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Top 10 Customer Service Interview Questions

Question 1 of 11
Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond for customer service.
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Question 2 of 11
How do you feel about saying 'no' to a customer with unreasonable requests?
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"I once had a customer order something from our menu that we did not even have. We were a vegan restaurant, and she wanted a chicken breast added to her salad! She reasoned that she was not a vegan and simply there because her friend was vegan. Obviously, her friend and surrounding patron were appalled. I had to chuckle a bit at that one. I couldn't deliver on that one but did offer her some chickpeas instead!"
In a customer service focused role you have likely come across some pretty crazy requests from customers! The interviewer is interested in knowing where you draw the line when it comes to outlandish requests or needs that you just cannot deliver. Give an example of a time when you had to say no to a customer. Assure the interviewer that you are happy to accommodate anyone within reason!

Specific Career Examples
Admin Example
"If a customer has a request that is completely undeliverable, I have no problem letting them down gently. One example is that a customer wanted me to book him in with the CEO for a face to face meeting for the following day. The CEO was traveling to Europe and was not in the office. The customer was angry and threatened to complain to my boss. I offered him a meeting with the General Manager, but he refused. I was kind and tried to accommodate with alternatives, but you win some, you lose some."
Manager Example
"Naturally, as a senior manager, I want to say yes as often as I can. The odd time, I do have to say no to a client. I recently had a customer demand our product in a color that we do not produce. The request, to add color to the production line, would have cost our company $56,000 on a $1,000 product. As you can see, it made zero sense. I offered the customer the choice of our eight existing colors and let her know that I would bring the request up at our next board meeting to see if we could consider the addition down the line."
Marketing Example
"Many of my marketing clients think that we perform miracles overnight, especially when it comes to social media followings and engagement. I once had a customer tell me they needed an absolute guarantee that they would gain 1,000 new followers on Instagram in the first 30 days. Of course, I could not promise anything like that. What I did do, in exchange, was offered them a few case studies of previous clients and the growth that they experienced."
Retail Example
"In retail, there will be customers who want you to deliver the impossible. I am down for a challenge; however, there are some things that I cannot do. I had a client demand that we extend our size range for the upcoming season. I explained to her that collections and production did not work that way, and were often multiple seasons in the works. She thought I could call the corporate head office and get it done."
Sales Example
"Clients who demand the impossible are not the ones that I try to attract or keep if I can be frank. I love when clients have special requests and innovative ideas that I can bring to the attention of my head office; however, demanding something unreasonable is a different story. I had a client once demand that I fly to their city for a face to face meeting the next day if I wanted to keep the account. They were a challenging account with minimal spend. My director said no, I could not. So, I let the client know that I was happy to Skype or book them in when I was in their city next. They refused and fired me. To be honest, they were not an ideal client, and I quickly recovered."
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Question 3 of 11
Have you ever broken company rules to make a customer happy?
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"I have been trained to know that rules and policy are there for a reason. If I were not sure what to do or were asked to break or bend a rule, I would refer to my employee manual or ask a manager to assist."
Breaking the rules, and bending them, CAN be different from each other. Often, organizations are okay with you bending the rules to keep a customer happy. You need to know your audience, though! If the company is very stringent when it comes to their policies and procedures, then approach this question with caution. If the organization is well known for being flexible, then you can indeed be more free with your answer.

Specific Career Examples
Admin Example
"My current company is pretty strict with their policies, so I do not bend to make a customer happy, but I will escalate the issue to someone who has the seniority to decide that. I agree with your organization that it's important to offer some flex on policy, within reason of course."
Manager Example
"Policy and rules are not strictly enforced in my current company. It isn't for lack of caring but the opposite. Our CEO knows that if we needed to bend a rule, it was for a good reason. With that said, I am comfortable following your policies because they are more than reasonable."
Marketing Example
"Marketing is all about ebb and flow, swaying, and flexing. I cannot work in an environment where consideration is not present to the changing or bending of a particular rule. So long as nobody gets hurt or the company isn't suffering, it's important to be flexible to meet the needs of a customer."
Retail Example
"In the store where I currently work there is no flexibility in the rules. If a customer is unhappy with the return policy, for instance, they have to go directly to corporate. There is nothing we are allowed to do at store level. Now, having zero regards for rules can be detrimental as well. I know that your company offers a great happy medium between the two which I certainly respect."
Sales Example
"I have been known to bend a rule or two, with the permission of my superiors of course. I believe it's important to cater to a client in every way possible, so long as it is not harmful to the company. Certain rules and deadlines do not necessarily work for some customers, as they do for others. I understand that your organization operates with a similar mentality."
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Question 4 of 11
Have you received any formal customer service training?
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"I am newer to my career so I cannot say that I have received any customer service-specific training. I would be happy to take any training that you recommend and would love to hear more about your specific training program."
The interviewer would like to know about any formal training you have received, related to customer service. This training could include a robust onboarding plan, on-the-job training, courses taken, or even books that you have read in your spare time. Show the interviewer that you have an interest in bettering your customer service delivery. This question is a great time to ask the interviewer about their company-specific customer service training and manuals.

