Understanding customer service interview questions is crucial for ensuring you acquire the top strengths and opportunities you desire. With most job applicants, the process of interviewing is difficult. This is especially true for those in customer service.
They have to often work with difficult customers, and showing the interviewer they are capable of that without a live example is quite challenging. However, there are ways you can prepare for interviews and ultimately perform better than your competitors.
It is absolutely crucial to perform as best as possible in your interview, as ultimately, the rest of your career could be impacted by this. In this article, we will go over the top customer service interview queries and how you can answer them.
What are Employers and Hiring Managers Looking for When Interviewing People for Customer Service?
Every employer has a unique set of requirements and goals that they wish their employees will meet. They look for candidates with certain values and skills, too. If you are able to identify which skills are needed by the employer, and acquire them over time, you are able to acquire more opportunities.
You may even get the job of your dreams as a result of acquiring these abilities.
Here are some of the top skills you should acquire if you want to boost your odds of performing well in job interviews:
Customer service skills
Clearly, if you want to be a great customer service representative, you need to acquire customer service skills. This is a broad category of skills, but all of them allow you to better communicate with customers and serve their needs in a more efficient and thorough manner.
Some skills that could boost your customer service abilities include clear communication, active listening, and empathy for those you talk to. If you highlight your specific and excellent customer service skills during the interview, you will catch the interviewer’s attention.
Resilience to stress or provocations
Customer service representatives often have to be disciplined and resilient. They encounter stress on a daily basis, whether it be through dealing with difficult situations with an upset customer, or trying to direct a team of customer service representatives to best fulfill a customer’s needs.
Regardless, the efficacy of someone’s customer service depends on their ability to stay calm and avoid crumbling under stress. If you cannot do this, you will limit your customer service development.
Knowing how to communicate is great for nearly any industry. It is especially necessary for customer service positions. As such, any interviewer would want you to prove you communicate well.
You should be engaging, know your audience, and have a solid understanding of your client’s needs. However, communication is more than just speaking. It’s also active listening, asking in depth questions, and keeping customers engaged in the conversation.
Customer service reps need to work well on teams. After all there are very few organizations that do not organize their customer service department into teams. You will need to learn from others and communicate with them to further the customer’s needs.
For instance, you may have to transfer customers over the phone to your department’s technical specialist. To do this smoothly, you will need to have teamwork skills and a solid relationship with your coworkers.
Ability to deal with angry customers
There are not many people, even the greatest customer service reps, who enjoy confrontation. However, you will almost certainly have to encounter angry customers and stressful situations in this industry.
You must go the extra mile to ensure you de-escalate these situations and still leave the customer stationed when the encounter is over. As such, your ability to handle tough customers is what could separate you from other more easily flustered job applicants.
Accountability and organization
These two skills are easier to acquire than most, and are a great starting point for your strength development journey. You can control your organization and accountability. It takes time and effort, but nearly anyone can get these skills.
Accountability simply involves owning up to your mistakes (which can at times be more difficult than it seems). To boost your organization, consider planning out your day in advance. Use lists of other visual organization tools to keep yourself organized for work.
You may work immensely hard to avoid conflict and problems, and that is fantastic. However, you will never be able to completely eliminate all conflict from your work. As such, you need to prepare to deal with problems effectively.
This is where problem-solving skills come it. They allow you to creatively and effectively address the issues you are dealing with. When you do this, you will not only save time, but also decrease your own frustration and help the business become more productive.
Time management and organization go hand and hand, and they compliment each other well to help you be as productive as you can be. With time management, you will be better equipped to focus on the tasks you are most passionate about and truly need to achieve.
You will also spend less time on trivial and unimportant tasks (which you may currently regret spending your time on). Thus, you will achieve more of your goals and acquire more access to opportunities.
23 Interview Questions for Customer Service
Every company conducts interviews slightly differently. They do, after all, have different goals and values. There are a plethora of different interview questions you could be asked. This is why it is often so frightening and confusing to job applicants, since they do not know how to prepare for the process.
However, there are some interview questions that are very popular, and you should be aware of them. A few of these questions include:
1. How would you describe good customer service?
When you apply to a customer service job, the interviewer wants to ensure you are truly aware of what customer service is. They do not want candidates that give the ‘Wikipedia’ or textbook answer. Instead, you should clearly articulate why good customer service is necessary for the success and happiness of clients around the world. Incorporate emotions and make your answer meaningful to you.
2. Why did you apply to this particular job?
Almost every company has a customer service department. And, there are many different options for roles you could apply to as a customer service agent. What makes this one special? Here, the interviewer is testing your passion and commitment to this specific role and company. They want to understand what sets this job apart from all the others for you.
3. Do you have any memorable customer service experiences? What made them memorable?
Everyone has goals and mentors. If there was ever a time you encountered a skilled customer service representative, tell the interviewer about them. Try to analyze what specifically made them stand out from all of your other experiences. Often, it is easy to criticize your fellow customer service representatives, but interviewers want employees who are able to learn from the strengths of others, not just their weaknesses.
4. Was there ever a time you encountered an unskilled customer service representative? What made this experience negative?
