It's time to get real with the interviewer! If you say that a customer or client has never annoyed you, you will appear as insincere. Give an honest example of a time when your nerves were a bit rattled or you just wanted to step away from a situation. There is no need to speak poorly of anyone but do focus on what you did to overcome your feelings of frustration. Highlight how you remained professional.
"I cannot control the behavior of others, so I will, at times, come across a client who does not understand the work process and under-values what I do. Those types of situations annoy me because I feel slightly unappreciated. I then take the time to remind myself that I am a well educated, seasoned professional who delivers outstanding work."
"I recently had someone accidentally call our office four times in a row looking for a different business. The first time they called, it was fine. The second time, I gave them the correct number they needed. By the third time, I honestly thought it was my husband prank calling me or something. By the fourth call, I asked the person if they were okay because they sounded disoriented. It turns out it was a senior man who was confused. I ended up making a three-way call on his behalf, to direct him where he needed to go. It always feels better to help someone versus getting upset with them."
"I recently had a vendor pretend that they did not receive my order rather than just admit they dropped the ball. I have read receipts on all of my emails, so I know that he was not truthful. Rather than call him out on it and start an argument, I simply let him know that I had every faith in him that he would deliver my expectations. This approach made him want to work hard to prove me right, rather than wrong. It worked beautifully."
"I have had clients in the past who change their direction when a project is nearing completion. This type of event can be more than annoying, especially when the changes are things we recommend early on, only to be rejected. I have learned just to smile and nod, and deliver exactly what the client wants. I am hired to deliver expectations and never want to fall short of that."
"Everyone gets annoyed from time to time. I once had a customer that did not understand how to find out how many miles her car had been driven. I tried walking her through it several times on the phone. At one point I thought it was a practical joke, but it wasn't. I ended up suggesting that she stop by the shop so that I could show her in person. That worked out better. She realized later how silly it was and we had a bit of a chuckle together. It wasn't worth getting upset over, and she appreciated my patience for the situation."
"I had a client who insisted on a discount for absolutely everything. Even the most minute of services. Rather than get frustrated with him, I started to beat him to the punch. I would say "Hey, we have a great offer just for you" and he would perk up. The discounts were small, but he was from a culture where bartering was par for the course with anything. I needed to respect his culture, so this was a great workaround."
"I face many challenging situations with parents on a daily basis. It can be difficult to work with a parent who believes their child is perfect, for instance. When a situation like this occurs I allow the parent to lead the conversation; however, I will ask them 'In what ways would you like to see your child's performance improve?' It's similar to the adage, 'Lead a horse to water.' I want to ensure that we are all on the same page so by having the parent feel they are leading the conversation, it's often helpful and eliminates feelings of frustration or annoyance."