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Customer Service Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your next job interview, here are 25 interview questions focused on your customer service skills.

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Question 1 of 25

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

How to Answer

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.

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25 Customer Service Interview Questions & Answers

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Admin

      "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."

      Manager

      "Everyone likes options, and after receiving consistent feedback from my customers that they felt limited when they had to choose our service packages, I decided to take the concern up with our corporate head office. Before doing so, I polled my clients to find out exactly what they wanted to see from our service menu. I made a compelling presentation to my senior leadership, and our company ended up agreeing to add these service options. We will be rolling out the first round of changes next month. It is important to listen to your customers and deliver what they ask."

      Marketing

      "Many of our customers do not understand social media fully, which is why they come to us. I recently launched a private YouTube channel with video tutorials and how-tos. I sent the login information to all of our clients so that they could access the information on-demand. This effort saves them a phone call and email and also ensures that the information they need is at their fingertips, no matter the time of day or night. The response has been incredibly positive."

      Retail

      "Customer inquiries come through my desk at a rapid rate whether it be through email, voicemail, or social media. I make it my aim to never leave for the day until every inquiry has a response. This commitment may mean staying late an extra hour sometimes, but my valued customers are worth the added effort."

      Sales

      "When I worked in drillbit sales, I had a client with a drilling rig about one hour out of town from us. They were drilling incredibly challenging ground when they pushed the bit too far and destroyed the bit. My cell phone rang at 3 AM, and it was the driller, in a panic. I hopped out of bed and drove them the extra bit that they needed to keep operating smoothly. That particular account ended up being my biggest account to date, because of my willingness to go over and above."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "A student required assistant in submitting her thesis onto Turnitin as it would not upload into the system. As I was very busy, I asked her to see me after 4.30 pm, when I finish work, to help her upload the thesis. I am fully committed to providing first-class customer service to all internal and external stakeholders regardless of when the assistant is required."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a wonderful example of going above and beyond to help someone out. Be sure to include the result in your answer as well :) I have provided an example below, using the STAR framework (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

      "(Situation) When I was working at ___, a student required assistance in submitting her thesis onto Turnitin, as it would not upload into the system. (Task) Her thesis was due (give a timeframe), so I knew there was some urgency. (Action) As I was very busy, I asked her to come and see me after 4:30 pm, when I finished work. This way, I could help her after hours to upload the thesis. (Result) As a result, we were able to troubleshoot her issue with Turnitin, and she was able to submit her thesis on time. I am fully committed to providing first-class customer service to all internal and external stakeholders regardless of when the assistance is required."

  • 2. How do you define good customer service?

      How to Answer

      Excellent customer service goes beyond doing precisely as your expected, and it's more than having a smile on your face when the customer is looking. Excellent customer service means that you actively seek out the opportunity to deliver more than the standard. It means thoroughly listening to your customers when they tell you what they need. Also, it equals offering support when your customer may be a little bit in over their head. Be sure to echo the jargon used on the company website and social media accounts when it comes to keywords related to their customer service mantra. Keep your answer brief but ensure that it packs a punch.

      1st Answer Example

      "I define good customer service as actively seeking out opportunities to give the customer a better experience than they expect, or perhaps had the last time."

      Admin

      "If I can change my customer's day, for the better, then I have done my job in delivering exceptional customer service."

      Manager

      "Kate Zabriskie, the author of Business Training Works, once said, "The customers' perception is your reality." To me, this means that if my clients think that my team does not care about them, they likely do not. Good customer service starts with proper training and setting high standards for my team from the get-go."

      Marketing

      "Repeat business and referrals are what I am after when it comes to the satisfaction of my clients. When it is time to close out an account, I openly ask them what I could do better next time. This added step helps me to improve my service. Good customer service starts with the ability to take and implement feedback."

      Retail

      "Ensuring that my customers are satisfied with their experience every time. That is what good customer service means to me. This level of service may mean bending the rules a touch to deliver what they need. For instance, I will extend the return policy by a reasonable amount if it means a happy customer who will give a solid review."

      Sales

      "I define good customer service by not allowing any 'traffic jams' in the sales cycle. The moment a client feels there is a hiccup, the moment the sales process gets railroaded. Excellent customer service includes seeing potential pain points before they even happen."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Excellent customer service involves meeting and surpassing expectations. It's patient, remaining calm, listening to the customer's concerns, and reassuring them that you're there to support them and resolve their issue."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Very well-rounded answer with a lot of great descriptive words. Well done!

