If it’s your first time applying for a customer service job, it’s important for you to explore all types of customer service questions you should expect during your interview.
In this article, we’ll guide you through some common customer service interview questions. On top of that, you can take a look at some sample answers that you can use to help you prepare for your next interview.
How to Answer Customer Service Interview Questions
The best and easiest way to answer customer service interview questions is to use the STAR method. That is because they are considered behavioral interview questions, and these serve as a way for the interviewer to check how you behave in specific situations.
The acronym “STAR” stands for:
Each letter outlines a step you should take when you answer your interview questions.
- S – Describe the situation where you had to deal with a difficult issue
- T – Mention what tasks you were assigned to deal with the issue
- A – Explain what action you took to resolve the issues
- R – Mention a successful result of your efforts
The best way to ace the STAR Method is to prepare some examples you want to talk about before your interview, as studies have also shown that the STAR Method is very effective.
Customer Service Interview Sample Questions & Answers
Let’s look at some common customer service interview questions and sample answers you might find helpful:
#1. What is the difference between good and great customer service?
Answer example: I believe that good customer service focuses on solving the customer’s issue as quickly as possible, whereas great customer service focuses on building relationships with the customers and makes a company known for having such great customer service. It contributes to the company’s good reputation.
Try to formulate your answers in a way that puts both the company and the customer in focus at all times. This is a tricky interview question, and recruiters will ask you to see what values you prioritize, amongst other things.
#2. What do you do when you do not know the answer to a customer’s question?
Answer example: I remember one situation in which I couldn’t figure out how to help the customer, despite all my best efforts. I decided that the best option is to ask for help, so I asked the customer if they could wait for me to find the best solution for them, and they were more than happy to oblige. I asked my team manager for help and learned the solution quickly.
It’s impossible to know the answer to everything, and when this happens, it’s important to admit that to the recruiter and maybe mention a situation where you didn’t hesitate to ask for help to resolve the issue at hand.
#3. Describe a time when you provided great customer service.
Answer example: At my last job, a customer alarmed us that a lot of their money had been withdrawn. We couldn’t find any malicious activity in his account, and all of my colleagues eventually gave up and wanted to notify the authorities. After I did a deeper dive into the case, I figured out that the client’s account was actually hacked.
I notified the customer and told him to close the account immediately and open a new one. The hacker was eventually tracked down, and all the money was back on the client’s new account in a matter of days.
This is a typical behavioral problem-solving question, and that’s why it’s best to use the STAR method for this one as well. Try to think of a successful outcome where you helped a customer beyond their expectations.
#4. Describe a time when you made a mistake and how you handled it.
Answer example: During my previous job, I had no idea how to use call-closing statements. I didn’t want to bother my peers, so I didn’t ask for help, and I ended up not closing at least 50 calls that would have benefited me and the company. After a coworker filled me in, I told him that I felt shy to ask for help. He encouraged me to never hesitate to ask in the future, which helped me avoid mistakes like this later on.
Don’t be afraid to talk about mistakes you’ve made. Mistakes are inevitable, and the only reason recruiters will ask you about them is to see how you deal with such issues. Think of an example with a successful outcome and focus on how it helped you grow.
#5. Do you consider yourself to be a team player?
Answer example: One of my coworkers was feeling burnt out and quite behind with this big project our team was working on. I noticed this, and after approaching her, I found out that she was not feeling well mentally, so I invited her for a talk. After our conversation, I called a team meeting and explained the situation. We all agreed to take a bit of the workload off of our coworker so we can help her focus on one thing a bit easier. I remember she thanked me for that on the day I left the company.
Customer service jobs can be quite hard, and it’s important that you and your team are always there for each other for moral support. This answer perfectly depicts a situation where teamwork, communication, and leadership skills are at their best.
#6. How do you handle difficult customers?
Answer example: I try to hear out every customer, no matter how unpleasant they are. If they are angry and keep raising their voice, I always try to remain calm, level-headed, and professional. I take a few deep breaths and reassure them that there is always an option to help fix the issue.
The main thing that recruiters are looking for is someone who handles pressure and stressful situations well. Try to mention that you’re a collected person and that you always focus on diffusing the situation instead of lashing out.
#7. Describe a time when you had to say no to a customer.
Answer example: One customer contacted me about a discount he received in an email. Upon showing me a screenshot of the email, I saw that the discount code came from a scam email. I explained the situation and what our main contact methods are, but he didn’t care and insisted on getting the discount either way. I offered some understanding and redirected the conversation towards the offers we currently had.
It happens quite often that customers have the wrong information and think it’s right. Emphasize that you stay calm in these situations and are good at resolving miscommunications.
