Whether it’s your first time applying for a customer service job and answering interview questions for customer service or not, there’s one hurdle in the job interview process that you really have to prepare for – making a good impression on the interviewer.
Interviewers will go through a list of customer service interview questions to deduce vital information from a potential candidate. Through these customer service job interview questions, they're looking to see if you have the skills to provide a quick and coherent response. The interviewer will also ask a slew of interview questions for customer service jobs to determine if you can draw from your own experience to solve various real-world situations.
Additionally, they'll ask these questions to reduce the time and effort of interviewing the incorrect candidate.
I asked Bryan and Jeszie from our Talent Acquisition team to share some customer service questions they ask, and tips on how to answer them. And this is what they shared:
Question 1: To you, what does "good" customer service entail?
How to answer question 1: To me, excellent customer service is about going above and beyond customers’ expectations. It is about doing my best to ensure that every single customer gets to have a memorable and enjoyable experience with the company. That way, they’ll most likely share their wonderful experience with their friends and family, and also leave glowing reviews about the company and the product online.
Rationale: This is a commonly asked customer support interview question. So it's critical to demonstrate that you understand that your job entails guaranteeing that consumers are satisfied with the business as a whole, and not just with you as an individual catering to their need for assistance. Having happy customers means more business for the company; more business for the company means you get to keep your job longer.
Question 2: Can you tell me about a time when you delivered excellent customer service? (This is for those with little to no previous experience in a customer service role.)
How to answer question 2: Although I haven't worked in a traditional customer service role in the past, I believe excellent customer service is about really listening to what the customer’s problem is and going the extra mile for them. For example, while I was waiting for my flight last month, I told the airline staff about my nut allergy as I had noticed that most of the food on their menu had nuts in them. After that, the airline attendant delivered food to my seat that didn't have any nuts in it. I felt so appreciated, and I aim to replicate that same dedication and thoughtfulness in my role as a customer service agent.
Rationale: Here’s another one of the customer service interview questions that’s sure to come up. Always be honest about your level of work experience and share your understanding of what good customer service is. Then cite an instance wherein you witnessed or experienced for yourself excellent customer service. You can end your answer by saying that you will aim to replicate the same behavior in your role as a customer service representative.
Question 3: What role does empathy play in customer service?
How to answer question 3: It is important for customer service agents to have empathy, most especially when dealing with upset customers. I need to take my time to really listen, feel how the customer feels, and see things from their point of view. Instead of saying “I understand what you’re going through.”, it would be better if I said “If that happened to me, I would be disappointed too.” By being empathetic, it will be easier for me to connect with the customer, resolve the issue, and help them see that the company truly cares about them.
Rationale: Some people interchangeably use empathy and sympathy, thinking both words mean the same. Wrong! To sympathize with someone means that you understand what they’re feeling. Whereas to empathize with somebody is to really feel what they’re feeling. Sympathizing is more cognitive, while empathizing is more about really experiencing what the other person is feeling. When you show your ability to be empathetic, it makes it easier for the interviewer to see your potential as a customer service agent.
Question 4: Give me an example of a time you handled an irate customer.
How to answer question 4: The best strategy in turning unhappy customers into happy ones is by actively listening to what they’re saying. When I encounter irate customers, what I do first is I just let them vent, politely chiming in every once and a while to remind them that I’m still there and just listening. If a customer is uttering profanity, I will respectfully remind them about the company’s policy regarding the use of inappropriate language. When they’re done ranting, I will then dissect their problem and figure out which solution will be most effective. This way, I don’t run the risk of having an even angrier customer reaching out again due to a recurring problem.
Rationale: When addressing this customer support interview question, emphasize your exceptional ability to remain calm in the face of adversity. As a customer service agent, you must remind yourself that more often than not, customers are mad at the product, not you. So don’t ever take it personally. You must also learn to not absorb the customer’s negativity and anger. Stay calm and maintain a friendly tone at all times. Then go over the procedure on how to handle the customer’s issue/problem. Make it clear to the customer that you won't be content until they are satisfied.
Question 5: Have you ever helped a customer who was wrong?
How to answer question 5: I once helped a customer who wasn’t very tech savvy while I was working for a tech account. The customer was experiencing poor connection and assumed immediately that the internet wasn’t working. However, upon carefully assessing the situation, it turned out that the customer had just forgotten to turn the modem on. I then walked them through the procedure on how to make sure that their internet is always working properly.
Rationale: It can be tricky to answer specific job interview questions. Customer service frequently deals with problems that require careful thought before reaching positive solutions. Sometimes customers are unaware of how some things work. This is mostly true especially in telecommunications and tech accounts. You need to tactfully address miscommunications and educate customers so as to keep them from ever experiencing the same problem again.
Question 6: Give me an example of a time you've worked successfully as part of a team.
How to answer question 6: The reality is, sometimes customers come to you with issues that are beyond your scope of support. It doesn’t hurt to try. But when I know that I’ve already exhausted my resources and still don't have the answer or still haven't solved the customer’s problem, I am not afraid to seek the help of my manager and co-workers, or escalate the call to the next tier. This way, I am not wasting any more of the customer’s time.
Rationale: Place an emphasis on your ability to think on your feet and your ability to identify when you've hit your potential. Show the hiring officer that you're humble enough to know when to escalate an issue to a manager or delegate it to a teammate who is better equipped to handle the situation. Remember: you are not alone. You have other agents, managers, and supervisors willing to extend a helping hand when you need one.
Question 7: What are you hoping to do in five years?
How to answer question 7: In the next five years, I would like to become a team leader and eventually advance my career as a manager in the company. I believe that working in customer service will be a rewarding and good learning experience for me. I welcome the responsibilities that come along with the role, and I find it to be a great fit for me and my career ambitions.
Rationale: Don’t be afraid to express your hope of getting a promotion in the company when answering this customer support interview question. While you’re at it, also share that you’re willing to put in all the hard work to help the company continuously succeed. Your ability to dream big and aim high will show the interviewer your dedication to help your team, the company, and its customers. Hiring managers also want agents who aren’t only highly skilled and talented, but are also willing to stay in the company in the long term.
The questions featured in this blog are a good start to aid you in your preparation for other customer support interview questions. Hopefully, the sample answers provided and the explanation behind them will help you convince the hiring manager to employ you. As cliché as this may sound, just be honest when answering these customer service interview questions. Recruitment officers have a way of knowing if you’re lying and being inauthentic. After all, it is their job to make sure that they hire the right person for the job, so you can’t expect them to skimp out on quality.
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