  • 3. What customer engagement strategy is the most rewarding for you?

      How to Answer

      Customer engagement means encouraging conversation, feedback, and shared experiences from your client base. Share with the interviewer the types of customer engagement you have experienced in, and which methods you prefer. Maybe you worked for a company who did customer engagement right. You can use that experience as an example.

      1st Answer Example

      "I started my career at a call center that made customer service their complete obsession. Everything was for the customer, and then the bottom line came second. They did not track call times, nor have major consequences for going off script. All they wanted was a happy customer in the end. This strategy worked well for me, and I appreciated their tenacity when it came to customer engagement."

      Admin

      "I am very hands-on when it comes to the customers in my current company. Often, I am the first voice that they hear when they make an inquiry, so it had better be a good one. Making a personal connection right off the bat is very rewarding. I will ask questions about them and get to know little tidbits that I can add to their file and bring up at a later date."

      Manager

      "Training my team to do whatever it takes to right any wrongs, and having that mantra public on our website, has done wonders for our customer engagement. Approaching our errors with humility and transparency is another very effective strategy for our business."

      Marketing

      "I learned early on, in marketing school, that humanizing your brand was essential for customer engagement. Everyone wants to feel a connection, have fun with our brand, and feel that they know you and what to expect. I prefer a customer engagement strategy that is as hands-on and intimate as possible."

      Retail

      "I find that reading the feedback left by customers on social media, is the best way to pivot our service when needed. Whenever possible, I will contact them via direct message to let them know that we took their suggestion to heart and are making changes."

      Sales

      "The most effective customer engagement strategy that I have been a part of is the creating of useful content that our customers can download, in the form of guidebooks and PDF's. This added value is what makes customers come back, again and again."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I started in a call center environment, and the customer always came first. As long as the customer was happy, the employer was happy. The customer always came first"

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good effort, but your response doesn't address the question. A customer engagement strategy is the company's plan for improving customer satisfaction by increasing the opportunities for positive interactions with them. This can mean soliciting feedback, communicating new features or product enhancements, cross-selling, etc. This question wants to know which means of engaging with customers you enjoy the most.

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

      How to Answer

      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

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Admin

      "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."

      Manager

      "I possess a lot of empathy for my clients and their particular situations. I deal primarily with CEO's and understand the immense pressure they are under when it comes to decision making and delivering expectations to their very own customers. This ability to see their side helps me to deliver extraordinary service."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have a great amount of patience and empathy this help me serve customers need efficiently and deliver an exceptional customer service. In my previous role as a customer service specialist, I had a customer who calls in, and he was very upset due to the extra charges in his billing statement. First I apologize to the customer for the inconvenience and reassure him that I will find out the cause for the extra charge and ways to resolve the issue. After looking at the billing statement I found that the extra charge is for a late fee because we didn't receive his payment for last month. Also, it shows that this is the first time that he got a late fee, as a valued customer I offer a one-time courtesy to waive the charge. In the end, the customer is very happy and thankful for assisting him to resolve the issue."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Excellent response; this example truly highlights your interpersonal skills and ability to provide exceptional customer service.

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  • 5. Tell me about your customer service experience.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like a brief overview of your customer service experience. Avoid beginning at the VERY the start of your entire career. Your resume should touch on just the last ten years of your career, at most. Begin your reply with the oldest listed customer service job on your resume. Move up in time from there.

      1st Answer Example

      "I started my career in customer service as a cashier at the local grocery store. Eventually, I gained the promotion to assistant manager. After four years, that particular store closed down, and I found a new role with Company ABC. I have been there, as the deli manager, ever since. My role includes face to face customer service, customer complaint follow-ups, as well as attendance at some events such as food drives and other charitable efforts."

      Admin

      "I have been an administrative assistant for the past six years, ever since completing my business administration certificate. My first role was with Company ABC. They hired me as their receptionist after completing my 120 practicum hours with them. I was happy they were so impressed with my customer service skills right off the bat. When I relocated, I spent some time as a temp receptionist, working in a variety of corporate offices in downtown Denver. For the past three years, I have been with my current company, as an executive assistant. My day-to-day including working with vendors and customers, ensuring smooth events execution, travel plans, and overall scheduling for the executive whom I support."

