Customer Service

Top 18 Customer Service Interview Questions & Answers [+Tips]

Beata Stefanowicz · Updated
Customer service interview questions cover

You’ve been invited for a customer service interview.

Congratulations!

But.. you’re nervous and don’t know what to expect?

Don’t worry.

A bit of preparation will ease your nerves and help you start with your best foot forward. 

Explore 18 customer service interview questions with sample answers, and win that interview! If you need a checklist, download a PDF to keep around for last-minute checkups.

Customer interview questions and answers:

  1. Tell me a little about yourself.
  2. What does customer service mean to you?
  3. Are you a team player?
  4. What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses when interacting with a customer?
  5. How do you keep cool in a stressful situation?
  6. What do you do when you don’t know the answer to a question?
  7. What motivates you?
  8. Why do you think you would be a good fit for this position?
  9. What skills do you have that will be useful in this job?
  10. What attracted you to this position?
  11. Why should we hire you?
  12. Can you tell me about your previous customer service experience?
  13. Can you talk me through what you do after answering a customer’s query?
  14. Describe a time when you provided high-quality customer service.
  15. Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem.
  16. Describe a time when you made a mistake at work and how you handled it.
  17. What’s important to you in the workplace?
  18. A random question

First things first, though.

Your answers to recruiters’ questions should be anything but chaotic. That’s why it’s crucial to establish a framework that will keep them organized and logical.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to do so is by using the so-called STAR method.

STAR stands for:

  • Situation you were involved in
  • Task you were responsible for
  • Actions you took to solve the situation 
  • Results of the actions you took

Following this simple structure will surely help you stay on track.

Also, check out this article ”How to Use the STAR Method for Interview Questions” to learn about the practical aspects of using STAR in interviews for various positions. 

Let’s jump straight into it then— 

1. Tell me a little about yourself.

No matter what job you’re applying for, you’ll most likely get this question. The interviewer asks about your professional self, not about your private life. Don’t mistake the two. 

By starting a customer service interview with this question, your future employer hopes to get a summary of your background and skills. It also presents them with what you think is most relevant to the position. 

This question is your pitch. Show that you know what the role is and how you fit in it.

Tips

  • Most people don’t feel comfortable talking about themselves so make sure you prepare the answer, and you are not caught off-guard.
  • Be confident and organized. This question is your chance to sell yourself.
  • Present your interviewer with a summed-up timeline of your professional life.
  • Start with your current position and move backward through the most important parts of your background relevant to the customer service job you’re applying for.
  • Make it into a short story. The person interviewing you is speaking to a lot of people. Stand out by making your customer service interview interesting for both of you from the very beginning.

2. What does customer service mean to you?

This interview question for a customer service representative is designed to see if your definition of customer service is in line with what the organization stands for. Your answer will tell the employer if you’re a good match for the position and for their business. 

Tips

  • Check the company’s mission statement to see their values and mention them in your response.
  • Make sure you know the importance of customer service on the company’s growth and how customer success affects the success of the business so that you can have some extra pointers to include in your answer.
  • Ask yourself, “Why is customer service something I want to do?” Write down the answer alongside a specific example of when you provided exceptional customer service.

3. Are you a team player?

Yes! The answer is yes. Even though a customer service representative seems like a lone wolf type of job, it is not. There will be many times when you don’t know how to help a customer, and you need help from your coworkers. 

By asking this customer service interview question, the employer wants to know how well you play in a team. They want to hear that you can recognize when a situation goes beyond your capabilities and are able to pass it to someone who can deal with the problem better.

Tips

  • Emphasize that you can work independently and that you are self-reliant. Most of the time, you will be working alone with the client. Your employer needs to know that you’re comfortable with that and that you won’t need supervision at all times.
  • Try to balance your answer smack-bang in the middle of being too independent and being too indecisive.
  • Research the company and what’s important to them. Is it working independently or do they put more value into teamwork? Match what their preferences are.

4. What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses when interacting with a customer?

This is a very specific question. You could also hear a simple “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” 

When you hear this question in a customer service interview, the employer wants to know what you are good at and what you need to improve. Don’t be afraid to tell them about your struggles but make sure to mention that you’re working on them and want to improve.

Tips

  • Think of two or three strengths that helped you with customer service before.
  • Have examples that demonstrate your strengths.
  • Come up with your biggest weakness related to customer service and what you’re doing to improve it. This is important. Show your employer you’re aware of your liability and working on it. This will leave a positive impression because it will show that you’re developing and working on yourself.