Although learning from the strengths of other representatives is important, you should also be able to recognize weaknesses and learn from them as well. Think about times when you felt uncomfortable, upset, or frustrated with a customer service representative. Then, discuss what specifically made this approach ineffective. This will demonstrate you understand the customer’s needs and perspective. Ultimately, you will be able to use this knowledge in your own work, which is important to the interviewer.
5. Do you believe customer support and customer service are the interchangeable terms?
There is not necessarily a right answer to this question. However, there are a few differences between these terms that you should be aware of. For instance, customer service is about providing a service to the customer. However, customer support is specific to supporting the customer in regards to helping them with a particular product. Knowing that here differences will show you are educated and prepared on the topic.
6. Describe a moment where you were extremely successful at providing high quality customer service to clients.
It is helpful to recognize your own successes as a customer service representative. Think about a time which gives you immense pride and satisfaction. What strategies did you use to make a customer satisfied? What did the customer say? How did you feel as a result, and what did you gain from that interaction? Ultimately, the answers to these questions are all involved to the original query by the interviewer. By answering all of these points, you will give the most specific and accurate answer.
7. Do you have experience assisting “difficult” customers? How were you able to serve them?
Often, you will encounter difficult and unreasonable clients when entering the customer service field. You need to manage your emotions, particularly stress and frustration, to do this effectively. Your answer to this question will reveal how effective you are at managing these particular feelings. It shows you are able to serve all clients, not just those that are ideal; companies want employees who can address all of their clients, so this is necessary.
8. Is there a time when you contradicted rules to assist a consumer? How did you do that?
As a customer service representative, your top goal is to help customers. Sometimes, the greatest customer service representatives have to bend the rules a bit to truly serve their customers. Show the interviewer you are willing to put the customer first, while still trying to respect the rules for professionalism and company values. The answer to this query will also reveal your creativity and commitment.
9. Do you remember any specific negative feedback from prior customers? What did they say?
It is always difficult to hear a customer criticize you, especially when you try so hard to satisfy them. But, it is also crucial to hear their perspective and learn from your mistakes. By remembering this feedback, you will show that you are passionate about your work, that you care about customer feedback, and that you want to improve. Even if you think the customer is “wrong,” you should still take the time to understand them.
10. Recall a time when you had trouble understanding a client. How did you approach this situation?
When customers clearly articulate their problems and desires, it is easy to assist them. However, not all customers are that simple to provide assistance to. So, you need to be well-versed in helping all clients. By describing a time when you interacted with difficult clients you will show how versatile you are. The strategies you used in that scenario could bring the interviewer’s company numerous benefits.
11. Have you ever turned down a customer request and why?
As a customer service representative, it is key to satisfy your customers. However, there will also be times when you have to reject a particular clients request. They may ask you to do something you are incapable of doing, or that goes against your company’s values (or even your personal values). Thus, you could highlight these instances in your response to this question.
12. How could you assist a client who has already spoken with numerous individuals from your organization?
For some client requests, a single person will not be enough to address all of their concerns. Sometimes, even after speaking with multiple representatives, customers will still not feel satisfied. Interviewers want to make sure you do not get discouraged or frustrated as a result of this. You should show that you are able to treat all customers with respect. 5us, try to make the client feel like you are there to listen. Learn about what the other reps may have done poorly and build off of their approaches.
13. Was there ever a time when a customer had a technical query you did not understand or have an adequate response to? How were you able to address this situation?
It is impossible for you to know absolutely everything. Thus, you will encounter times when a customer asks you a question that you cannot respond to. Instead of being flustered, you should openly admit that you did not know the answer to the question they asked. Highlight that you are willing to redirect the customer to another source, such as the technical department or someone in a management position, to help them solve their issues. If you have any other solutions, the interviewer will also see the uniqueness of your creativity.
14. Tell me about a time when there was no clear answer to a customer’s question and you had to make a decision yourself.
As previously noted, it is not possible to prepare for absolutely everything. There will always be questions you do not know the answer to, or problems you do not know how to approach. You can answer the interviewer’s question by highlighting your willingness to take risks and weigh the pros and cons of unconventional methods. Even if you simply redirected the client, this still shows you care about their interests and are willing to admit your knowledge gaps.
15. Have you ever worked with a company whose product had some serious flaws? How did you help customers who pointed out these flaws?
Companies like to point out how innovative and unique their products are. This may be true, but their products often still have major problems, and customers will be the first to point them out. As a customer serve representative, you need to always listen to customer’s concerns. Admit the flaws in your company’s products, but also highlight the benefits it could bring to the customer. Ultimately, the interviewer wants to understand if you would lie to customers for the sake of boosting sales, and great representatives do not.
16. How would you react if a customer pointed out an issue in your company’s product that you were unaware of?
It is absolutely crucial to be aware of your company’s products. This will help you articulate the benefits and drawbacks of the product as well as how customers can use it in their daily lives. However, it is also not practical to know every last detail about your company. In answering this question, you should note how you would take note of the customer’s concerns and be humble about the products’s issues. Then, you could reach out to someone more knowledgeable in solving this specific problem.
