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Customer Service Interview Questions

25 Questions and Answers by

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

Customer Service was updated on August 17th, 2018. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 25

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

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Customer Service Interview Questions & Answers

  1. 1.

    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!

      Rachelle's Answer

      "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!"

      Rachelle's Answer for an Admin Interview

      "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."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Manager Interview

      "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."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Marketing Interview

      "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."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Retail Interview

      "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."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Sales Interview

      "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."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Service Station Attendants Interview

      "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 recently had a customer who wanted to go through our car wash with an exposed propane tank on the back of his truck. I refused to sell him a wash ticket, and he was furious. No matter what I did to reason with him, he did not seem to understand. Once I directed him to a hand was station down the street, he dropped the subject and left. I realize that I cannot make everyone happy, and I am okay with that, especially when it comes to the safety of others."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Customer Service Manager Interview

      "Naturally, as a customer service 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 make a demand for 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. Later, I trained my team on how to handle requests like this, which I feel empowered them further."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Front Desk Interview

      "In the service profession, 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. If I came across an unreasonable situation, I would take the time to educate the customer on what I could do and ensure they were able to gain something from the interaction rather than just being turned away."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Food Service Manager Interview

      "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 was only at our restaurant 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 the chicken breast, but did offer her some chickpeas instead!"

      1 Community Answer

      Anonymous 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."

      Marcie's 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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