5. How do you keep cool in a stressful situation?

This interview question for a customer service position is to check if you can handle being in a stressful environment. You’ll need to speak to dozens of people, each with an individual problem, every day. 

Can you handle different types of customers? This is your time to prove to the employer that you can handle being in a fast-going workplace.

Tips

  • Prepare a time when you had to deal with a stressful situation at work
  • Think back to some stressful situations you’ve been in and remind yourself how you handled it. Write down what helped you keep cool and how you managed the stress.
  • Make sure this is what you want to do. Customer service is a stressful job, so you need to prepare for it. Only then will you be able to persuade the employer that you can do this.

If you need some help with staying calm under pressure, check out this video:

6. What do you do when you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question?

This will put you on the spot. The interviewer wants to know how you deal with being caught off guard. 

There will be plenty of times when you don’t know the answer to a client’s question, especially at the beginning of your employment. This is normal, and that’s why your employer wants to know if you can handle it. So, how to answer this customer service interview question?

Tips

  • Prepare for this question by thinking about the last time someone asked you about something you didn’t know. How did you handle the situation?
  • Write down all the important actions you took to find the solution to the problem. If you couldn’t solve the issue yourself, say who helped you.
  • Make sure your answer involves how you help the customer even though their question is new to you.
  • If you’re applying for a senior position, refer to a specific situation at work when you didn’t know the answer to a customer’s question.
  • If you’re applying for a junior position, you might not have a specific work example for this question. That’s okay. Think of a situation at your school when you didn’t know the answer to a teacher’s question and describe how you dealt with it.

7. What motivates you? 

The interviewer wants to know what drives you to accomplish results. What’s important to you in the workplace? The answer to this client service interview question will give the employer an idea of your values and the best reward.

Tips

  • Look at the company’s values. This will help you define what is important to them and see if it matches your drivers.
  • Be truthful but don’t say money. They want to know what keeps you going that isn’t your paycheck.

8. Why do you think you would be a good fit for this position? 

This is your chance to present yourself as the perfect candidate for the company you apply to. The employer wants to know what skills you have to make you the right person for the job.

Tips

  • Research the company. Look for their values, the work environment they create, and what they strive towards.
  • List out what connections you have with the company and what makes you a great customer service representative.
  • Highlight your personal traits and special skills. Share your achievements and present what makes you unique.

9. What skills do you have that will be useful in this job?

The interviewer could also word this customer service interview question as “What skills can you bring to the job?”

These customer service job interview questions are there to see if you would be a good fit for the job and how well you understand it. What are the attributes you will bring to the support team?

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Tips

  • Look through the most important customer service skills that employers and customers love in a customer service representative. While reading through the article, try to spot the skills you have and which ones you can develop over time.
  • Read through the job posting and see what skills they are looking for and list out a few of your skills that match their description. Try to remember a few situations where you demonstrated these skills.

10. What attracted you to apply for this position?

By asking this customer service question, employers want to know if you understand the job and know what the position requires. What did you like about the job description and the company that made you apply for it?

Tips

  • Look back at the job posting and look through the organization’s website. Find out some interesting facts about the company to be able to mention them when answering this question.
  • Be positive and enthusiastic about the position and joining their company. This will show that you’re excited and passionate about the position.

11. Why should we hire you?

During your customer service interview, answers won’t come easy. With this question, the interviewer wants you to present a few reasons why they should hire you. They want to find out what they are going to gain when you join their business.

Tips

  • Make a list of 3-4 of your biggest strengths and describe how they relate to the role. There is no need to list all of your strong skills without any context. It is better to present a couple and give example situations to them.
  • Recall your success stories and accomplishments to present yourself as the best candidate for this role.

12. Can you tell me about your previous customer service experience?

This behavioral interview question for a customer service representative covers your experience in the area. The employer wants to know how prepared you are for the role. Yes, your experience is on your resume, but this is your chance to talk about everything you learned and did at your previous workplaces.

Tips

  • Print out your application materials. These include your resume, your cover letter, and any additional documents you sent alongside your application.
  • Read through your application and prepare a longer description of your previous experience. You can even mention what each place of work taught you.
  • Make clear connections between the job posting and your previous experience.

13. Can you walk me through what you do after answering a customer’s query?

To answer this interview question, you need customer service experience. Your interviewer wants to know the process you operate when handling customer’s inquiries. For this one, you’ll need a bit of preparation and imagination.

