4 customer service interview questions

Lara Doyle by
24th July 2012
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Here are 4 key customer service interview questions to guide you through the customer service interview process.

If you’re a customer service manager looking to employ someone new to your team, we have collated 4 of the best customer service interview questions to guide you through the interview process and help you ensure you are picking the best of the best. These questions are designed to ensure that your interviewee has the knowledge and core competencies you are seeking, as well as the personality traits that make that person a great people-person.

These customer service interview questions are also a great starting point for someone preparing for a job interview within the customer service industry. It is important that you are clear on what customer service is and that you have done your research on both the industry and the interviewing company to ensure you come out shining in the end.

The customer service representative must be a problem-solver

Customer service providers need to be able to analyse and solve problems as simply and efficiently as possible.

1. Tell me about a time a customer presented you with a complex query and how you handled the situation.

Answer guide: The interviewee must describe a time when a customer had a query that was difficult to understand. The interviewee must then show how they identified the key issues, how they considered the facts from the customer’s as well as the organisation’s perspective and how they found a suitable solution using available resources.

The customer service representative must be customer-oriented

Customer service representatives must be both willing and able to provide excellent customer service; they need to be a people-person at heart.

2. Have you ever gone the extra mile for a customer? Can you describe the problem and what efforts you made to put a solution in place?

Answer guide: This is an opportunity for the interviewee to prove that they are able to develop
positive customer relationships. Empathy is key in the customer service industry and a customer service representative who is able to find a solution no matter the barriers will win customer hearts. The interviewee should describe the situation, why the problem couldn’t be solved under normal circumstances, what steps they took to find a solution and what follow-up steps were taken.

The customer service representative must be adaptable

Customer service representatives need to be able to show that they are able to adapt their approach to a variety of customer demands and personalities.

3. Describe a time when a customer query could not be solved by following the official guidelines.

Answer guide: Most jobs require adaptability, but none so much as in the customer service industry where a number of personalities mean that there is no ‘one solution fits all’. Here the interviewee has an opportunity to show how effectively they are able to deal with different situations and people, how they are able to adapt their approach, communication style and behaviour to suit a variety of needs.

The customer service representative must be able to handle stressful situations

Part and parcel of any customer service job is being able to handle irate and sometimes unreasonable customers. A customer service representative needs to be able to manage situations like this calmly and efficiently.

4. Have you ever had to deal with an unpleasant customer? What happened and what was the outcome?

Answer guide: The interviewee must be able to display traits of calm and grounding in the face of an unpleasant situation. While it is great to hear that there was a positive outcome, it is more important to know that the interviewee will be able to handle stressful situations. The interviewee should outline the scenario and describe in detail how they reacted. The interviewer is looking for the ability to handle pressure and appropriate coping techniques.

What other customer service interview questions do you believe to be key to the interview process?

4 customer service interview questions
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