7 Customer Service Representative Interview Questions and Answers

Whether you are preparing to interview a candidate or applying for a job, review our list of top Customer Service Representative interview questions and answers.

Describe what customer service means to you.

Customer service representatives are the first point of contact for your customers, acting as the face of your company and driving loyalty, retention and acquisition. Ask this critical question to gauge a candidate’s commitment to the role and and gain insights about their customer service philosophy.

    What to look for in an answer:
  • Approachable personality
  • Understanding of the role
  • Passion for customer service
Example: “To me, customer service means identifying the root of a customer’s problem and working to find a solution that surpasses their expectations using in-depth knowledge of the company’s service or product. Exceptional customer service is all about maintaining a positive and friendly attitude that makes a good first impression and leaves a lasting one.”

Tell me about a time when you turned an unhappy customer into a delighted customer.

Appeasing an irate customer is no easy task, but delighting them can be even more challenging. Ask this question to determine if a candidate is willing to go the extra mile for a customer, even in a tense situation.

    What to look for in an answer:
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Stress tolerance and resilience
  • Ability to abide by company policies
Example: “During my previous role, a customer was furious about not being able to return an item for a full refund. Company policy only allowed me to offer the customer store credit since he didn’t have a receipt. After letting him vent, listening intently to his concerns and apologizing for the inconvenience, I helped him find a gift for his wife for the same price so he wasn’t out any money. He thanked me for my patience and told me he would tell his friends about his experience.”

How important do you think it is to work collaboratively with other customer service representatives and teams across a company?

Providing exceptional customer service is a team effort that requires constant collaboration to build a strong, positive image of the company. This question will let you know if a candidate is willing to jump in and help their colleagues, and if they have the ability to relay customer feedback effectively to other departments.

    What to look for in an answer:
  • Teamwork abilities
  • Communication skills
  • Desire to improve the company
Example: “Teamwork is essential for success as a customer service rep. At my last job, I worked closely with a cohesive team. We regularly pooled our knowledge and resources to address tricky customer complaints and handle a large amount of incoming calls during peak times. I also collaborated cross-functionally by collecting customer feedback and communicating it to the product team.”

What do you do when you don’t know how to help a customer?

Even with extensive training and experience, customer service representatives won’t know how to help every customer. Ask this question to find out if a candidate knows how to respond calmly and efficiently in these situations.

    What to look for in an answer:
  • Honesty
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Confidence
Example: “I never pretend to know an answer if I don’t. If I’m unsure how to help a customer, I say, ‘Great question! Let me find out for you,’ and take steps to find a solution. At my previous job, I helped customers with complex software products and if I didn’t know an answer, I reached out to my co-workers for assistance, referred the customer to someone who could help or looked through my training manual for answers.”

Would you describe yourself as a people person?

To excel at providing thorough and enthusiastic customer service, customer service representatives must possess a talent for nurturing strong customer relationships. This question helps you determine whether a candidate enjoys talking to people and if they have the power to boost customer loyalty and engagement.

    What to look for in an answer:
  • Passion for helping people
  • Energetic personality
  • Customer-focused
Example: “I’m definitely a people person! I love talking to people from different backgrounds, finding out about their lives and helping them find solutions to their problems. I was voted Most Outgoing at my last job and small talk is one of my talents.”

What would you do if a frustrated customer complained about a widely known problem with the company’s product?

How a candidate handles a customer pointing out a well-known problem with a product or service can reveal their level of empathy and ability to communicate clearly and respectfully with an unsatisfied customer.

    What to look for in an answer:
  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Problem-solving skills
Example: “I would apologize, tell them I completely understand how they feel and assure the customer that my team is currently working to fix the problem. I would also give them a timeline for a solution and make sure they felt valued by thanking them for their feedback.”

What customer service tools do you have experience with?

Every company’s customer service stack is different, but it’s an added bonus if a candidate has past experience using ticketing systems, CRMs and collaboration tools, or has the desire to learn new technologies and systems.

    What to look for in an answer:
  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Past experience
  • Specific tools and systems
Example: “I have extensive experience using live chat software, JIRA for ticketing and Zendesk for customer relationship management. I’m also really interested in learning more about how automation can make the customer service process faster and more efficient.”

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