Tips

  • Be organized in your response. From the moment you answer the customer’s query till you’re finished speaking with them, keep the flow as it would normally go.
  • Try to imagine you were hired and you’re sitting at your desk when a client phones. Pretend you’re just describing to the employer each action you’re doing and each process that comes into play.
  • You can also go back in your memory to when you were speaking to a customer last. Think about what the process was and try to remember it step by step. In this case, you’ll have something to refer to, which might help in a stressful interview scenario.

14. Describe a time when you provided high-quality customer service.

This customer service rep interview question is your opportunity to show that you care about the customers who contact you. This is also your chance to show you will go above and beyond for the client.

Tips

  • Think back to the time when a customer was impressed with your service and describe it in detail.
  • Focus on the extra work you put in and how you made the customer happy. This should be your great achievement, not just another daily case. Make your story enthusiastic and show that you’re proud of making that customer feel valued.

15. Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem.

This situational interview question for customer service allows your interviewer to discover your problem-solving skills. You will have to handle many requests every day, and some of them are bound to be situations you’ve never heard of before. In other cases, you know the problem, but the customer seems very unhappy, and it easily escalates.

Tips

  • Recall the time you had a difficult situation to solve and how you managed it before the interview. Write it down if it helps you remember so that your mind doesn’t go blank in a stressful interview environment.
  • Focus on taking ownership of the situation. You might not know how to solve it but acknowledging the problem is the first step.
  • Describe chronologically how you manage to handle the difficult situation and what was the outcome of your efforts.

16. Describe a time when you made a mistake at work and how you handled it.

You don’t want to talk about your failures, but in this case, you need to own your mistakes and show how you handled them. This is a customer service interview question to ask when the interviewer wants to learn how you pick yourself up after a wrong move. 

Tips

  • Be honest in your answer. Everybody makes mistakes, and you need to show how you solve yours.
  • Try to present the story in a positive way to show how this mistake helped you develop. This will show the employer that you learn from your past experiences and that you’re a more valuable candidate because of that.

17. What’s important to you in the workplace?

The interviewer asks this question to find out if their company is the right fit for you. The closer your ideal environment aligns with theirs, the more potential you have to grow and be happy there.

Tips

  • Before the interview, think about what you consider to be an ideal work environment. Write it down and research what the company’s culture and environment are like.
  • Try to highlight the aspects from your vision that matched the environment of the organization you’re applying for.

18. Let’s say I decreased in size to the size of an ant. I then fell into a vase. What should I do?

It is a very random question a future employer may ask you. It could be this one or something more like “What’s the next book I should read and why?”

The interviewer wants to see how you handle questions you don’t know the answer to. Since you’re joining a new company, you will not know the answers to customers’ questions initially. You need to be able to handle the situation nonetheless, and this will let the employer see if you can.

Tips

  • Keep calm. Take a moment to think of an answer but don’t just sit there in silence. Say, “That’s a great question. Let me think about it for a moment.”
  • When answering this type of question, try to be reasonable and practical. Don’t give a random answer. Have a reason and explanation to back up what you’re saying.

Google interviews are known to be tough and tricky. Once, they asked: “You shrunk to the height of a nickel and got thrown in a blender. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?” If you want more of those questions, check out this article with answers to 15 Google interview questions.

5 questions you should ask your interviewer

When the interviewer finishes their interview questions for the customer service position, they will most likely say, “That’s all the questions from us. Do you have any questions?” Make sure you have questions. This is your chance to get to know the company better and show your interest in the role.

  1. What would I have to accomplish in the first 90 days to be successful in this position?
  2. What does a typical week look like in this position?
  3. What’s your favorite thing about working for this company?
  4. What are some of the qualities you’re looking for in a customer service representative?
  5. What are some of the biggest challenges for a person in this position?

Cass Thompson has more great examples of questions you want to ask at the end of an interview so go check out her video:

Summary

That’s all for the customer service job interview questions and answers. The best practice is to look through them twice. The first time to prepare the skills and experience to match the questions. The second time is to make sure your answers sound right.

5 key tips for you to take away today:

  • Look for examples from your previous experience
  • Research the company you’re applying to
  • Look through the job posting and job description
  • Practice the customer service interview questions and answers with a friend 
  • Ask questions when you have the chance to

Remember to take your application materials with you, dress appropriately, and keep a positive attitude. You’re ready as long as you keep calm. You’ll do great.

We have a small checklist you can download and keep close by when preparing for your customer service interview.

We have a small checklist you can download and keep close by when preparing for your customer service interview.

Download Checklist

Watch this great video with some additional customer service interview questions and answers.

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Beata Stefanowicz

Content Writer at Tidio with a love for the written word. She scouts around for digital trends and ways to help small and medium businesses grow.

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