So, you’ve got an interview for a customer service job. Well done but what exactly is customer service and more importantly what is good customer service?
We’ve put together some examples of the types of questions you may be asked at such an interview and what the interview or employer might be looking for. It is common for an interviewer to ask you for examples of how you dealt with different situations in customer service, so it is a good idea to anticipate the questions in advance and devise suitable answers so you can reply in a clear and confident manner. Trying to think up examples on the spot in the interview itself, racking your brain for a good example, will just make you nervous and flustered and you’ll lose confidence. There’s no need to add to the stress you’re probably already feeling. Obviously you can’t anticipate every question but any homework will pay off. Some people worry that their lack of job experience in this field will be a disadvantage. However even if you’ve no experience of working in customer service you will have been on the receiving end of customer service, good or bad, at many times during your day to day life. You know what is good and bad customer service, think about what made you feel satisfied about the customer service you received, what those qualities were and also what made you really annoyed, vowing never to use a certain company again.
It will help you if you prepare for some typical questions such as these that may come up:-
What is customer service?
Provide a concise answer. In short it’s providing assistance to a company’s current customer base.
What is good customer service?
Good customer service is ensuring that every customer is satisfied and leaves with a positive impression of the company. This is by providing excellent customer service in terms of information on products and services, dealing with questions and resolving any issues and problems.
What skills do you think you need in a customer service role?
Of course, something of great importance are excellent communication skills. You will have to deal with customers face to face, by phone or by written correspondence and also on the increase these days by email or via online chat. You will need to follow company protocol but deal with customers in a friendly, efficient way making them feel valued. You will need to show that you can listen, respond, deal with and resolve problems keeping the customer informed.
As well as this you may require basic IT and data entry skills, to be able to access information quickly so as not to delay your response to the customer.
Are you a team player? Give examples of how you have worked as part of a team.
When you’re answering this the interview doesn’t want to hear all about you and what you did as a leader but more about contributions, ideas and balance. They’ll want to know that you are a team player and that you enjoy working as part of a team, that you contribute with ideas, that you don’t either boss people around nor do you take a back seat and let others do all the work.
Why do you think the public choose our company for …..?
To be able to answer this well you need to have done some through research on the company before the interview. You need to know what are their main products and services, what do they do well, the motto or ethos of the company and the part that customer service plays within the company. Find out what type of people are in their target market. Your aim in answering this question is to impress the interviewer with your product knowledge or services and an understanding of their customer base.
Tell us about a time you helped to resolve a difficult customer problem. What did you do and what did you do well?
The employer wants to see that you can deal with a situation well, can diffuse it and resolve it to the customer’s satisfaction rather than crack under pressure by getting angry, upset or rude.
Have some examples ready of how you did this. There is no need to go into the minute details of what the customer’s problem was but more how you resolved it, by keeping calm, calmed the customer, apologised, showing you listened and took their complaint or concerns seriously and then resolved it for the customer within a satisfactory timescale. They want to see that you can completely turn around a difficult situation. No company wants to lose a customer through poor customer service. Not only do they lose that customer but it may cause a great deal of fall-out through bad publicity or feedback in the public domain as well as via word of mouth amongst the customer’s friends and family.
Describe a time when you provided excellent customer service.
To answer this one the interviewer wants to see that you went out of your way, beyond the normal call of duty. Perhaps you went out of your way to provide the customer with extra information, you spent time sourcing a product for a customer’s particular requirements or perhaps you resolved and followed up a complaint to make the customer feel valued. If you received good feedback after the event, mention that too.
If you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question, what would you do? Have you been in situations where you were unable to resolve a customer’s problem?
What they don’t want to hear is that you would say you don’t know and that you left it like that, for the customer to walk away. You know yourself how exasperated you’d feel if someone said that to you. There are going to be times when you don’t know the answer to something but the key is that you will make every endeavour to find out that answer so that the customer gets all the advice and help that they need. This means that you might have to refer to a colleague or a manager or to company documents. What the customer wants to hear is that even if you don’t personally know the answer, that you will find out and get back to them promptly.
Tell us about a time you received excellent customer service and an example of why it was so good.
Here the interviewer is wanting to know if you can identify what great customer service is. Explain what lengths an employee went for you, the excellent communication, the interest they showed in you and how the overall package of customer service was a good experience.
In addition to the interviewer’s questions you may be given the opportunity to ask your own questions. Prepare several in advance as you may find that the employer answers some of your questions during the interview and then you’d be left without anything to ask. Ask questions pertinent to the company and to the actual customer service role you’re applying for.
The exact questions you are asked may vary depending on the type of organisation and the specific role of the customer service employee within it. As with any aspect of an interview the key is research and preparation, then you’ll sail through the minefield of questions with no problems.