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Competency Interview Questions

25 Questions and Answers by

Rachelle Enns is an interview coach and job search expert. She works with candidates to perform their best in employment, medical, and post-secondary admission interviews.

Competency was updated on May 4th, 2019. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 25

Are you capable of handling disputes in a professional manner? How do you respond to customer complaints?

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Competency Interview Questions & Answers

  1. 1.

    Are you capable of handling disputes in a professional manner? How do you respond to customer complaints?

      How to Answer

      If you are interviewing for a customer or client facing role, you must show off your conflict management abilities. The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of handling uncomfortable situations while nurturing valued client relationships and still keeping the company's best interests in mind. Give an example of a time you successfully resolved a customer-related issue.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Last week, a customer called me very angry regarding a glitch in one of our software products. I listened and told them I would be happy to help. I asked more questions to understand the problem and then suggested once I had a better idea of what might solve it. The customer was very relieved and grateful that I took the time to listen and make sense of the issue. I was able to de-escalate the issue very quickly. I believe that most customer complaints come to a resolution through a gentle and collaborative approach."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Admin Interview

      "I can always handle disputes professionally. In a call center, you have to learn to put yourself in the customer's shoes and recognize that you are not personally responsible for the problem. Once I separate emotions from the situation, I can speak calmly and clearly over the phone."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Manager Interview

      "As uncomfortable as customer complaints are, it's part of my favorite part of the job, because I get to problem solve and get creative with our clients' needs. If the complaint is due to employee behavior, I handle that concern discreetly and never in front of the client."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Marketing Interview

      "I'm capable of handling disputes professionally and have plenty of years of experience, from my jobs in the service industry to sales, and marketing. Though I no longer work directly with customers often, I do see the complaints when a marketing campaign didn't live up to their expectations, or we didn't deliver on a deadline. I believe customer service to be of the utmost importance and pride myself on understanding the situation and always going above and beyond to make sure the customer is happy."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Retail Interview

      "I handle customer complaints with extreme care! Customers and clients are the lifeblood of any retail business, so it is important to hear them by empathizing, understanding and initiative to resolve the issues they bring to you."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Sales Interview

      "Unfortunately, customer complaints happen all too often, but that's part of the job. One instance that comes to mind is when we were expected to update a feature set for a particular client. We missed the deadline. I called the client to let him know that we would have an in-between solution, but his ideal deadline was not feasible. Understandably, he was pretty livid. By demonstrating active listening, legitimizing his concerns, and assuring him of a more realistic timeline, as echoed by the stakeholders in the project, I was able to calm him down."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Teacher Interview

      "I'm comfortable handling parental complaints when they occasionally happen. I know, as a parent myself, that almost any concern or complaint stems from looking out for what they believe the best interest of their child to be, and I can certainly empathize with that. I approach all complaints or concerns with delicacy and an open heart and make sure they feel heard and understood. By doing so, we can always find a better path forward together."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Kitchen Manager Interview

      "Last week, a customer called me very angry regarding the poor experience they had at my restaurant. I listened and told them I would be happy to help. I asked more questions to understand the problem and then offered a suggestion once I had a better idea of what might solve it. The customer was very relieved and grateful that I took the time to listen and make sense of the issue. I was able to deescalate the issue very quickly. I believe that most customer complaints can be easily solved through a gentle and collaborative approach."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Receptionist Interview

      "What I do is I listen attentively to the customer's complaint and reassure them that the company will look into it. At my level, I cannot confirm resolution of the problem but I can let the customer feel that his concerns will be addressed promptly."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Customer Representative Interview

      "At my previous job as a call agent, I had handled a lot of impatient and frustrated customers. One of the important things I learned is that showing empathy to the customer's situation does wonders. Having the right and positive attitude goes a long way in calming down customers and keeping them satisfied with the service I've provided."

      4 Community Answers

      Anonymous Answer

      "When a customer is complaining, I first listen to them carefully, actively, trying to understand what went wrong and what caused his/her discomfort, and then I apologize for the shortcoming- if there was one. I take immediate action to fix the problem. If the issue is sorted, and the customer is happy, that's great. However, i still make sure to discuss the matter with my colleagues and supervisor and generally take note of what happened, so we can prevent the same situation from happening again."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This answer is all-encompassing, and the interviewer should be happy to hear that you know how to handle the situation while also taking the opportunity to learn from the situation.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "Yes, I can handle it professionally, I explain both parties to focus on the task, not the particular problem, we come here for work, not any disputes. Customers are a most valuable person, so first I try to understand what they want, is it solvable promptly and if the answer is yes try to, I will try to find him the solution."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It sounds like you are very level headed in the workplace. I have reworded slightly for flow, focusing more on the customer aspect.

      "The customer is the most valuable party so I will always try to understand the core of what they want. I ask myself, 'Is this problem I can quickly solve?' If the answer is yes, I will find a solution. If I cannot quickly find a solution, I will escalate the issue to my supervisor."

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