17. What makes information important to include in your response to a complaint or query? How do you know what to leave out?
If you were to respond to clients in the most detailed manner possible, your customer will get confused as well as bored, and it will take an immense amount of time. Ultimately, what determines what you should say is the customer’s needs. You should think about their mindset and the information they need the most to overcome the problem, instead of just being technical with them.
18. Describe a time when you needed to convince a coworker to try a different way of working (such as he long them avoid distractions or find new communication strategies)? Why did you do this, and how?
Many individuals believe it is not their place to tell other employees how to work. However, ultimately, you work on a team. You should all be looking to improve your productivity. So, it is ultimately beneficial if you take action and assist your coworkers for the sake of the business and the customer. Articulate how you did this in a way that was not overly confrontational or critical. Highlight the reason for this intervention, as it will show that you truly care about your customers.
19. Tell me about a new skill you recently acquired. What made you focus on this skill in particular and how did you gain it?
Employers like to hire workers who are interested in self-development and personal growth. As such, you should easily communicate about the skills you pursued acquiring before applying to the job. If the skill is needed in the job you are applying to, you should highlight that skill particularly. When describing why you choose the skill, ensure you highlight the potential benefits the skill brought to your prior company as a whole and its clients.
20. What was one of the greatest contributions you made to your prior organizations?
When we listed the top skills employers want to see in their customer service representatives, teamwork was near the top of the list. Thus, this question is important to answer correctly. You should clearly articulate the strategies you used to assist your team, and then discuss the results of you using these strategies. Try to use specific data and examples when answering this question. Also, show the positive impact your changes made on clients.
21. What book should I read after this interview? What makes the book impactful?
Although he question may seem unrelated to the interview, it reveals many key aspects of your personality. For instance, the questions will display some of your values and interests to the interviewer. It also tests your creativity and ability to think on the spot, which are both necessary for individuals interested in customer service. If you answer in a unique way and articulate why you feel passionate about a book, you will stand out from the pool of job applicants.
22. What is one skill or activity that you perform better today than a year ago?
This is another question that also tests your willingness to learn and interest in self-development as well as growth. You should highlight a skill that is related to the job you are applying to if you want to give the most relevant answer. Additionally, you should not only state the activity you perform better now, but also how you achieved that growth and what you gained from the experience.
23. Which qualities make a coworker great to work with?
The interviewer is aware of the fact that every employee needs to work with individuals who are imperfect and sometimes even have serious flaws. However, they need to understand the environment in which you work best and the qualities you admire. This will help them understand your own goals in an indirect way, while also helping them know if you fit in well with their current team.
Questions for You to Ask in a Customer Service Interview
You need to answer the interviewer’s questions specifically and charismatically to optimize your odds of acquiring the job. However, it is also important to ask questions of your own.
This will show you are engaged in the conversation, curious about the company, and want to know as much as possible about the organization before working there. All of this reflects positively on you as a candidate
Here are just a few questions you could ask during the interview, or after it if you prefer:
- How quickly are you looking to hire someone?
- Who will I be reporting to?
- What is your training process for new hires?
- How frequently do you perform performance reviews?
- What is the management style of this unit?
- What does an ideal candidate look like for this role?
Tips For Preparing for a Customer Service Agent Interview
Interviews are stressful for nearly everyone. However, it does not necessarily have to be that way. In fact, if you prepare well for an interview, the stress will likely decrease significantly. There are certain steps you can take to boost your odds of acquiring your top goals.
The first step that you should take to prepare for a customer service agent is understanding the possible questions you could be asked. Study the reasons behind why these questions are asked, and prepare a general outline of your answers to these questions. Try to connect all of your answers back to how you can benefit the customers and why your care deeply about customer service.
Another easy step you could take to prepare for the interview is getting prepared for what you will do that day in advance. Plan what you will wear, how you will get to the interview location, and more so that interview day will not be so stressful and rushed. Bring a copy of your resume, too.
Finally, the other step you should take in preparing for the interview is researching the specific company you are applying to work at. Look through their site and the job description to see any of the company’s values and get a better understanding for their company culture. If you know anyone that has already worked for the company, ask them about the interview process to get some insider details.
Customer Service Interview Questions FAQs
What are the 3 most important things in customer service?
There are a plethora of different skills and values that help you succeed in customer service. Firstly, you must have patience. As a customer service representative, you will need to assist clients who are hard to work with or understand at times.
Instead of getting frustrated, you must be patient and helpful. Next, you need to have great communication skills. Being able to communicate clearly and succinctly will save the customer time and frustration, thus leading to a more positive customer experience.
Finally, you must also be knowledgeable about the customer and their needs. You should be aware of what makes them tick, why frustrates them, and more. You can achieve that through active listening.
What are the 7 qualities of good customer service?
The greatest customer service representatives have numerous qualities that help them succeed in this industry. While every individual is different, there are a few qualities that almost everyone needs to have as a customer service representative.
Some of these top qualities include: the ability to solve problems, clear communication and active listening, interpersonal skills, empathy, a strong understanding of your company’s product and customer base, great time management, and organizational skills.