4 Answers to “What Does Customer Service Mean to You”

a picture of business person and what does customer service mean to you

When you go to interview for a customer service position, you’ll surely be asked: “What does customer service mean to you?” How do you answer this common interview question? What does a good answer look like? What does a bad answer look like? We’re going to help you with all of this through this comprehensive guide on answering this particular interview question.

This interview question is asked by a hiring manager to determine how well experienced the candidate is as a customer service representative or another type of customer service role. During the job interview for a customer service professional, the hiring manager might ask this job interview question to determine customer service skills the candidate best feels compelled about and how passionate the candidate is about providing excellent customer service.

Ready to get started? Let’s learn how to answer this interview question when interviewing as a job seeker for a customer service agent or any customer service job.

How to Answer Customer Service Interview Questions Effectively

Whenever answering customer service interview questions, you should do so with positivity. If you can, highlighting some of these area’s would be ideal:

  • Knowledge of the product, business, service, or offer.
  • Sharing previous customer service experiences as a core part of how you answer your interview question.
  • Being able to answer the question in a clear and concise way.
  • Being able to show that you have the ability to think on your feet and be a “problem solver” if you need to be.

What if They Ask “How Would You Describe Good Customer Service?”

If the interviewer asks you, “How would you describe good customer service?” you can absolutely use the answers below as a starting point for your answer. These two interview questions aren’t all that different from one another.

The key difference between these two interview questions is that you may want to emphasize more of the qualities that make up great customer service. For example:

  • Ability to empathize with a customer.
  • Ability to problem solve on the spot.
  • Ability to represent the company in a strong, positive and trustworthy way.

Customer Service Skills You Can Highlight in Your Answer

When designing your interview answers, if you can, try to bring up or show your ability to have some of the best skillsets for customer service representatives. Some of those skills would be:

  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Clear communication
  • Listening intently
  • Reading between the lines
  • Ability to stay positive
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Customer feedback
  • Postive attitude

Additional customer service skills to consider, from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics includes:

  • Communication skills. Customer service representatives must be able to provide clear information in writing, by phone, or in person.
  • Computer skills. Customer service representatives must be adept at using computers.
  • Interpersonal skills. Representatives should be able to create positive interactions with customers.
  • Listening skills. Representatives must listen carefully to ensure that they understand customers in order to assist them.
  • Patience. Representatives should be patient and polite, especially when interacting with dissatisfied customers.
  • Problem-solving skills. Representatives must determine solutions to customers’ problems. By doing so, representatives contribute to customer loyalty and retention.

If you can, bring up scenarios that you can share from your past which encapsulate good examples of these skills. These could be situational examples which might share something of a STAR response (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

3 Best Answers to “What Does Good Customer Service Mean to You”

If you’re wondering how you might answer this interview question, here are three of the best examples of answering. Be sure that you use these answers as a method for designing your own answers.

Example one

Answer: “Customer service is the ability to help the company fill gaps in the product, offering, or service by being the most helpful and trustworthy guide for our customers. Being a problem-solver while staying empathetic and driving world-class support is something I’m extremely passionate about.”

Example two

Answer: “Customer service is the act of empathizing with our customers over points of friction they’re experiencing with our offerings. Great customer service is when you can quickly develop a strong connection and problem-solving rapport with the customer calling in.”

Example three

Answer: “Good customer service is the ability to develop a connection with our customers in a meaningful way. And through that connection, being able to service their needs even when they may be disgruntled or unhappy with our services. It’s about the ability to focus on the person, not just the situation.”

Example four

Answer: "Excellent customer service is about providing a customer experience. Let's say a customer is calling the customer support line. At this point, we have the opportunity to turn that customer into a loyal customer of our brand. I'd aim to learn about their customer expectations and then determine the customers' needs. From there, try to provide a customer service experience that makes them feel passionate about shopping with us or visiting our brand once more. I want to turn them into one happy customer. This is all part of the experience."

A good answer to this question is one that should allude to what bad customer service looks like and how not to produce that experience during a customer complaint phone call or experience. Define what exceptional customer service looks like, then answer with that definition.

What are Examples of Bad Answers

It’s important that you decide what qualities make up the best potential answer for you. It should be representative of your prior experiences as well as your personality. But here’s what your answer shouldn’t look like:

“Customer service is the ability to communicate clearly, answer the phone, and get people through their situations.”

"I don't know, I would say that customer service is something that comes with the job. It's about listening to the customer and then trying to think about what they want. It's really just trying to determine what the customer wants, I think. So if you had to ask me, I would say customer service is whatever the customer wants to know. Does that help answer your question?"

"I don't really know if the customer's needs are that important sometimes. For me, it's about doing what's best for the company, I think. If we have an angry customer who calls the support line, I'm going to listen to their customer feedback. But the company's reputation is on the line, and there's only so far I'm going to go with it. Customer service is turning an unhappy customer into a happy customer. Or an unhappy client into a happy client.

As you can see, this relatively short answer isn’t very impactful. It lacks the ability to focus on some skills necessary for customer service roles, like empathy. There's no clear definition of customer service standards or what poor customer service looks like. There's no ability to empathize with the customer and have the agent be in the "customer's shoes" when providing support.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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