interview questions and answers for customer service – Free interview questions

Are you looking for a customer service job? Be ready to talk about your skills and experience during the job interview. In this post, we will have a look at tough, common interview questions for customer service and advise you some good answers to these questions.

The interview questions below can be used during customer service phone interview, customer service second interview, customer service behavioral interview (competency based interview), final interview…They can be used for both employer and candidate.

Tips customer service interview questions and answers

Dress appropriately. Plan your outfit at least the night before and make sure it is clean/pressed.

Turn OFF your cell phone (a lot of people forget this one).

Bring copies of your resume and references for the interviewer as well as a pad of paper and a pen. Be polite and friendly to EVERYONE that you meet because the hiring manager may ask for their opinion.

Look the interviewer in the eyes. Speak clearly. Smile. Try to use “confident” body language.

Stay calm and try to remember that an interview is a 2 way discussion. You’re trying to find out of an employer is going to be good for you, just like they are trying to find out if you will be good for them.

Prepare some answers for the typical questions like “tell me about yourself” “what are your greatest strengths/weaknesses” “where do you see yourself in x years” (you can search for interview questions and answers and see what more of the typical questions are as well as the best ways to answer them)

Try to include specific examples of your relevant skills, experience, and abilities in your answers. Remember you’re selling yourself so you want to point out things that are relevant to the company.

Stay positive. Try to frame everything in a positive way, even if it is/was horrible. Never speak badly of other people or past positions/companies. There is always something polite to say.

If you find yourself flustered, its ok to ask for a moment to think about the question… it is, afterall, a discussion and discussions have pauses and silence in them.

DO YOUR RESEARCH! Look into the company, their vision, the duties of the job, and the typical pay for a similar position in your area.

Ask questions at the end. You should prepare 5-10 questions (I prepare 8 in case some get answered) based on the research you have done.

Tell me a little about yourself. This is always a tough one because you may be asking yourself “what do they want to know?” Focus on your skills, abilities and your interests. The interviewer wants to know about you and what your plans are for the present and the future. Remember to keep the answer brief because it can set the tone for the rest of the interview.

Why do you want to work for us? Here’s your chance to tell the interviewer why you chose to apply for the job. Don’t say because of the pay. While it is good to be honest, that may be pushing it. This is your opportunity to talk about how this job will help you and mention your availability.

What extracurricular activities do you participate in? This is your chance to talk about you—especially to show your personality. Your extracurricular activities are a reflection of you and your interests.

Why should I hire you? Be honest. Let the interviewer know why you are the best for the job. This is your chance to “sell” yourself and set yourself apart from the other interviewees.

You’ve worked in customer service 10 years and you’ve never had an angry customer? Even a little angry? Maybe just a touch annoyed? That’s hard to believe.

Don’t “make up something to say.”

It’s entirely possible you’re that good where you were able to quickly talk down any with a complaint and it never got to where you felt any anger pointed toward you.

Just think of times when you’ve fielded complaints, or when there have been any problems, no matter how tiny. If you’ve been in customer service that long and you’ve been that successful, you already know the single most important thing you can do is to validate the customer’s concerns. “You have every right to be upset. I’d be upset too.” One thing that makes people especially angry is if they have a complaint and the person taking the complaint tries to downplay it or make them feel they’re being unreasonable. If you can make the person believe you’re on their side, you have the battle won. You’re their friend at that point and whatever you do to make it right will be O.K. with the customer assuming it’s not just lip service. 

