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5 Service Manager Interview Questions and Answers

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Q:

A customer comes to you with a request you know you will not be able to satisfy. What do you do?

A:

Since your service manager is oftentimes in charge of a team of customer-facing employees, it is very likely that they will be called in as support during times when clients make requests that are difficult to fulfill. It is important that your potential hire has a clear understanding of the types of issues that can be resolved and those that cannot be. Your candidate should also have a clear plan for making sure customers are not alienated even if their current needs cannot be satisfied. What to look for in an answer:

  • Conflict resolution experience
  • Strong business acumen
  • Ability to make level-headed decisions

Example:

"A client once came to us with a last-minute order during the holidays. I told them we couldn't fulfill the order before Christmas due to high demand but could give them faster shipping for orders starting in January instead."

Q:

What is your process for training your teams so that they deliver top-notch service?

A:

Your service manager will not be working alone, so part of their job is to hire and train staff who are capable of tending to customers' needs effectively. Without a clear talent structure in place, it is unlikely for your firm to have a service strategy that is able to be replicated and efficient in the long run. Therefore, your interviewee's answers to this question will allow you to gauge their familiarity with the needs of the field and their leadership capabilities. What to look for in an answer:

  • Clear, concise talent strategy
  • Strong communication skills
  • Past experience leading hiring and service training

Example:

"First, every one of my hires goes through a week-long training program to learn what great service looks like. Then, I follow up weekly during team meetings."

Q:

Tell me about a time when you delivered results that exceeded customer expectations.

A:

Customer satisfaction is an integral component to extending your organization's brand, increasing referrals and gaining repeat clients. As such, your service manager should always think of ways to improve how your products are currently delivered to the marketplace and create plans to act on those ideas. Asking about their past experiences in exceeding customer expectations will allow you to see if your potential hire is innovative and passionate about working to accommodate diverse needs. What to look for in an answer:

  • Previous success in exceeding client needs
  • Strong sense of innovation
  • Great customer service skills

Example:

"I always write down the names and addresses of the customers who do a lot of business with me and make sure to send small giveaways or free samples with a handwritten note every time they order so that they know I appreciate their business."

Q:

Do you have any experience logging and generating customer invoices?

A:

Not all of your service manager's work will be directly client-facing. Your candidate will need to take care of some important back-office details like keeping track of customer invoices, which will be crucial to allowing your accountant to correctly manage transactions and ensure that your business' finances are in order. As such, you are looking for an applicant's ability to process a large amount of client data effectively. What to look for in an answer:

  • Extensive experience with client invoices
  • Enjoyment for detail-oriented work
  • Clear reporting method

Example:

"For the past three years, I took care of the invoices and administrative work for my last organization, so I am well-versed in the software necessary for logging and creating invoices."

Q:

What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of customer service?

A:

Whoever fills this manager position will be the go-to person for your customer service team when they have questions about how to solve a problem or deliver great results to clients. As such, your candidate will be in charge of a variety of situations, some that may be complicated and require making tough decisions. Your interviewee should be able to show that they understand that this job requires dealing with challenges and that they are ready to do so. What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to navigate complicated business situations
  • Examples of challenges they have overcome in previous service positions
  • Creative problem-solving skills

Example:

"I think the hardest part of service is telling customers that we are unable to fulfill their request but doing so in a way that does not alienate them."

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