Specific Career Examples
Admin Example
"Near the beginning of my career, I did take a course on customer service basics as well as training on call center service. There are best practices that I still implement today, such as active listening, not interrupting, and repeating the problem back to the customer. Because much of my role is over the phone, I have to rely on my voice so keeping a pleasant tone is important."
Manager Example
"I have received and given, customer service training. In my current role, I teach my new employees the basics of customer service excellence including building rapport, active listening, identifying opportunities to exceed expectations, and service with a smile."
Marketing Example
"I would love to know more about the customer service training that you offer. I have a great instinct when it comes to delivering the needs of my customers but cannot recall ever receiving formal training on the job."
Retail Example
"Being in retail for a few years, I have absorbed many materials related to customer service. I am well versed in building rapport, making clients feel comfortable, and dispute resolution. I would love to learn more about your specific job training, however."
Sales Example
"I took Quality Customer Service Training from the Dale Carnegie program recently. The program focused on amazing customers in every interaction and building rewarding customer relationships."
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Question 5 of 11
How would you handle a rude customer?
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"When I was working as a bartender, I handled many rude customers who were also intoxicated, which always adds a challenging twist! I made sure to let anything rude they said to slide off my back like it was nothing. I just kept smiling, and doing my job! I still handle rude customers this way. Smile, and move on, disallowing any hurt feelings."
When you work in customer service, you will often come across rude individuals. It's the name of the customer service game, unfortunately. Seeing as it's unavoidable, the interviewer wants to know that you can handle such a situation with professionalism. Give an example of a time that you had to deal with a challenging customer situation. Be sure to include the positive outcome.

Some ways that you can efficiently handle a rude customer:

- Remain kind, polite, and pleasant
- Actively listen to their grievances
- Apologize for the situation
- Maintain a neutral tone of voice
- Avoid taking anything they say, personally

Specific Career Examples
Admin Example
"When I have a rude customer, I am sure to listen until they are finished talking. It's important to hear someone out, especially when they are angry. I find that once someone feels heard, they are more likely to calm down and work towards a solution."
Manager Example
"I have thick skin when it comes to customers. This resilience to rude allows me to remain calm kind, and polite while they unload their feelings. Also, it's amazing what a warm smile will solve when a customer is rude to your face. Try it - it's nearly impossible to be mean to someone who is smiling at you!"
Marketing Example
"I keep a very close eye on my customers, so I do not come across upset or upset individuals too often, but when it does, it's a doozy. My approach is to remain neutral, actively listen, and avoid interrupting in any way. When they conclude speaking, I will repeat to them saying, 'If I understand correctly, what is upsetting you most is A, B, and C.' Using this approach, they feel heard which is all most people want."
Retail Example
"Rude customers are a given in the retail industry, and I have faced my fair share of them. I will outright ask a customer if there is anything I can do to make them more comfortable, happier, or how I can deliver their expectations this time around. When the customer is aware that I am willing to rectify the situation they are much more likely to level with me."
Sales Example
"If a customer shows up to my office visibly annoyed, and acting rudely, I don't try to avoid the situation; rather I will face it head-on by asking them to tell me what is wrong. This forthright attitude is constructive as a sales professional, and in dealing with upset customers. I am fully aware that a rude customer is usually angry with the situation and not with me, specifically. I will always go out of my way to ensure that a customer is happy after they leave my office."
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Question 6 of 11
When have you received exceptional customer service? What made the experience stand out?
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Question 7 of 11
Tell me about your customer service experience.
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Question 8 of 11
What skills do you believe you possess that help you deliver excellent customer service?
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Question 9 of 11
What customer engagement strategy is the most rewarding for you?
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Question 10 of 11
How do you define good customer service?
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Question 11 of 11
Give me an example of how you delivered excellent customer service at your last position.
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