List of customer service interview questions

  • How do you deal with difficult customers?
  • How do you handle complaints?
  • What makes you a great candidate for this customer service rep job in particular? 
  • A customer is not sure what they need, and comes to you for advice about a product. How do you advise the customer?
  • You are supervising on a public counter. There is lots of people waiting, and more coming in. What do you do, to get things moving?
  • What do you know about this company’s products and services?
  • What would you do to handle negative comments from clients, most especially when they express anger, frustration or hostility?
  • How would you deny a request from a customer? Would you reply differ if this customer was a VIP?
  • Why would you be a good fit for our company as a customer service rep? 
  • Can you describe a situation where you went over and above the call of duty in order to serve a customer?
  • Have you experienced a challenge with company systems or best practices, finding that they were not serving the needs of the customers? How did you handle this?
  • What do you understand by good customer service?
  • Can you explain the philosophy of good customer service?
  • Would you be available to work additional shifts?
  • Give me an idea to measure the customer service?
  • How would you manage your angry clients?
  • Explain with an example, how would you handle a situation where a customer is asking for something, which is not in the interest of the company or which would violate a policy of the company?
  • Can you explain how you contact or initiate communications with customers?
  • What type of schedule are you looking to work?
  • Describe how you resolved a challenging and complex situation to the customer’s satisfaction?
  • How would you respond if a customer makes a request that violates your employer’s policy?
  • Why do you think you are suitable for a customer service position?
  • What have you done recently to improve your skills as customer service rep? 
  • What are your weaknesses with respect to customer service? What do you intend to do about it?
  • If you realize that the customer is wrong, or being unreasonable, how would you convey this to him or her? How would you deal with the situation?
  • Under what circumstances would you escalate the customer’s query or problem to your supervisor or boss?
  • What type of organizational structure suits you best? 
  • How would you deal with an extremely irate customer?
  • Describe a situation when you took an initiative to provide a customer with best solutions?
  • Describe an occasion where a customer tested your patience?
  • What type of organizational structure have you worked within previously? 
  • What do you find most fulfilling when dealing with the public?
  • If a customer shows up with a complicated problem five minutes before you are to leave for the day, what would you do?
  • If faced with abusive language from a customer, how would you deal with the situation?
  • What type of customer service systems have you used? What is your level of familiarity with them? 
  • If you are faced with a technical product query or difficulty that you aren’t well-versed or confident about, what would you do?
  • How would you serve or assist a customer whose language or accent is difficult to understand?
  • How do you handle angry customers?
  • Talk about a time when you were unable to help a customer. What was the issue and how did you handle the situation? 
  • How do you respond to rude or abusive customers?
  • How would you respond to customer threatening violence?
  • What is your definition of going the extra mile for a customer?
  • Tell me about a time when you helped resolve a particularly difficult customer issue. 
  • Can you tell me about a time when you provided outstanding customer service? What did you do that was above the norm?
  • Can you tell me about an experience where you had to take additional efforts to resolve a customer’s query?
  • What does good customer service mean to you?
  • What have you done at your present/last company to increase revenues, reduce costs or save time?
  • What ethics and norms one should follow in customer service planner career?
  • What have you done at your present/last company to increase revenues, reduce costs, or save time?
  • What is more important in retail service – faster customer service or better customer service?
  • What have you done to be a better customer service representative? 
  • What makes you a great candidate for this customer service rep job in particular?
  • What method do you follow to cross check the productivity of the customer service team?
  • What motivates you to work in the customer service field?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses when interacting with customers?
  • Can you tell us some of those tough clients or projects you have managed in your past jobs?
  • Can you tell us some of your prior projects or clients where you were successful to make a good deal due to your communication skills?
  • Decribe an occassion where a customer tested your patience
  • Define customer satisfaction form? Explain the major attributes of such a form.
  • Do you believe in the statement ‘Customer is the king’? What does it mean to you?
  • Do you consider yourself a team player?
  • A customer is repeatedly using abusive language, but he has a valid point, what would you do?
  • According to you, which source of communication is best to communicate with the customers: telephone, e-mail and online chat?
  • Can you describe the degree of customer service training you have had?
  • Can you describe where you see yourself in five years?
  • Describe any ugly situation that you were in, in your previous job and did you handle it?
  • Describe how you resolved a challenging and complex situation to the customer’s satisfaction
  • Did you work in Retail Customer Service on a part-time or full-time basis previously?
  • Can you explain how you contact or initiate communications with customers?
  • Have you ever had to turn down a customer’s request? What was the reason? How did you explain the reasons to him/ her? What was the outcome?
  • Have you ever received feedback from a customer on the level of customer service you provide? What was the feedback?
  • Have you had to handle criticism/ negative feedback about the product/ service you sold?
  • How do you work on building positive relationships with your customers?
  • How effective are you in meeting your monthly targets?
  • Can you give an example of a time when you experienced good customer service and explain why it was good’
  • Can you provide more detail on your prior customer service experience?
  • Can you tell me about a time when you did some thing extra, which was not part of the routine activities assigned to you, but you did it for the benefit of the customer?
  • Do you have any plans to return to school to continue or expand your education?
  • Do you have the necessary technical know-how for information and data transferring?
  • Do you think you can train your subordinates to deal with the customers?
  • Given a chance to make or recommend a change in the company’s operational practices (with respect to improving customer satisfaction), what would you suggest?
  • Have you any prior work experience in customer service?
  • How familiar are you with the concept of Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?
  • How many hours can you contribute here as a Retail Customer Service personnel?
  • If a team member is not performing his job duties on time and is poor in meeting the deadlines? How would you deal with such a subordinate?
  • If faced with abusive language from a customer, how would you deal with the situation?
  • If you find out that a currency note that the customer has handed over to you is a fake, and the customer refuses to accept it, how would you deal with the situation?
  • If you have to change any current activities in the company, how would go about doing it?
  • If you were to uncover an error made by a co-worker, how would you handle the situation?
  • What would you do if a customer suggests some changes that is irrelevant or goes against the policy of the company?
  • Tell me about your previous work experience in customer service. 
  • When do you believe that it is appropriate to refer a call to a supervisor?
  • Which subjects in your academic life will be helpful to perform your responsibilities here?
  • Which was your best experience till date? What were the key highlights of that experience?
  • What do you believe are the best methods of soothing a dissatisfied customer?
  • How do you analyze the routine customer satisfaction level by inspecting the status of pending complaints?
  • How do you meet the customer’s expectations level by understanding their exact requirements?
  • Why in your mind is customer service important? Describe the ways in which you feel customer service adds value to a firm?
  • Why would you be a good fit for our company as a customer service rep?
  • Working in this face-to-face customer service environment, how would you demonstrate that you are listening to a customer?
  • Imagine that a customer calls to complain about not receiving documentation connected with their new account. How would you respond to this customer and what would you do to resolve the situation?
  • How will you manage the situation when another retail service person is not behaving properly with the customers?
  • How would you ensure continuity and seamless flow of business in a big retail shop?
  • How would you explain a steep price rise to a customer?
  • How would you handle a customer who demands to speak to a supervisor?Provide an example.
  • How would you initiate contact with the clients and customers?
  • If a customer provides you with severely negative feedback or stinging criticism about your service or product, how would you take it?
  • Please tell us something about your experience in customer service field?
  • Talk about a time when you were unable to help the customer with their problem – what was the issue and how did you handle the situation?
  • What role do you believe having a positive attitude plays in providing excellent customer service?
  • What type of customer service systems have you used? What is your level of familiarity with them?
  • What will you do when the computer application for billing breaks down?
  • What would be the most important service skill that you would need to have in your day to day business?
  • Talk me through an example of how you have used data to improve your teams productivity
  • Do you have any questions?

