The role of customer service representatives appears straightforward: you will act as a bridge between the customer and the business.
But that is not all there is to it.
More often than not, people tend to overlook the job description of non-technical positions, thinking they can wing it. You shouldn’t fall into that trap.
There are certain skills, qualifications, and more fittingly for this article, interview questions, and answers that are particular to customer service positions.
For starters, let’s do a quick rundown of the responsibilities of a customer service representative:
1. What is customer service to you?
2. How would you handle a raging customer?
3. What are your career goals?
4. Describe a time you fell victim to poor customer service?
5. Describe a time you experienced good customer service
6. What is your most preferred communication channel?
7. Describe a time you couldn't solve a customer's problem
8. What do you know about this organization?
9. Why do you want to work with us?
10. What customer service tools can you operate?
1. What Is Customer Service To You?
This question is asked to gauge your interest in as well as knowledge of the position you are applying for. It is also a meter for judging the personal touch you would apply to your (if you get hired). This is because you may be tempted to give vague, easily Google-able answers that show no personality.
It is for this reason that is advisable for you to research extensively before your interview. Ask yourself why you are applying for the job, and why you chose the industry and company. This helps form a sellable tale to the interviewer.
The explanation for your decision to be in customer service and what your understanding of customer service is are inseparable when answering this question. Even if the reason you applied for the job is that you badly need a job or a source of income, do not tell the interviewer these. Except your plan is to diminish your chances as much as possible.
So, if you applied for the job to assist people with taking care of issues, you should answer this question by saying that to you, customer care is helping individuals solve problems and then explain the areas in particular that are of great interest to you.
Be careful not to get lost in a long-drawn monologue so as not to bore the interviewer. A summary is sufficient.
2. How Would You Handle A Raging Customer?
Do not be under the mistaken impression that customer service is full of butterflies and roses. No. Customer service roles are centered on human interactions which often lead to conflicts and misunderstandings. Irrespective of how good you are at your job, or how calm, understanding and patient you are, customer outbursts are an inescapable part of the job.
As a result of this, you must be prepared for them. In fact, this is why interviewers ask applicants this question when recruiting for customer service roles. It is to see how you can apply the problem-solving and communication skills you have listed on your resume.
To answer this question, remember all the problems you’ve dealt with and how you managed to deal with them. Describe a situation where a customer was being difficult and had to go through extra stress of finding out what the root of their anger was, putting you in the customers’ shoes to see things from their perspective.
You should also describe how you calmly put forward solutions and successfully resolved the issue.
Note: Interviewers typically pose this question to applicants with work experience, but for an entry-level opening, they may ask for a general situation where you helped resolve an issue.
3. What Are Your Career Goals?
This is another question asked to determine how ambitious the applicant is and if they have passion for the role or will just do it to pass time till a desirable role comes along. If the latter is your reason, it is not unheard nor is it shameful. But framing your answer in the way that makes it obvious is.
Also, it is totally okay for you not to have a concrete mapping of your career especially if you are fresh-out-of-school or new in the industry.
Nonetheless, you should compile a list of your goals and aspirations in preparation for an interview. Make sure your goals are in line with the organization’s and what the description is. Answer enthusiastically and do not give replies that imply that your occupation of the role is short-term.
Do not worry about giving accurate answers as there really are none. Your goals can change anytime and let’s be honest there is no police to arrest you if your plan changes nor would anyone monitor you to see if you stick to it.
4. Describe a Time You Fell Victim To Poor Customer Service
You do not need to be a customer service job applicant to be able to provide an answer. For all intents and purposes, everybody has had a terrible customer service experience. However, this question is especially useful for customer service applicants since they will get the opportunity to reply from the perspective of their professional knowledge and experience.
You should learn how to recount your story in a connecting way, pass on what help they required from the customer service representative, and where the representative and/or organization missed the mark. Do well to exhibit sympathy and critical thinking by stating what you would have done differently in their shoes.
5. Describe a Time You Experienced Good Customer Service
The interviewer is interested in what you think great customer service is. Be very careful. This can be a snare question intended to bait you into describing a situation when your description of good customer service involved the customer service representative breaking the organization’s rules.
Do not paint a scenario where you had to cut corners or were given favors because of your familiarity with the customer care representative.
Bring up situations where both the representative and the organization approached you with deference and exceeded all expectations without twisting standards or doing anything devious or questionable. You would not impress the hiring manager if they deduce that you will be willing to take the necessary steps to keep customers glad, even if it is to the detriment of the organization.
6. What Is Your Most Preferred Communication Channel?
This appears to be a ‘getting-to-know-you’ question. In a way it is, but more importantly, it is a way of ascertaining your work style and to see if it fits with the organization.
So, if you have any experience providing customer service over a similar channel as the position you're applying for, make certain to bring that up during the interview. If you do not bring it up directly, talk about whatever other communication-related experience has set you up for the role. Say you worked with the telephone lines at your last or sent emails, relate it to the interviewer.
Your answer should be in line with the company’s operation mode, though. There is no point bringing up how you sent and received fax messages at your former job knowing full well that the role/company you are interviewing for is fully automated.
7. Describe a Time Where You Couldn’t Solve a Customer’s Problem
As stated earlier, customer service interviews are typically a test of practical knowledge. The interviewer would ask this question to decide precisely how you'll deal with a difficult circumstance should it emerge once more at your new place.
Ensure you draw from an encounter that incorporates points of interest and be straightforward with your answer. No one needs a difficult customer except for some of the time it's unavoidable.
However long you incorporate the particulars of the circumstance, the task you were handling, the move you made and definitive aftereffects of those activities (counting, if pertinent, what you gained from your difficult client) all while showing your capacity to issue settle, gain from your slip-ups, and eventually keep up the honesty of the organization in a professional manner is key.
8. What Do You Know About This Organization?
Let’s face it, employers can afford to e choosy in this labor market. They look for those who apply for a role and are enthusiastic about the organization, more than just applicants who are experienced or accomplished.
Your answer can flag your hard working attitude. Should your answer to this question exhibit that you have invested energy into researching and planning for the interview, it most likely implies that you would place similar consideration and thoroughness into day-by-day tasks and duties related to the position.
These qualities are highly sellable as they present a person who will show proper, proficient and purposeful energy to their role.
The right reply to the “what do you know about our company?” question is to name specific facts you found while researching the company that demonstrates you understand their business and got to know their organization before applying.
9. Why Do You Want To Work With Us?
Hiring managers are always on the lookout for applicants who are careful and selective in their job search.
If you don’t know anything about the organization, why did you apply or go to an interview? How do you know you would like them and won’t hate working for them?
Also, why and how do you know you want a customer service job? Showing signs that you applied for the position for application's sake is not a good impression of your candidacy at all.
This answer reflects the amount of research (if any) you did in front of the interview. While it may seem like the recruiter needs you to list the advantages of the work (free admittance to the organization to the company’s gym, remote work option) what they're truly asking is, "The reason you feel you'll be a solid match for this organization?"
Try not to zero in on what the organization will give you. Rather, discuss what you're bringing to the organization and how it explicitly adjusts to the role you're applying for, the organization's mission, and culture.
10. What Customer Service Tools Can You Operate?
The influence of tech on the customer service field cannot be overemphasized. As a result of this, more companies are more deliberate in who they hire for customer service roles. Proficiency with customer service software would make you stand out in the pool of candidates. These are some of the software tools you should familiarize yourself with if you want to pursue customer service roles and be sure to mention if you are asked in an interview.
Now that you know how to answer customer service interview questions and answers, read up on how to build a long-lasting career in it.
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