately set on hold with us for over 30 minutes waiting to be helped, and was irate when I told her that our policy was that she had to send the entire order back, then we would issue a refund and she could reorder it. She just wanted us to ship the missing pieces. Needless to say, she ended up getting a refund and did NOT reorder from us. She likely never will again. I did make sure she received her refund and I spoke with our supervisors about the long wait times and possibility of changing our return policies. It was not a good situation."
Sales answer example
"A client was delivered a damaged piece of goods that we sold him. For a $30,000 piece of inventory, he was understandably very upset. Within five minutes of receiving a very angry email, I hopped on the phone with him to address the issue. I had my COO and Director of Operations, who handles problem resolution, in the room so he would feel that the issue was being taken care of by upper management.
In a 10 minute conversation, not only did we resolve his issue, buy back the piece of inventory, and have pick-up arranged for that very afternoon. We also piloted a new program with him to take the balance sheet risk off of him, which really pleased him. So much, in fact, that he committed to buying another 5 pieces of inventory that same week."
Retail answer example
"The brief answer is: all the time.
A specific instance relates to the roll out of our new return policy and for the first time we requested an ID when making a return without a receipt. One customer during her first experience being asked for an ID for a return, assumed it was a race issue and she was irate. I had to intervene with the very frazzled employee and take a step back, explain the "why" of the new policy, and ensure her it has zero to do with her personally, but was a company-wide, country-wide policy. After taking time to hear her concerns, validate why she would be upset, and explain it all in context, she happily handed over her ID and return, and thanked me for my patience with her explosion."
Teacher answer example
"I had a parent that was upset that their child was not included in Spanish class. This was due to their IEP and special services scheduling: the student went to speech and social work during my Spanish class. This didn't stop the parent from showing frustration with me, so I was sure to find time to sit down and speak with her, and show that I heard her frustration. I asked our principal to join us and we were able to figure out a better schedule for the following trimester that would allow her child to attend Spanish class as well as have his minutes in speech and social work per his IEP. By showing I understood her frustration and was willing to work with her, she immediately softened and was thrilled that we were so receptive to her concerns."