The Two Most Frequent Customer Service Representative Interview Questions (With Answers!)
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Recruiters looking to fill a customer service representative position are, above all, looking for someone who communicates with empathy, clarity, and positivity. So, while the answers to the interview questions are important, the tone in which you answer is just as important. Since a large part of what a customer service representative does is listen, understand, and respond with clarity and positivity, you should conduct yourself during the interview with these objectives in mind.
It’s a good idea to prepare your answers beforehand. But it’s just as important to practice your delivery. You’ll want to express empathy and show yourself to be a good listener by maintaining steady eye contact and nodding your understanding at appropriate intervals.
You’ll also want to repeat at least a portion of the question back to the interviewer, as this shows you are listening and taking the necessary steps to ensure you have understood correctly. These attributes are essential to being a customer service representative.
Favor positive words and expressions, and make sure your answers have a strong conclusion—one that incorporates a definitive solution or course of action.
Let’s look at some common job interview questions and examine ways you could answer to show that you possess the characteristics and temperament to make a good customer service representative.
#1 – Can You Give an Example of a Problem or Challenge You Had to Overcome in Your Last Job?
In a job interview, this question is a softball, and you should knock it out of the park. Choose a problem that was not necessarily technical but interpersonal. A problem that involved an unhappy or frustrated customer or coworker would be best. If the problem also came with high stress, that’s even better.
And your solution should show that you possess empathy, good listening skills, and the ability to stay calm and polite under stress while resolving the conflict.
In my last job, I was confronted with an angry customer who didn’t understand why she was not given a full refund. She was shouting in the middle of the store, but I successfully calmed her down by keeping my own voice low and empathizing with her situation. I asked her questions to get a complete understanding of what she had expected from the product and to understand why or how the product had let her down.
By asking the right questions and listening to her answers, I determined that the product she had purchased was not designed to satisfy her needs. While I could not give her a refund, I was able to exchange the product for one that better suited her needs. The customer left the store, not with a refund, but with the right product for her specific situation. She ended our interaction by thanking me for my help which made me feel really good about myself and the positive impact I was making.
Why This Answer Works
- This answer depicts a relatively commonplace scenario. It shows your ability to respond to an urgent, stressful situation with calmness, politeness, empathy, and excellent conflict-resolution skills.
- This answer expresses the methodology used to solve the problem—a process that is important to a customer service representative: “By asking the right questions and listening to her answers.”
- This answer ends with evidence that you are passionate about your job, take pride in your work, and genuinely care about helping others.
#2 – Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?
This question can be a trap. Perhaps the interviewer wants to get a sense of how committed you would be to the job you are applying for. Or maybe they want to gauge your level of ambition. It is impossible to identify their specific motives for asking the question. Furthermore, we can’t see the future clearly, so this question is impossible to answer precisely and accurately.
However, this question is an excellent opportunity to show that you possess some of the attributes recruiters seek in a customer service representative—namely, the desire to learn and improve.
It is not easy to predict where I will be in five years. But when I look back at where I was five years ago compared to now, I see many improvements I have made. (Cite a few examples related to skills you have acquired.) I love learning new things, and I’m much happier now than I was five years ago, thanks partly to the skills I’ve developed and the improvements I’ve made by putting those skills into practice. (Cite an example.)
I expect this positive trajectory to continue. In five years, I hope to have learned a great deal of exciting and valuable skills. I expect to have these skills confirmed through real-world practical implementation. And I hope to be further encouraged by seeing the positive results of this growth—not only professionally but also in my day-to-day contact with others.
Also, in five years, I expect to have met and interacted with many interesting people from a wide variety of backgrounds, and I hope to be a more fulfilled person because of it.
Why This Answer Works
- This answer successfully skirts the potential pitfalls of addressing commitment or ambition. Instead, it focuses on growth—both regarding interpersonal skills and technical skills.
- This answer expresses your passion for learning and for being challenged with new experiences.
- This answer also highlights the practical implications of your growth: “I expect to have these skills confirmed through real-world practical implementation.”
Of course, you will need to provide a few personal anecdotes or specifics to make it appear less as a template answer and more as a reflection of your own personality.
In a Nutshell
The questions an interviewer asks should be taken as an opportunity to express the information you want to share. For a customer service representative job interview, you will want to share your eagerness and ability to interact with others, your capacity for empathy, and your desire to learn new things.
Remember, style is just as important as substance. Speak clearly and calmly. And, above all, keep your answers and their delivery positive.