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Customer Service Interview
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25 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns
Updated August 17th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Topics    

Question 1 of 25

What is the difference between customer service, and customer support?

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1.

What is the difference between customer service, and customer support?

It may seem like splitting hairs, but it is not. Customer support often requires more technical abilities, and customer service is more of a positive approach, helping your company to keep customers happy. Sometimes a customer service agent will be on the frontlines and will need to escalate a customer issue to the support team. Give the interviewer your best understanding of service versus support.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I understand customer support to be a larger term than customer service. Someone can be a customer service agent without being able to offer ample support that a client may need. It's important to offer both; however, a member of the support team will likely be better trained with special technical skills."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I offer customer service to everyone that walks into the office. This service includes helping them get where they need to go, offering them water, and making their next appointment. I view customer support as an additional offering. Support is a term I save for when a task is aimed at helping the client overcome a problem."

2.

Have you ever received a negative review from a customer?

Everyone has had a negative review from someone at one point in their career. What the interviewer would like to see is that you can bounce back professionally from a negative customer review. If the review was warranted, discuss what you were able to learn from the experience or the feedback that you received.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I once received feedback that I am not as 'warm' as I could be when talking on the phone. That feedback came as a surprise to me but, I took it to heart, regardless. I worked on implementing more casual conversation in my client calls and remember to keep a smile on my face as well. I have not heard this feedback since."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I had a client call my boss once because she felt I was not dressed professionally enough for my secretarial role. I admittedly was wearing a more casual outfit than normal. I am now always sure to beware of my appearance and will put a little extra effort in because of that feedback."

Anonymous Answer

"No, not that I know of. But, If I ever get one, negative customer reviews are great learning opportunities to know where I can improve myself could be my personality or in my workability."

Rachelle's Answer

Rather than suggesting that a negative review would be about your personality or work ethic, I would focus more on the fact that you would use a negative review as a learning opportunity. I have reworded for you, below.

"To my knowledge, I have never received a negative review. If I ever received a bad review, I would take the situation as a learning opportunity. I would ask myself where I could improve and apply that review to make myself even better."

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3.

When have you received exceptional customer service? What made the experience stand out?

The interviewer wants to hear your excitement when it comes to being the recipient of excellent customer service. The way you answer this will show the interviewer that you are well aware of the difference between average and exceptional! Keep your answer brief, explain the situation, and what you did to express your thankfulness for the stand-out service.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I was recently at a gas station where the pumps were both full service and self-serve. I accidentally went to the self-service bay and sat, waiting for service, silly enough. The gas attendant came running out and pumped my gas anyways. It was nice of him to do that, and so I tipped him a few extra bucks."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I was at the mall recently, looking for a new shade of foundation because my skin had darkened from being on holidays recently. The employee took the time to walk me through a variety of makeup lines, and shades, asking questions about my skin type and other preferences. She is not on commission, I asked, but rather, just really passionate about her job. I called her manager later that day to give her kudos for a job well done."

4.

Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond for customer service.

The interviewer is looking for a specific answer that showcases your ability to deliver excellent customer service. You need to go beyond 'service with a smile' when answering this question. Make your reply memorable! This question offers you an excellent opportunity to be a stand-out candidate.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I often look for opportunities to go over and above when it comes to customer service. One memorable time was when a senior woman was struggling to get her groceries into her car. I was on break but saw her through the window. I ran out and greeted her, asking if I could assist. She was so thankful that she ended up calling my manager that day to compliment my kindness."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I used to work the front desk in a hotel where we were given a budget specifically to use for making a customers' experience better. I recall one couple in specific who left their phone and laptop chargers in the room after they checked out. I same-day couriered the items to them with a friendly note. It felt great to deliver that added touch."

5.

Have you ever worked with a CRM, or client management software?

This question is a simple one to answer if you have a good memory! Before your interview, you should jot down the names of all software and programs that you have used in your current, and previous roles. Be prepared to discuss the programs that you are most experienced with. Once you have this list, you can also add these details onto your resume.

Some of the most popular CRM's include:

- Zoho
- Oracle
- HubSpot
- Salesforce
- NetSuite
- Microsoft Dynamics

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have approximately two years of experience with Zoho CRM, and it's Google integration. I see in your job posting that you use Salesforce which I am confident that I can learn quickly."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I have worked with a couple of different CRM programs in my career. Primarily, Salesforce and Oracle. The companies I have worked for have all been enterprise-level organizations, requiring higher levels of CRM support and options. Could you share with me which programs you use here?"

6.

What skills do you believe you possess that help you deliver excellent customer service?

To deliver excellent customer service you need first to recognize the skills that you have and play off of those. If you are naturally not a smiley person who give hugs, then being a smiley person may come off as fake. Think about your natural personality and how you can use those characteristics to deliver stellar service on the job.

