Customer Service Interview Questions (And Sample Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you are looking to get a customer service job, it is important to know how to prepare for a job interview. A job interview helps hiring managers learn about your skills, values, credentials and experiences so they can decide whether you are a good fit for their company. Learning about common interview questions for customer services professionals can help you practise your responses and feel confident during your next interview.

In this article, we list general, experience and background and in-depth customer service interview questions and explore a list of common questions and their answers to help you prepare for your interview.

General Customer Service Interview Questions

Here is a list of some common general customer service interview questions you may get asked during an interview:

  • Tell me about yourself.

  • What do you like to do in your free time?

  • What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

  • In your own opinion, what are your greatest weaknesses?

  • What are your greatest strengths?

  • Why do you want to work here?

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

  • How do you balance your personal and professional lives?

  • What are you looking for in a new position?

  • What is your work style?

Related: 23 Interview Tips: How To Get The Job

Questions About Experience And Background

Here are some questions a hiring manager may ask to learn about your educational background and work experience:

  • Tell us about your most recent customer service position.

  • When was a time you collaborated with a coworker to solve a customer service problem?

  • In your opinion, what are the most important qualities of a customer service professional?

  • How would your previous manager describe you?

  • How would your previous coworkers describe you?

  • Describe a time when you disagreed with your supervisor. How did you handle it?

  • Give an example of a time when you overcame a stressful situation in the workplace.

  • Are you familiar with using any customer service software? Which ones?

  • When was the last time you had to learn a new piece of technology in the workplace? What was the experience like?

  • Tell us about a time when you made a mistake when handling a customer service problem. What would you do differently now?

Related: Interviewing Techniques To Help You Succeed In Interviews

In-Depth Questions

Here are some in-depth questions a manager may use to learn more about your motivations, work habits and problem-solving skills:

  • What role does empathy play in customer service?

  • In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing the customer service industry today?

  • What does professionalism mean to you?

  • If you have used our company's products and services before, what did you think of them?

  • What strategies would you use to handle a dissatisfied customer?

  • How would you handle a situation with a customer who has already met with several representatives and has not had their problem resolved?

  • What communication strategies do you use to coordinate between supervisors, colleagues and customers?

  • How do you keep yourself motivated in the workplace?

  • Tell us about the best customer service you have ever experienced. What made the experience positive?

  • In your own words, what is the difference between customer service and customer support?

Related: 5 Common Tricky Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

5 Interview Questions With Sample Answers

Here are some common customer service interview questions with sample answers:

1. In your own words, what is customer service?

Hiring managers might start the interview by asking for your definition of customer service. They want to see how you think about the position and customers. When you answer, use specific language that demonstrates your perspective and passion for providing excellent customer service. If possible, consider the values and mission of the company with which you are interviewing. You can align your definition with their values.

Example: 'For me, customer service is the act of providing the customer with the support they need for making purchasing decisions, understand a product or seek guidance from the company. It means making yourself available to listen to the needs of the customer and doing your best to fill those needs. Being friendly, approachable, engaged and knowledgeable are all important characteristics of customer service. When customers sense that you genuinely care about them, they are more likely to feel satisfied with their experience.'

Related: What Is Customer Service? Definition And Career Advice

2. Tell us about a time when you did not know how to help a customer. What did you do?

There may be times when a customer needs assistance that you cannot provide. A hiring manager may ask this question to assess your problem-solving skills. When answering this question, consider the chain of command at the organisation and describe what steps you might take to help the customer. This may involve finding the answer to their concern yourself or knowing where to direct the customer to have their question answered.

Example: 'If I was not able to help the customer, I would ask the customer to rest comfortably while I paged the floor manager. Then, I would relay the situation to the manager so they had an understanding of the issue before speaking with the customer. I would be sure to introduce the manager to the customer to ensure the customer does not feel abandoned. This shows the customer that I am taking their concern seriously and am actively trying to find someone to address the problem.'

Related: 15 Necessary Customer Service Skills And How To Develop Them

3. How would you handle a customer expressing dissatisfaction with a known problem with your product or service?

The hiring manager may ask this question to evaluate your ability to respond to difficult situations. This is a great opportunity to share an anecdote from a past customer service position, if you have had one. If you have not, consider providing an example using one of the company's own services or products. Be specific when describing a situation where you had to address a customer complaint about a product. Give examples of what steps you might take to affirm the customer and resolve the problem.

Example: 'If a customer confronted me about a defective product, I would start by issuing a sincere apology. Then I would follow the company's policy for resolving the situation. For example, in my previous role, we offered our customers full refunds if they encountered a defective product. In some cases, we allowed the customer to trade the product in for a comparable replacement. I would also mention the defect to my supervisor so we can address the issue and prevent future frustrations for our customers.'

Related: Customer Service Soft Skills: Definition And Examples

4. What strategies would you use to de-escalate a frustrated customer?

As a customer service professional, it is important to handle customer frustrations with professionalism. The hiring manager may ask about your ability to handle frustrated customers to assess your de-escalation skills. When answering this question, emphasise your ability to handle customer concerns professionally. Demonstrate your ability to listen actively to customer concerns and offer empathy through challenges. If possible, give an example of a time when you de-escalated a conflict with a customer.

Example: 'My process for helping customers calm down is to first really listen to what they are saying. Even if they raise their voice, I try to keep myself calm by taking deep breaths. Once the customer finishes speaking, I thank them for sharing their concerns and validate their feelings. I ask what they would like to see the company do to try and rectify the situation. I find this works well to bring the customer's emotions down so that we can start addressing the cause of the problem.'

Related: How To Manage Customer Relationships: A Complete Guide

5. Why do you want to work in customer service?

The hiring manager wants to know that you are serious about the role and find enjoyment in the responsibilities. Be honest about why you want to work in the position when you answer. Give specific examples of reasons why you want to work in customer service. If possible, share a personal story about why customer service is important to you.

Example: 'I love helping people. Ensuring that customers leave the store feeling satisfied is important to me. When customers come to our store, they have a particular set of expectations, and I take my job seriously when it comes to fulfilling those expectations. As a customer service professional, I have the privilege of helping my customers access the products and services they need every day.'

Explore more articles