18+ Customer Service Interview Questions and Sample Answers [2020]

customer service interview questions

A customer service representative is a professional who takes phone calls, emails, support tickets, and support requests on behalf of the customer. They decide the best path forward for helping the customer deal with their support issues. A customer service representative can be a remote professional, handling service requests over the phone. Or they can be found within a retail store setting helping to assist customers who are in person.

A job applicant's answer or candidate's answer should show experience in the customer service role either as a customer service agent, customer service rep, customer support representative, or other. Job applicants should expect an initial phone interview to then to be followed by an in-person interview or video interview as part of the interview process.

Customer Service Interview Questions and Answers

Below are customer service interview questions that a hiring manager might ask in an interview. Each interview question contains a sample answer for your guidance.

What do you consider to be good customer service?

Answer: Good customer service fills gaps between what the customer wants and what our product or service cannot provide. It is when a customer feels both satisfied and willing to continue working with us as they feel taken care of, assessed, and addressed. Simply put, they feel important.

What do you consider to be great customer service?

Answer: Great customer service is when the customer feels a strong loyalty after their interaction with you. It’s more than simply showing the customer they are worthy but making them feel customized and tailored to.

How would you work with the customer service manager?

Answer: It’s important to coordinate efforts with the service manager. From ensuring that support requests are being answered on time to ensuring that they are being answered according to brand standards. If new questions are asked, this feedback should be given to the manager to help decide a better script for the future.

What ways have you provided customer support in the past?

Answer: I’ve provided both virtual customer support and floor customer support. Each one required a different set of soft skills to ensure customers were satisfied.

How would you deal with an angry customer or unhappy customer?

Answer: It’s never easy to deal with a difficult customer. It’s important to reverse the scenario quickly and determine what is upsetting the customer, then figure out how to quickly resolve that. Then work your way through what the core issue is with the customer. This can be difficult when it comes to long wait times. But can be addressed through rewards or compensation.

Job Seeker Tip: It can be more helpful to turn this question into a short 90-second story, describing what you experienced in the past with a difficult customer and how you handled it. It can sometimes be better to tell a story versus repeating a good answer the interviewer may have heard before.

What is one customer service skill that is unique to you?

Answer: The ability to be empathetic to each situation and to the customer. Knowing how a situation could make them feel and how that feeling is very important.

How do you ensure customer satisfaction?

Answer: Firstly, by simply checking with the customer to ensure that they are satisfied.

What does customer care mean to you?

Answer: Customer care means the ability to represent our brand standards and ensure the customer is clear on how that impacts their service, product, or our communication together.

Why are communication skills important in the customer service representative role?

Answer: Communication is everything when it comes to customer service. The main part of customer service communication that is more critical is empathy and the ability to fill gaps (through deductive reasoning) when the customer isn’t able to be clear.

Behavioral Question: Tell me about an experience you had with a customer where you were unable to service the customer’s needs and it turned into a difficult situation.

Job Seeker Tip: When the interviewer asks a “tell me about a time” interview question, it is a behavioral interview question. These questions are intended to test your soft skills and general competency for the role. It can give the interviewer an opportunity to predict the future “on the job” performance. There may be a larger amount of behavioral interview questions asked for the customer service job interview since it shows your previous experience and ability to navigate tough situations. Behavioral interview questions are sometimes referred to as situational interview questions.

Answer: It was during closing time at Best Buy and we had a customer come in with a large return. But our return department was closed. This caused the customer pain because he needed to return the product that day before he left for vacation. We couldn’t really handle the return without the credit card on file, so we couldn’t have the customer leave their details for the following day. The customer became angry that the returns department left “early”. We decided to help him file the return online and then the next day completed the return, which solved the situation.

How do you collect customer feedback?

Answer: At the end of each interaction, we should be asking the customer what their service was like with me/us. Recording this and sending it along to our customer service manager. It’s important to always be improving the customer service position and gaining insight into what our customers are expecting for the next time we speak with them.

How do you manage the customer expectations of customer service?

Answer: It’s important to tell the customer what I can and cannot help with. Certain situations and requests are not suitable for customer service. Managing those expectations upfront can mitigate complicated scenarios where the customer feels as though they can’t be taken care of.

How do you know you've satisfied a customer?

Answer: It's all in the body language of a customer. Even over the phone, you can hear the tone of the customer. When you know you've helped them, their mood changes. If you don't hear that, it might be best to ask a few more questions and be sure that all of their needs have been appropriately addressed.

How do you know you haven't satisfied a customer?

Answer: A customer will show their dissatisfaction through body language and tone of voice. When a customer isn't fully satisfied it is very important to give up on that customer. Ask questions like, "I feel like I wasn't able to help you fully, what else can I do?" or questions that can investigate what other needs the customer may have that they don't feel comfortable addressing.

How do you coordinate customer service with other representatives?

Answer: It's important to recap customer service calls and experiences at the end of the workday or workweek. This helps to make sure that the team is adapting to the new needs of the customer and learns ways to work together to address them. This way if a customer service representative has a positive outcome from a particular customer service event, we can learn from that and adapt quickly.

What do you do when a customer gives you positive feedback?

Answer: The process of accepting positive and negative feedback is the same. We must look at this feedback objectively, learn what went well and what didn't go so well. Keep the methods that went well and then adapt and change those that didn't work as expected. This is the best way to take feedback. It is about always choosing to evolve and grow.

What do you do when a customer gives you negative feedback?

Answer: The process of accepting positive and negative feedback is the same. We must look at this feedback objectively, learn what went well and what didn't go so well. Keep the methods that went well and then adapt and change those that didn't work as expected. This is the best way to take feedback. It is about always choosing to evolve and grow.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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