Published On : December 06, 2010
If you've been offered an interview for a position, it means you did an excellent job presenting your qualifications in your resume and cover letter. The next step is equally (if not more) important. Interviews are absolutely critical to the hiring process because they are typically the first time you and the hiring manager get to meet face-to-face. In short, an interview is your opportunity to show the employer that you don't just look good on paper.
You can expect some fairly common interview questions no matter what industry you're interested in, so make sure you are ready to talk confidently about your skills and experience. What will set you apart, however, is your ability to answer questions related to customer service. Here are some of the most common customer service representative interview questions along with example answers for you to study before your first interview.
7 Customer Service Representative Interview Questions & Answers
What would you do to provide excellent service to a customer?
When answering this interview question, talk about how you always strive to go above and beyond when providing service to a customer. Emphasize that your number one goal is to always make sure the customer is happy and satisfied with the service you provide.
Sample answer: I used to work as a customer service representative for an auto insurance company, and one time a customer called with a complaint about the repair shop that was fixing his car. The customer was distraught because he didn't know much about cars and felt he was getting ripped off. The issue didn't really have anything to do with the insurance company because it was not related to a claim, but I told the customer I would call the repair shop and get things straightened out. I was able to talk the manager into reimbursing the customer, and the customer was so happy with my service that he called my manager to recommend a promotion
Why should we hire you for this position?
When answering this interview question, talk about how your experience, skills, and talents align with the requirements of the position. Mention your stellar work ethic, and your ability to go above and beyond when necessary. Talk about how you're The One for the job, but do it in a humble style. And never throw another candidate under the bus when answering this question.
Sample answer: According to your job description, you need someone with exceptional customer service skills who isn't afraid to handle conflict. To summarize, I have a decade of customer service experience and I practice conflict resolution daily.
How do you deal with an angry customer?
When answering this interview question, talk about your stellar abilities with keeping cool in the face of stressful situations. Then, talk through your process for resolving the angry customer's issues/problems. Emphasize that you're not satisfied until the customer is satisfied.
Sample answer: My first reaction to conflict is to try to understand the perspective of whomever the conflict involves. My rule of thumb is to first seek to understand, then seek to be understood. Not only does listening to the other person allow me to clearly determine the root of the problem, it also helps ease the tension so we can communicate more calmly and effectively.
How would you describe your customer service skills?
When answering this interview question, describe your customer service skills in a manner that emphatically communicates this: you always provide great customer service, to customers of all types (pleasant ones, and difficult ones too). And note that you always do it in a timely, easy-going, and polite manner.
Sample answer: You could say that I'm "customer obsessed." I always put the customer first and make sure that they know that they are important. I listen to their problems and offer the best solutions.
This position requires functioning well within a team to resolve customer issues. Can you describe your experience working in a team environment and your teamwork skills?
Sample answer:I was part of two teams in college: the baseball team and the student government. Both experiences involved working closely with people who held very different viewpoints from mine. Those differences turned out to be valuable because opposing perspectives resulted in greater solutions than we would have otherwise found. The most important thing I have learned about teamwork is that in order for a team to reach its potential, everyone must contribute and be valued. On those college teams and in every job I've held, believing that everyone has something to bring to the table has resulted in better results and a better culture.
Would you describe yourself as someone who can easily handle fast-paced, high-pressure situations?
Sample answer: Yes, I would. I previously worked as a cashier at a busy big-box retailer, and the environment during holiday sales was incredibly hectic. Cashiers were given scores based on the speed at which they completed checking out customers, and too many low scores resulted in discipline from the lead cashier. Many of my coworkers regularly complained that the system was unfair. I embraced the challenge, however, by focusing on the things I could control and ignoring the things I couldn't. This strategy made me the fastest cashier in the store and kept my stress level low.
Can you describe a time when you dealt with a difficult customer. How did you handle the situation?
Sample answer: The most difficult customer I've ever seen was someone who came to the customer service counter at the office supply store where I worked. The customer was irate that we would not match a price even though the products were not the same. After I politely explained this to the customer, she began screaming personal insults at me. I kept a smile on my face, apologized for the inconvenience and suggested checking another store. The customer realized that I wasn't reacting to her tirade and soon left.
It's important that you are prepared to answer customer service representative interview questions like this. Practice for your next interview by developing personal answers.