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

1 of 25 Customer Service Interview Questions and Answers Written by Rachelle Enns

Updated on 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.
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!

Professional Answer Examples
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!"

Answer example

"If a customer has a request that is completely undeliverable, I have no problem letting them down gently. One example is that a customer wanted me to book him in with the CEO for a face to face meeting for the following day. The CEO was traveling to Europe and was not in the office. The customer was angry and threatened to complain to my boss. I offered him a meeting with the General Manager, but he refused. I was kind and tried to accommodate with alternatives, but you win some, you lose some."

Answer example

"Naturally, as a senior manager, I want to say yes as often as I can. The odd time, I do have to say no to a client. I recently had a customer demand our product in a color that we do not produce. The request, to add color to the production line, would have cost our company $56,000 on a $1,000 product. As you can see, it made zero sense. I offered the customer the choice of our eight existing colors and let her know that I would bring the request up at our next board meeting to see if we could consider the addition down the line."

Answer example

"Many of my marketing clients think that we perform miracles overnight, especially when it comes to social media followings and engagement. I once had a customer tell me they needed an absolute guarantee that they would gain 1,000 new followers on Instagram in the first 30 days. Of course, I could not promise anything like that. What I did do, in exchange, was offered them a few case studies of previous clients and the growth that they experienced."

Answer example

"In retail, there will be customers who want you to deliver the impossible. I am down for a challenge; however, there are some things that I cannot do. I had a client demand that we extend our size range for the upcoming season. I explained to her that collections and production did not work that way, and were often multiple seasons in the works. She thought I could call the corporate head office and get it done."

Answer example

"Clients who demand the impossible are not the ones that I try to attract or keep if I can be frank. I love when clients have special requests and innovative ideas that I can bring to the attention of my head office; however, demanding something unreasonable is a different story. I had a client once demand that I fly to their city for a face to face meeting the next day if I wanted to keep the account. They were a challenging account with minimal spend. My director said no, I could not. So, I let the client know that I was happy to Skype or book them in when I was in their city next. They refused and fired me. To be honest, they were not an ideal client, and I quickly recovered."

Written by:

Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career. Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise. Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 03/31/2018
Last modified on: 08/17/2018
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