Some skills you may have are:

- Patience
- Empathy
- Adaptability
- Knowledge
- Thick skin
- Networking

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I believe that my networking skills truly add to the customer service that I deliver. If my client mentions another need, there is a good chance that I know somebody in the local market who can assist. It's great to help out other businesses through client referrals as well, and the client never forgets your willingness to step outside of your zone to help."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I have a great amount of patience which has helped me an incredible amount when it comes to delivering customer service that exceeds expectations. My customers feel free to lay out their needs, pain points, and grievances, knowing that I am fully present and ready to help."

7.

How do you deal with customer rejection?

Being rejected by a customer can be hurtful and frustrating. The interviewer wants to know that you have the maturity, professionalism, and confidence to be able to withstand someone saying 'no' to you. Explain that you realize not everyone will be super friendly, warm, and buy from you right away. And that is okay! Display your maturity level and ability to let situations like this go, rather than dwell.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I know not to take it personally when a person doesn't want my product or service. There are many reasons why they could be saying no. Maybe the item is out of their price range, or maybe they are having a bad day and don't feel like interacting. Onto the next opportunity, I say!"

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I expect that not everyone I speak with is going to want to give me their time, or fully hear what I have to say. People are busy, and they will say no, or 'I don't have the time for this,' more often than not."

Anonymous Answer

"No one likes rejection. I’ve learned not to take it personally. It may not be a good time to discuss making changes. They may have something going on in their lives, etc.... I try to end it on a positive and, if possible, say something like maybe we can revisit this in a few weeks, months. I do think this product/ service would benefit you, and I’d hate to see you miss out on an opportunity to make life easier, banking easier, or whatever the product may be."

Rachelle's Answer

This is a great approach! It's respectful and understanding while still being sales and solution-focused. Good answer!

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Anonymous Answer

"No matter the situation, or how the customer rejection makes me feel, I vow to remain professional and to continue to have a positive attitude towards my ability to do my work the best I can."

Rachelle's Answer

Your answer shows that you are confident in your abilities. It's great that you also promise to remain positive and professional through a tough situation such as customer rejection.

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8.

Give me an example of how you delivered excellent customer service at your last position.

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.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"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 #2

"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."

9.

If you could not make a customer happy, what would you do?

It is essential that you can turn most customers around; however, this will not be the case 100% of the time. The interviewer would like to see that you have the sense to offer a solution while keeping the company's best interest in mind at the same time. Discuss what you would do to make sure a customer was taken care of while keeping in mind that, at times, situations need escalating to upper management. Also, there may be times when customer satisfaction cannot be achieved. Talk about how you come to terms with that.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"If I could not make a customer happy I would escalate the situation to my manager, or another coworker who was perhaps better with customer dispute resolution. I understand that you cannot make everyone happy at all times, but I will certainly try my best."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"On occasion, I will have a customer comment that I am just the 'receptionist.' This type of comment gives me the impression that, even though I have a thorough knowledge of the company, they feel I am not high up enough to give them what they need. At these times, I will move the complaint up to my management team and allow them to handle the client. Not everyone is willing to listen to what I have to say, and that is okay with me, so long as I know that I tried my best."

Anonymous Answer

"If I could not make a customer happy, I would offer some alternative solution or ask them respectfully and discuss amongst us on what I could do to better the situation."

Rachelle's Answer

The interviewer will appreciate that you look inward for a solution, also asking for customer feedback. This is a great answer!

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Anonymous Answer

"If I were unable to satisfy a customer, I would ask my manager to step in."

Rachelle's Answer

Asking for help with an escalating issue shows maturity and professionalism. Nice answer!

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10.

How would you react if a customer was lying to you, to gain a refund or free product?

If you are in the customer service realm, you have likely heard it all! Although most people are lovely, you will come across the odd customer who seems to want to make your life miserable or take advantage of you and the company for which you work. Without turning the conversation to a negative, hypothetically discuss what you would do if a customer were lying.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I believe that people are innately good and most customers would not lie to gain something for free. With that said, if I did catch a customer lying to me, I would ask questions in a way that let on I was aware of their strategy, without telling them outright that I was aware of the lie."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"It is important to me that I have a good working relationship with my customers. If they were lying to me, I would bring it up in a tactful way. I would let them know that a good working relationship is important and valuable."

11.

How would you sell a product that you did not believe in?

The interviewer would like to know if you are capable of selling a product that you do not stand behind. It's crucial when answering this question that you express your interest in what this company has to offer. Let them know that you applied to this role because you DO believe in what they have to offer. Express that you would not be sending job applications to positions where you did not stand behind the product or service offering.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I am very choosy regarding the companies and roles to which I apply. For that reason, I would have to say, that I would not sell a product that I do not believe in."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Integrity is everything to me. I could not sell a product or service to a trusting customer unless I knew it would benefit their life in some way."