      Manager

      "Customer service has been the core of my career all along. Starting with my earlier positions, you will see on my resume that I worked as a commissioned sales associate for Company ABC for two years. The customers were very loyal, and I loved helping them troubleshoot their tech-based needs. Once that company merged with a competitor, I stayed on and gained promotion to assistant manager. I stayed there for another five years. Currently, I manage a team of ten sales associates and train them in delivering excellent customer service. As the manager, I take care of any customer service disputes and escalated needs."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I've been in the customer service industry for more than 18 years mostly as a customer service specialist where I handle customer inquiries, assisting with concerns and resolving issues either by phone, email, or chat. My recent experience as a catering business owner includes face-to-face customer service, as well as attendance at some events such as food drives and other charitable efforts. I'm excited to bring my skills and knowledge in customer service to your company."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Excellent response! This clearly highlights your customer service experience across multiple settings.

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Admin

      "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."

      Manager

      "I had a new car shopping experience recently, and as you may already know, there is a considerable variety of approaches when it comes to car sales professionals. I was getting frustrated and finally landed at dealership ABC. I think the salesperson could see my frustration because she came outside with a latte for me, and asked if I wanted to chat or be left alone for a few minutes. She let me be to scan the lot, and when I was ready, she sat me down and got to know me and my needs. I bought my new SUV that day and will never go anywhere else. I have a handful of her business cards in my wallet and refer her anytime I have the chance."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "When I booked an international trip to the Dominican Republic, I contacted the hotel directly for some additional information and was utterly amazed at the service I received to finalize my transportation from the airport to the resort."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Kevin Downey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Kevin Downey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great example! Expand on this response by sharing how this customer service was a memorable, positive experience. Illustrate what you did to express your thankfulness for the stand-out service.

      "I booked the airfare and my lodging for an international trip to the Dominican Republic. I contacted the hotel directly for some additional information that wasn’t available online. When they picked up the phone, they already knew who I was and confirmed my reservation and wanted to answer any questions I had. I asked them a few questions, and they answered them readily, and said they would put any and all brochures they had on the subject matter I was inquiring about. They then asked me if I had arranged for transportation from the airport to the hotel. I told them I had not. They then arranged for a shuttle to pick me up from the airport to deliver me to the resort. I was utterly amazed at the service I received. I expressed my gratitude over the phone, and tipped them nicely in person."

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  • 7. How would you handle a rude customer?

      How to Answer

      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

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Admin

      "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

      "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!"

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I would handle a rude customer as I would any other. If they start cussing or get to the point where the call is unproductive, they should be warned politely and professionally. If they continue, I would disconnect the call. If you answer the call with a smile, the caller will usually respond in kind."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a strong answer. You can improve it by sharing the skills or techniques you would use to de-escalate the situation.

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  • 8. Have you received any formal customer service training?

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Admin

      "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

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have not received any formal customer service training. All my experience has been on-the-job training. But I will say my customer service philosophy is to treat and respects others, and I would like to be treated and respected."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Marcie Wilmot

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Marcie Wilmot Reviewed the Above Answer

      Although it's important to respond honestly, make sure to downplay the negatives and emphasize the positives. See below for another way you can respond here.

      "All of my customer service experience to date has been acquired on the job. Although I haven't yet received any formal customer service training, my real-life experience as the Department Coordinator for the School of Education has helped me to develop exceptional customer service skills. My philosophy is to treat and respect others as I would like to be treated and respected myself. I'm open to one day taking an online or in-person course on customer service as I am continually seeking to improve my skills in this area."

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  • 9. Have you ever broken company rules to make a customer happy?

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Admin

      "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

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have not broken company rules to make a customer happy. But I have gone to my supervisor to request an exception. A student once said they were not happy with a workshop they purchased and wanted a refund. When signing up for the workshop, it did state no refunds. But the student was so unhappy with the workshop I offered to contact the Dean to see if there was a possibility of a refund. I indicated to the student this is not a guarantee, but I could advocate how disappointed you were with the workshop. The Dean did issue a one-time refund to the student."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Marcie Wilmot

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Marcie Wilmot Reviewed the Above Answer

      Excellent response! Not only does your example prove that you'll go above and beyond to make a customer happy, but it also shows that you won't flout company rules. You struck the perfect balance here with your answer. Great job!

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  • 10. How do you feel about saying 'no' to a customer with unreasonable requests?

      How to Answer

      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 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!

      1st Answer Example

      "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. 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!"

