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5 Customer Service Associate Interview Questions and Answers

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Q:

What is the most rewarding experience you have had working in customer service?

A:

This question allows you to find out about the areas where a candidate is particularly talented. You may discover that the applicant has particular attributes that could improve your current team. You'll learn whether the customer service associate has the empathy and social skills necessary for this position, and you will have an opportunity to see if his or her values align with those of your existing team. What to look for in an answer:

  • Enthusiasm for particular aspects of customer service
  • Ability to respect and empathize with customers
  • Social skills and experience to be successful in this particular position

Example:

"I arranged a refund for a customer whose product arrived damaged. She was very grateful for my assistance, and I gained confidence from helping her."

Q:

In what areas of customer service have you worked, and what experience do you have with technology?

A:

Customer service for many businesses has expanded to include live chat, email and phone. This question helps you understand whether the customer service associate candidate has sufficient experience and familiarity with the type of customer service contact methods that you provide at your business. You'll learn whether he or she would be able to jump right in or whether you'd need to provide additional training for him or her to be successful. What to look for in an answer:

  • Appropriate experience with computer functions such as email and chat, and with phone systems
  • Ability to explain things calmly and clearly
  • Understanding of how customer service is handled at your office

Example:

"I worked as a live chat support agent for a clothing company. I also provided return processing via phone and answered customer queries via email."

Q:

How would you deal with a customer who was trying to return an item that was non-returnable?

A:

This question provides insight into how the customer service associate might handle policy issues. You'll learn whether he or she is familiar with the particular return policy of your business and how much research he or she has done into your policies overall. You'll also learn whether this candidate is able to remain both firm and friendly when dealing with customers. What to look for in an answer:

  • Sufficient knowledge of store/business policies
  • Ability to explain policy clearly to the customer
  • Ability to remain friendly and professional throughout the contact with the customer

Example:

"I would politely explain the return policy and apologize that I could not process a return. I would refer the customer to management/supervisor if needed."

Q:

How would you help a customer decide between several different items when planning a purchase?

A:

This question lets you know how skilled the customer service associate candidate is in guiding customers and making sales. It will also reveal the applicant's knowledge of your particular inventory. You'll learn how persuasive the applicant could be when trying to make a sale at your business. This question also demonstrates whether the applicant has an attitude that would make him or her an asset to your team. What to look for in an answer:

  • Excellent knowledge of your current inventory
  • Ability to motivate customers to purchase
  • Ability to guide the customer without pressuring him or her

Example:

"I would explain the differences between items and listen to the customer's needs/preferences. I'd recommend an item in line with the customer's values."

Q:

How would you handle an irate customer with a complaint?

A:

This question helps you understand how the customer service associate candidate may respond under pressure. You'll learn if he or she would be able to handle difficult situations independently or if he or she would need too much assistance with these kinds of incidents. You'll be able to gauge his or her strengths and weaknesses. This question will also provide insight into the candidate's temperament and emotional maturity. What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to handle high-stress situations effectively
  • High degree of emotional stability and maturity
  • Capacity to work independently

Example:

"I would work with the customer to find a solution. I would explain his/her options, answer questions and provide time/space for him/her as needed."

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