12.

What tools do you need to deliver excellent customer service?

The interviewer would like to ensure that you are set up for success, should you be the successful candidate. There are many tools that you could use excel in your job but remember - the most significant tool you possess is an excellent attitude and a great team backing you. Discuss with the interviewer what you think you will need to deliver exceptional service to their clients.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"The main thing that I will require, to deliver exceptional customer service, is great training. The better I know the products and systems within the organization, the more wholly I will be able to help my customers."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"To deliver excellent customer service all I truly need is a great attitude! Aside from that, I appreciate having a company that empowers me to make decisions that benefit the company and serve the client at the same time."

13.

How would you handle a rude customer?

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

Rachelle's Answer #1

"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."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"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."

14.

How do you feel about promoting a product, or upselling, during a customer service based interaction?

Customer service does not always mean sales. The interviewer wants to know that you would be comfortable taking a customer inquiry and turning it into a sales opportunity. If you have a specific example of a time when you made this happen, this is an excellent addition to your reply. Be sure to mention any training that you have in sales, upselling, or a similar skill.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have a few years of experience selling in a telemarketing environment where upselling was very important. I am fully comfortable putting in some extra time to turn a customer inquiry into a new sale."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I have not received any sales training, but with a little bit of help, I think that is a task I would enjoy. I am great with building customer relationships."

Anonymous Answer

"I don’t look at it like I’m up-selling. I try to get to know a customer's needs by having solid conversations. Then it feels like I’m offering solutions instead of upselling."

Rachelle's Answer

A fantastic answer that any interviewer would love to hear :)

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15.

Tell me about the last customer service skill you learned.

It is essential to a hiring company that you are someone who is willing to learn new skills. Being eager to add to your professional repertoire is an excellent way to stand out from the competition. Some new skills related to customer service can range from linguistic to communication, to software capabilities. If there is a skill that you want to learn, and have not yet taken advantage of, you can mention your interest.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"The last customer service skill that I learned included a course on dispute resolution management. I feel this course helped me a great deal when it comes to my confidence level, and working with disgruntled customers. I would like to take the advanced level of this course, as a follow-up."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"The last customer service skill that I learned was how to use the Oracle CRM for timely client follow up. Our company just moved to this software, and I am amazed at the difference it makes in our response time and customer personalization."

Anonymous Answer

"The last customer service skill that I have worked on was giving customers some assistance on where to find the item that they are looking for in the store. This customer service skill enables me to better improve my communication skills by interacting, listening, and dealing with customer's needs in a professional manner."

Rachelle's Answer

The interviewer will be happy to hear that you are continually developing your customer service skills. Did you learn how to locate items on a computer system? Or did you recently memorize the store's planogram? The first part of your response may need further explanation. I have added a revised answer, below.

"The last customer service skill I learned was helping customers to find specific items in-store using our internal product catalog. This skill has enabled me to interact better, listen, and help my customers professionally and efficiently."

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Anonymous Answer

"I took several classes on building relationships. I learned a lot about how important it is to get to know people to uncover needs. I believe that will help me in this role."

Rachelle's Answer

Relationship building is a very helpful skill for nearly any position. Very good answer!

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25 Customer Service Interview Questions
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Interview Questions

  1. What is the difference between customer service, and customer support?
  2. Have you ever received a negative review from a customer?
  3. When have you received exceptional customer service? What made the experience stand out?
  4. Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond for customer service.
  5. Have you ever worked with a CRM, or client management software?
  6. What skills do you believe you possess that help you deliver excellent customer service?
  7. How do you deal with customer rejection?
  8. Give me an example of how you delivered excellent customer service at your last position.
  9. If you could not make a customer happy, what would you do?
  10. How would you react if a customer was lying to you, to gain a refund or free product?
  11. How would you sell a product that you did not believe in?
  12. What tools do you need to deliver excellent customer service?
  13. How would you handle a rude customer?
  14. How do you feel about promoting a product, or upselling, during a customer service based interaction?
  15. Tell me about the last customer service skill you learned.
  16. How would you help a customer who you found difficult to understand, due to a language barrier?
  17. What would cause you to lose your temper with a customer?
  18. Do you like being around people?
  19. When was the last time you turned an angry customer around?
  20. How do you feel about saying 'no' to a customer with unreasonable requests?
  21. Have you ever broken company rules to make a customer happy?
  22. Have you received any formal customer service training?
  23. Tell me about your customer service experience.
  24. What customer engagement strategy is the most rewarding for you?
  25. How do you define good customer service?
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