      Admin

      "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

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Unfortunately, there are times when you must say no in situations. An upset student wanted to speak with the Dean, but the Dean was out of the office for the day. I suggested to the student I could schedule a meeting in the next couple of days as their schedule allowed. But ultimately, the student just rushed out upset, and I could not even follow up since they did not provide their name. There are times you can only offer an alternative, but sometimes students do not accept this."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Marcie Wilmot

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Marcie Wilmot Reviewed the Above Answer

      Another great example. Providing stories in your answers helps to make them memorable to the interviewer. Good job! Your example shows that you always try your best to meet the requests of customers but that you recognize that sometimes a request might not be possible to fulfill. So you offer the best alternative possible. Nice!

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

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Admin

      "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."

      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. I created a friendly and welcoming environment which my customers greatly appreciated."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "In my last position, I had several challenging customers who called 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 to do."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Kevin Downey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Kevin Downey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Wonderful answer! Consider sharing what your prior role was and why calling daily was not ideal.

      "In my last position, I had several challenging customers who called in nearly every day. At first, this challenged the patience of our staff. We did a fine job at remaining level-headed, helpful, and positive. However, I shifted my perspective, and realized the only thing that was tripping us up was our frustration. These customers had no idea what our daily pressures were, and their phone calls at that busy hour were no more of an interruption than a micro break. So, I shifted my perspective and tried to make those predictable phone calls more fun for me and the customer. I knew all of them by name, and would start each phone call I received with warm greetings and fun banter. After we had a friendly laugh, I jump in and write a list of all the products they were inquiring to see if we had on the shelf that day to set aside. So I developed systems to address these customer’s needs, was warm and friendly, and made it clear I looked forward to talking to them again. A fun micro-break. They felt appreciated and well served. A win-win."

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  • 12. When was the last time you turned an angry customer around?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to hear a story regarding how you were able to take an uncomfortable, or hostile customer situation, and turn things around into a positive experience. Avoid speaking negatively about any customers, or supervisors. Use a recent example from your current role and keep it brief. You can use the Situation, Action, Result method to keep your story on track.

      1st Answer Example

      "I recently worked with a customer who was incredibly upset when they believed that we overcharged their account. I took the extra time required to walk the customer through every line item until they fully understood each item. The call was about one hour total, but it was worth the time to smooth over an important customer-related situation."

      Admin

      "I had a customer call in last week who was very upset that the technician did not show up to their appointment. We give our customers a 3-hour window for technician visits, and it had been 30 minutes past the given time frame. I apologized sincerely, tracked down the technician, and made new arrangements for the client. She was thankful for my willingness to take action and recognized the error. Upon permission from my manager, I offered her one free month of service."

      Manager

      "I have trained my team in customer resolution, but from time to time we will have a client who needs to be escalated up to management. This situation occurred last week where I had to step in because the client was verbally abusive to my team member. I need to make sure that I offer great service but protect my team at the same time. This client needed a more aggressive approach, so I asked them if they were interested in a resolution. They said yes, and so, I outlined everything I could offer them. Laying it out on the table, with a no bull approach, really helped in this situation."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "This happens almost daily in my current job. I currently handle pandemic unemployment claims for the Maryland State Department of Labor, and I turn the call around by being kind and empathetic to each person's situation. I strive to do everything within my power to assist them in any way that I can."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      Strong response! Think about improving your answer by sharing what empathy and kindness look like in the context of this customer-facing role. Talk about specific skills or techniques you rely on to diffuse the situation.

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Admin

      "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."

      Manager

      "If I could not make a customer happy, I would ask them what it is they needed to be happy. Sometimes asking a question that bluntly will force a reply that can then turn into a solution. A company will not make every single person happy, but it's always good to know that we did everything we could to attempt a resolution."

      User-Submitted 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."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above 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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  • 14. Do you like being around people?

      How to Answer

      Of course, you do not want to answer that you don't like people. That type of answer would be a nightmare for any interviewer to hear! Perhaps you are more of an introvert who does not feel energized after hanging out with large amounts of people. That is okay, and you do not need to pretend to be someone you are not. Share the types of people or situations that you enjoy. It's essential to maintain a positive angle when addressing this question.

      1st Answer Example

      "I like being around people who are positive and energetic. I find these types of individuals to be motivating and refreshing to be around."

