How to Answer
The interviewer wants to know that your definition of excellent customer service exceeds minimal expectations. You could talk about a time when you calmed an upset customer or went above the expectations of your role to make a customer want to return.
Perhaps you had a customer dispute and were able to smooth over the issue using your great instinct and friendly disposition. Be sure to close with how happy the customer was when they left. Include any feedback that you received from your supervisor or co-workers afterward.
Here are some ways that you can deliver exceptional customer service:
- Exercise endless patience with challenging customers.
- Use positive verbiage at all times. For instance, instead of saying 'I don't know,' say 'I am happy to find out for you.'
- Actively listen to your customers' needs and be able to repeat them back.
- Have the ability to explain product pricing, so the customer knows what to expect on their bill or invoice.
- Display exceptional product knowledge.
- Ask the customer if you have met their expectations before they leave.
- Smile and maintain positive body language.
- Support your coworkers and encourage a positive workplace culture.
"In my last role, as a server, I went above the customer service expectations by introducing myself to each table when I sat them. Having that small personal touch made all the difference. Once the customers knew my name, and I knew theirs, they felt more confident in my capabilities. Over time, I would have customers coming in and requesting a table in my section. It felt nice to make that connection, and the increase in tips was a nice bonus too! After a few weeks, the restaurant manager made this a general practice across all serving staff."
Rachelle's Answer for an Admin Interview
"In my last position, I had a great deal of challenging customers who would call in nearly every day. Although my patience was often tested, I always remained level-headed, helpful, and positive. Becoming outwardly frustrated would have only made the customer feel bad or even upset them, which is something I would never want."
Rachelle's Answer for a Manager Interview
"I ensured the delivery of excellent customer service by training my team to be positive minded and encouraging to everyone around them. Customers can tell when someone wants to help them versus being forced to because it's their job. I created a friendly and welcoming environment which my customers greatly appreciated."
Rachelle's Answer for a Marketing Interview
"Before I close up any client accounts, I will phone my client and ask them if there is anything more I can do to help, and if I exceeded their expectations. On a phone call, I can hear if they are truly excited about the service or seem emotionally flat about their experience. If they do not sound truly elated, I ask for feedback on what I could have done differently. I want to improve at all times and am very good at implementing feedback, which my clients like."
Rachelle's Answer for a Retail Interview
"I showed great customer service by having a great amount of product knowledge. I made sure that I was the product expert so that I could be a wealth of knowledge to my clients. I would never want to say "I don't know" to a customer. I will always find an answer if I don't already have one."
Rachelle's Answer for a Sales Interview
"I ensured excellent customer service in my last role by having regular conversations with my accounts on what they needed, where I was exceeding, where I could do better, and what services they felt they were missing. This active communication meant that I could quickly pivot if a client were not happy with the way their project was going."
Rachelle's Answer for a Service Station Attendants Interview
"In my previous role as a Service Station Manager, I ensured the delivery of excellent customer service by training my team to be positive-minded and encouraging to everyone around them. Customers can tell when someone wants to help them versus being forced to because it's their job. Together, we created a friendly and welcoming environment that our regular customers greatly appreciated."
Rachelle's Answer for a Host or Hostess Interview
"A customer called to make a reservation for a large group. They were visually impaired and there were two small children in the group. I wanted to take extra special care to provide for their needs, so I informed the server and made notes in the reservation. When the group came in, I was warm and friendly. I made sure they were taken care of."
Ryan's Answer for a Ticket Agent Interview
"In my current position, I handle online orders and shipping items to customers on a daily basis. Last year, the company that we shipped products through was experiencing significant delays in shipping at busier times of the year. Prior to the Christmas season, I began proactively reaching out to customers with expected shipping times once their order came through our system. I also worked closely with our shipping company on a regular basis to relay expected delivery times. This proactive approach kept the customers informed from the moment they placed an order, which greatly reduced the number of unhappy customers contacting us about orders arriving late. Setting the expectation right away was very important to our customers and allowed for repeat business."
Rachelle's Answer for a Technical Support Specialist Interview
"I was working at a large company and one of the employees called our hotline, complaining about a problem with a computer application. Said employee was from the finance department and was having difficulty relaying the specifics of the problem. Since we were getting nowhere, I opted to visit his station instead to expedite the resolution of the problem. He thanked me profusely and since then, we've become buddies."
Ryan's Answer for a Barista Interview
"I define good customer service as actively seeking out opportunities to give the customer a better experience than they expect. I was working at a restaurant, and one of my customers had a food allergy, a broken wrist, and rowdy kids. I made sure the kitchen was cautious with her food order, and I took some time to entertain the kids. I did my best to make the experience as easy for her as possible. She was pleased with her experience and told my manager too."
Rachelle's Answer for a Veterinary Technician Interview
"I was working at a restaurant and one of my customers had a food allergy, a broken wrist and rowdy kids. I made sure the kitchen was cautious with her food order and I made sure the kids were entertained. I did my best to make the experience as easy for her as possible. She was pleased with her experience and told my manager too."
"In my job as a cashier at ______, we had a policy of checking the driver's license for age proof before the sale of alcohol. We were required to check the license irrespective of age. One customer was very upset that I had refused the sale of the alcohol as he had forgotten his license in the car. He was upset because I felt that I could easily make a judgement call that he was not underage.
I apologized for the inconvenience to the customer and explained how it was store policy to check the age proof before selling alcohol. I offered to him I could hold on to the wine bottle so that he can make the purchase at the customer service desk rather than standing in the line again."
It's nice that you provided an alternative option for the customer! Despite being faced with a dispute, you were able to keep calm and remain helpful. Great response!
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