#8. What kind of customer service software/tools do you use?
Answer example: At two previous jobs, we used to use LiveAgent. However, if your company uses another type of software, I assure you that I am a very quick learner.
It’s important for recruiters to know what software you’re proficient in, as that might tip the scales in the end, as it affects the length and resource-intensiveness of your onboarding and, more importantly, how quickly you can start working.
If they use different software, make sure to emphasize that you are more than willing and able to master it.
#9. Why do you want to work in customer service?
Answer example: I believe that I am a good fit for this job because I am empathetic and patient. I know these attributes work well with jobs like these, which is why I believe this is a great opportunity for me to shine.
This is a great way for recruiters to see whether you’re truly passionate about this job. List your skills and mention those that align the most with the job description.
#10. What would you do if a customer pointed out a major issue in a product?
Answer example: We once shipped an already expired product to our customers. I remember it being very rough on our team as we had to answer a lot of calls that day. I assured all the callers that they would get a full refund and explained that this was a result of miscommunication with the logistical services we use. I made sure to apologize to everyone and assure them that this wouldn’t happen again.
Although defective or expired products are not your fault, you’re the first line of defense because you are representing the company. Try to show the recruiters that you know how to deal with these situations and find the middle ground between accountability and not making the company look too bad.
#11. What skills do you believe are essential for customer service?
Answer example: Any customer service representative should have great communication skills, and I believe that I have those qualities. It’s important to be patient with difficult customers and remain positive in challenging situations. These are skills that I continuously look to improve as well.
Interviewers want to hear that you fundamentally understand the skills and qualifications required for these types of jobs. That’s why it’s important to do research on the company and the position itself, and to try to align your skillset with the job description.
#12. What do you know about our products and services?
Answer example: As someone who can’t survive without at least one cup of coffee a day, I love that your company offers so many flavors as well as lactose-free options. I know that you source your ingredients from organic producers and use recycled materials for your packaging, which I highly appreciate as it aligns very well with my personal beliefs and principles.
This question is why doing thorough research on the company is so essential. They want to check whether you’ve done your homework, and you get bonus points for showing a bit of enthusiasm towards their production practices or any specifics of their products or services.
#13. What does customer service mean to you?
Answer example: To me, customer service is ensuring customers are well-informed, happy, and taken care of before, during, and especially after the purchase. As a customer of many companies myself, I highly value the help and dedication customer service representatives provide to me, and I want to do exactly the same for other people.
This question is a great way to show what you are passionate about and what you value most about being a customer service representative.
#14. What is your number one priority working at customer service?
Answer example: My number one priority is to be helpful and patient. The reason I choose patience is because this industry often lets you see people at their worst. That’s why I believe that building patience through my work and in my personal life as well is an investment I will never regret.
Some customers can be quite mean and rude, which is why recruiters want to see that you have thick skin and aren’t easily phased. Emphasizing a skill like patience suggests you would work well in such a stressful environment.
#15. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Answer example: I’d say my greatest strengths are my relatability and ability to solve problems intuitively. Being a customer myself, I can relate to many of the problems people face after purchasing a product or a service.
As for my weakness, it could be that I’m a bit reluctant to ask for help and bother others when I’m stuck, but I’ve been working on that issue intensely for the past year, and I think I’ve made some good progress. ”
Your strengths and weaknesses should essentially be compatible with the job description. So avoid mentioning any deal breakers, like losing your temper easily or being shy, but make sure you don’t say you have no weaknesses either. This will make you seem insincere and arrogant.
If you’re looking for customer service interview questions and answers for freshers, all of the above-mentioned examples will work for you as well!
Expert Tips on How to Nail Customer Service Interview
Here are some expert tips on how to excel in your customer service interview:
- Research the company. Just like with any other type of interview, being prepared is essential. The first step in preparing for your customer service interview is to thoroughly research the company. This way, you’ll get a better understanding of what their values and missions are and whether they fit with your beliefs as well. Additionally, this research can help with answering any product or service-related questions more easily.
- Think of some examples. Try to think of some situations where you successfully dealt with difficult issues and customers. Recruiters will definitely ask you questions related to these situations so it’s best to make a list of examples you’d like to mention.
- Prepare questions for the interviewer. Lastly, try to come up with a list of questions you’d like to ask the interviewer as well. This way you can show them that you’re interested in the position and would like to find out more about them and their establishment.
And this marks the end of our guide to customer service interview questions.
Many questions you might hear during a customer service interview are considered behavioral types of questions, and you’re best off if you decide to answer them by following the STAR Method.
We hope you found this article useful and that you feel more confident answering customer service interview questions moving forward. Good luck!