    We want to know: have you ever been asked a completely bizarre and outrageous question in an interview? Comment below!

    Top 7 interview questions with answers

    1. What have you done to improve your knowledge in the last year?

    Try to include improvement activities that relate to the job. A wide variety of activities can be mentioned as positive self-improvement. Have some good ones handy to mention.

    2. What experience do you have in this field?

    Speak about specifics that relate to the position you are applying for. If you do not have specific experience, get as close as you can.

    3. Describe a typical work week for you.

    Interviewers expect a candidate for employment to discuss what they do while they are working in detail. Before you answer, consider the position you are applying for and how your current or past positions relate to it. The more you can connect your past experience with the job opening, the more successful you will be at answering the questions.

    It should be obvious that it’s not a good idea talk about non-work related activities that you do on company time, but, I’ve had applicants tell me how they are often late because they have to drive a child to school or like to take a long lunch break to work at the gym.
    Keep your answers focused on work and show the interviewer that you’re organized (“The first thing I do on Monday morning is check my voicemail and email, then I prioritize my activities for the week.”) and efficient.

    4. What kind of salary do you need?

    A loaded question. A nasty little game that you will probably lose if you answer first. So, do not answer it. Instead, say something like, That’s a tough question. Can you tell me the range for this position? In most cases, the interviewer, taken off guard, will tell you. If not, say that it can depend on the details of the job. Then give a wide range.

    5. Explain how you would be an asset to this organization

    You should be anxious for this question. It gives you a chance to highlight your best points as they relate to the position being discussed. Give a little advance thought to this relationship.

    6. What is your greatest strength?

    Numerous answers are good, just stay positive. A few good examples: Your ability to prioritize, Your problem-solving skills, Your ability to work under pressure, Your ability to focus on projects, Your professional expertise, Your leadership skills, Your positive attitude

    7. Do you have any questions for me?

    Always have some questions prepared. Questions prepared where you will be an asset to the organization are good. How soon will I be able to be productive? and What type of projects will I be able to assist on? Are examples.

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