      Admin

      "I find the right kind of people to be very energizing. I enjoy being around people who work hard and make very few excuses. Those who are accountable for the work and behavior are those that I enjoy being around."

      Manager

      "I would consider myself an extrovert, and I do love working closely with a team, and a variety of personalities. The more I can interact with my team in a day, the better. You will rarely find me hiding in my office. I like to be in the middle of the action, encouraging and leading my team."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Yes, I like to be around people. Inclusion and diversity is one thing I really enjoy about working in higher education. Everyone has a different background and experience to speak about. I love hearing new ideas and thoughts."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Marcie Wilmot

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Marcie Wilmot Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great! This does sound like a really nice aspect of working in higher education. You do a good job of explaining why you like being around people (diversity of thought and backgrounds). You might also mention that you enjoy learning from these other perspectives and that this enriches your life.

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  • 15. What would cause you to lose your temper with a customer?

      How to Answer

      You will want to approach this question as a hypothetical one. Hopefully, you have never become downright angry with a client! The interviewer would like to see that you possess self-control and professionalism, even during the most challenging situations. Give the interviewer an example of what may cause you to become upset but assure them that you would never lose your temper with a client on the job. You can also discuss the ways that you maintain your composure whether that be taking a quick break, going for a walk, or having a quick laugh with a coworker.

      1st Answer Example

      "Thank goodness I have never lost my temper with a customer. I am very easy going, but I would be more likely not to be if a customer were disrespecting a team member or becoming verbally abusive in any way."

      Admin

      "I cannot imagine losing my cool at work, but if anything pushed me to the edge, it would be a client with racist or misogynistic comments. I have zero tolerance for any behavior like that and would for sure say something to them. With that said, it would not be with a lost temper - it would be with a stern tone. If I am feeling a shorter fuse, in the workplace or at home, I will take a few deep breaths and remind myself that the situation is not as serious as it may feel in the moment."

      Manager

      "If I feel that my patience level with a client is reaching a breaking point, I will let them know that I need to run into a meeting and will call them back in 30 minutes. This time, and break, would give me the space that I needed to compose myself and come up with a better approach. I will always remain professional in the workplace."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Nothing; the customer is always right, even when they aren't. They will react to how you react, so staying calm and helpful is the best way to handle this type of situation."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good answer! Demonstrating that you can consistently remain calm and explaining why that's important is a wonderful way to answer.

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Admin

      "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."

      Manager

      "I have been through it all with my customers over the years and have learned that it's important to let things go unless they are going to hurt your company, reputation, or the client. If a customer will lie to me to get a discount, or if they found a loophole, I would work around that specific situation with them but would also try not to give the situation more energy than it was worth."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I would be reading body language. I would ask leading questions to answer my suspicions. I would never accuse a customer of lying and if I wasn't able to resolve the situation I would pull my manager aside, tell them my suspicions, and have the manager continue to address the situation."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Kevin Downey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Kevin Downey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Ok, great. This is a nuanced answer that gives more than is asked for, so great job. I've elaborated on some of your points to drive home the nuance of your answer.

      "That’s a tricky situation. I think it is important to go into these situations with an open mind, and to a certain degree, you need to trust the intentions of your loyal customer base. So this question poses the question, how do you know if your customer is lying to you to get a refund or a free product? One should always be paying attention to a person’s body language, ask leading questions, pay attention to their choice of words, and take note of anything that raises a red flag. But still, if all you have to go off of is suspicion, you should never insinuate or accuse a customer of lying or trying to take advantage. That person is still a potential customer who, at face value, is loyal to our brand. So, if I had my suspicions, and all I had to go off of was suspicion, I’d pull my manager aside, tell them my suspicions, and ask them how they’d address the situation, and if they wanted me to continue handling it. Especially in such sensitive situations, it’s always important to respect the chain of command."

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  • 17. What tools do you need to deliver excellent customer service?

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Admin

      "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."

      Manager

      "Thank you for asking! To deliver the best customer service, I appreciate having solid customer guidelines to follow. I perform best when expectations are well laid out, for myself and my team."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am positive, upbeat, and consistent. I can adapt really well to different situations but I am also focused and disciplined in getting things done right away."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great, so a positive outlook is key. What other "tools" do you utilize or are necessary to provide good service?

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

      How to Answer

      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

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Admin

      "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?"

      Manager

      "In my current role, we use NetSuite, so I have approximately three years' experience in that program. In my previous companies, we used Microsoft Dynamics which is also a great CRM. Do you use either of these? I am a quick study and am confident I could learn to navigate your system quickly."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have not worked with a CRM. I am always eager to learn new skills. I have a strong work ethic and am comfortable with computers so I know I will be able to put in the work required to learn the software required."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great. If you don't have a specific skill, the best approach is to talk about your willingness to learn and provide an example of how you learned other, similar tools.

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  • 19. What is the difference between customer service and customer support?

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Admin

      "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."

      Manager

      "Customer service and customer support are often confused. I have two teams. My service team will gather the data, and my support team will deploy the actual solution."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Customer service is helping the customer throughout their entire experience, while customer support is more technical."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      You're correct! Working in customer service often means collaborating with a customer to resolve an issue, while customer support often focuses on fixing a technical problem.

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  • 20. Have you ever received a negative review from a customer?

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Admin

      "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."

      Manager

      "I have received negative feedback from customers in the past, and always when the customer has not been delighted with the outcome of their dispute. The company that I have worked for, for the past ten years, has a very stringent return policy. Unfortunately, this means that I do disappoint more people than I would like. I am looking to join an organization that will allow for more flexible offerings when it comes to client dispute resolution."

      User-Submitted 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."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above 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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  • 21. How would you help a customer who you found difficult to understand due to a language barrier?

      How to Answer

      Language barriers can be a challenge, primarily if you work in the customer service industry where delivery of expectations is everything.

      Here are a few ways that you can overcome a language barrier:

      - Use simple-to-understand language
      - Use visuals when communicating
      - Repeat the essential parts of the conversation
      - Remain patient and respectful

      Show the interviewer that you can remain professional, even when a situation may not be as simple or easy to get through, as you would like.

      1st Answer Example

      "If I had a customer who was challenging to understand I would make sure to repeat the most important parts of the conversation; whether that be one sentence or a single word. It's important to me that my customers clearly understand what I am offering, and that I clearly understand how I can meet their needs."

      Admin

      "I have taken many phone calls in my administration career and have spoken to many people whose native language is not my own. I like to slow the conversation down and then I will follow up with an email to ensure clarity and that we are on the same page. Sometimes reading an email is easier than a verbal conversation when a language barrier is present."

      Manager

      "When I have customers who do not speak the same language as I do or are culturally very different from me, I ask them questions and then carefully dig deep until I know that we are on the same page."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "While working at the bank we have a very diverse customer base. I have worked with customers who do not speak any English and customers who can not hear and talk. I will simplify anything that needs to be communicated. In the case of the customer who can not hear or speak, we are able to communicate with a piece of paper. She starts by telling me what she wants. I will then make sure I have the correct understanding and then make a list so she knows what I have completed and done for her. For the customers who do not speak English, I will try to use gestures or see if I know a Spanish word to translate."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good use of an example. For clarity, you may want to start by making a statement about how you solve this problem and then launch into examples. Combining explanations and examples will help make your answer complete and clear.

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  • 22. Tell me about the last customer service skill you learned.

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Admin

      "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."

      Manager

      "I recently took a 'Communication for Managers' workshop and am thrilled with the outcome, and everything that I learned. Not only did I pick up some new customer resolution skills but I have added to my sales capabilities as well."

      User-Submitted 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."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above 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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  • 23. How do you feel about promoting a product, or upselling, during a customer service based interaction?

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Admin

      "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."

      Manager

      "I believe that each customer service interaction should be considered an opportunity to upsell or turn an existing customer into a larger one. I am very comfortable doing so when I can stand behind the product that I represent."

      User-Submitted 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."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

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

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      Admin

      "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."

      Manager

      "One of the reasons why I chose to apply to your organization is because I have used your products for years, and stand behind them 100%. I would not sell something that I did not believe in."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "That's a great question. When I applied for this position I did my research on the company. I wouldn't put myself in a role where I didn't believe in a product."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Cindy Ramsey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Cindy Ramsey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great! Now talk about how you researched and what you found. This is a good opportunity to develop a conversation with the interviewer.

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  • 25. How do you deal with customer rejection?

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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!"

      Admin

      "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."

      Manager

      "No matter the situation, or how the customer rejection makes me feel, I vow to remain professional. I need to be a solid example for my team and show them that a good attitude will get you everywhere. I move on quickly from rejection and train my group to do the same."

      User-Submitted 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."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above 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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