Customer Service Practice Interview

customer service interview

The key to establishing a customer-centric customer service organization is in hiring capable and skilled people. The quality of your data and processes is essential but if the wrong team is using them then there aren’t going to be positive results that you want.

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Customer service companies are always on the lookout for capable employees so there are a lot of job opportunities available. If you get a chance to interview for a customer service job, it is essential to be prepared because there is a lot of competition. The hiring managers are looking for candidates that are empathetic, coachable, and positive and share company values.

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The interview questions help hiring managers understand whether the candidate is a good choice for the position or not. Through the questions, hiring managers are looking for the following traits:

  • Customer service managers must have the drive to learn and improve. They should be eager to do their best and prove themselves. They must understand that they are looking to build a successful and long-lasting career and are willing to work for it.
  • Customer service managers should not have a defensive attitude and must be able to endure criticism. They must be quick learners.
  • Positivity is an essential trait because negativity is bad for the performance of the team. A positive person is always a good addition to a team.
  • Customer service managers have to deal with customers so they must be able to empathize. CSM needs to be sincere and understanding so that they can deal with them properly.

Practice Interview Questions for Customer Service and Tips for Best Answers

Customer Rep Interview
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Prepare for the questions that cover anything related to customer service positions. Choose questions that screen for qualities that are important for getting a customer service job.

Here are some crucial questions you should prepare for so you can answer with confidence.


Practice interview questions for customer service

Define customer service

It is an excellent question to start the conversation and identify candidates that are a perfect fit for the company. The question will help in understanding the candidate’s philosophy of customer service. It tells them if the candidate can fit in the company culture or not.

A good answer

An impressive answer must share the importance of customers and their role in the growth of the company. Highlight that you have a strong belief in the power of retaining customers and convincing them of the success of the service and products of the company. The answer must showcase your interest in learning from others and working as a team.


What was the definition of success in your previous job?

Whether your previous job was in customer service or any other capacity, it is necessary to understand how you define success. Hiring managers want to know whether individual success is more important to them or whether they care about team success.

A good answer

The answer should include references to team goals that you have managed to achieve. If the answer only contains individual goals then it will raise red flags. Answering with facts is always impressive.


Are you willing to introduce us as a reference to your former or current boss?

The question is a part of the top grading method because it helps in knowing the truthfulness of all the subsequent questions. Once the interviewees become aware that they will be asked for an introduction to the former or current boss, they will not be encouraged to embellish their professional achievements.

A good answer

The candidates may be unwilling to connect with the current employer if they are looking for other opportunities. But there should be no problem in connecting the hiring manager to a previous mentor or manager they have mentioned in their resume.


What, in your opinion, does success look like at the company?

The question lets the hiring manager assess whether the candidates care about the team or are just interested in individual achievements. It also tells the interviewer about your understanding of the business.

A good answer

It is not an easy question to get right so it is essential to prepare a well-reasoned answer. A prepared answer will make sure you can answer the question with confidence and highlights your interest in the position they are applying for.


Can you share your biggest failure from your previous job and the steps you took to recover from it?

The question helps assess the honesty and coachability of the candidate. Failure is part of one’s professional life and the vital thing is what you have learned from the mistake.

A good answer

Choosing not to answer the question is not a smart choice. Hiring managers are looking for an answer that highlights traits of resilience, ability to learn from mistakes, and understanding of personal responsibility.


Do you prefer to have pet peeves at work and what impact do they have on your performance?

The question tests how positive the candidate is. Never blame others for failure or try to dodge the question.

A good answer

The answer must be polite and honest. An ideal answer must include an understanding that the pet peeves are not healthy and can be their downfall if not properly managed. Mention ways you try to make sure that the pet peeve does not become a problem for other team members.


What are the steps in your common process?

The question is recommended by a leading customer support manager, Michael Jones, at JazzHR. The best approach to answering is using product documentation or choosing a multi-step process. It is a vital part of customer service interview questions as it helps in assisting customers.

A good answer

It is a useful question while interviewing for a customer service rep. Explaining step-by-step processes is an essential part of the job. Mention that you understand and follow all the steps that you have explained in detail. Contextualize the answer so that it is helpful for new users of the company’s service or product.


What is your strategy for de-escalating angry customers?

The question is to check for empathy and determine the philosophy of handling angry and unsatisfied customers. The hiring manager is looking for candidates that can empathize with customers and turn a bad experience into a positive and memorable one.

A good answer

An impressive answer includes references to previous situations where the candidate has handled angry customers with excellent conflict resolution skills, humility, and respect. An apology is better than long explanations. Too much explanation will make angry customers angrier.


Do you have any personal career goals?

The question is effective in finding out if potential candidates are driven or not. Passionate candidates know where they are going to be professionally in the next few years. People who do not have aspirations are not considered serious candidates.

A good answer

Many people do not know where they will be professionally but before going for an interview, it is important to research possible career paths. Reference a set of skills you would need to reach the desired career path in the resume.


What is the most difficult customer service case you have encountered?

Interviewers want to know that the candidate is positive and empathetic. If a candidate talks about the irrationality of customers and the frustration they faced while resolving issues then it shows they are not a good choice.

A good answer

A good candidate will never have any negative words for the customers. It will show the interviewer that they can empathize and find suitable solutions for the customers. Sharing problem-solving strategies is an excellent way of showing that the candidate is suitable for the job.


What changes will you make to the following canned response?

Interview Questions for Customer Service
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The question helps find candidates for customer support roles functioning across more than one channel. Give the potential candidate a canned response that is poor and ask them to rewrite it. Ask them what was wrong with the previous one.

A good answer

A suitable candidate will be able to make the right changes to the canned response and offer reasons for the changes. Good oral and written communication skills are crucial for managing customer service roles. A well-written answer must not be vague and there should be no complex jargon.


How do you define empathy? Can you give an example of a previous situation where you have used empathy?

The question is used by Luiz Centenario, a customer service manager at Experiment Engine uses to check for empathy. Hiring managers are looking for candidates that can define empathy using their own words and give an example of ways they can relate to clients.

A good answer

The right answer must offer a solid example that demonstrates that understanding, rapport building, and apologizing can help in establishing a durable relationship with customers. Make sure you mention how it helped in solving the client’s problems.


Can you share an experience where you received unsatisfying customer service and ways it could have been better?

Everyone gets poor customer service at some time. The question is necessary for service and support roles as they offer a chance to answer from the perspective of a professional.

A good answer

A suitable candidate must have the capacity to tell a story and make it interesting. They should be able to convey what is required from an impressive customer service experience. Best candidates will be able to demonstrate problem-solving and empathy if you were involved in providing customer service. The answer must pay attention to the outcome they wish to experience.

How do you define customer delight?

The question is designed to find the best candidates for customer support roles. Customers love it when the customer service team takes extra steps to satisfy them.

A good answer

Suitable candidates must be able to tell the difference between a good and extraordinary outcome. If they can relate to what customers expect from brands then it will add credibility to the answer.


Was there a situation where you were unable to solve the customer’s problems and share the outcome?

It is not possible to please everyone but a customer support specialist can make an effort to deliver a memorable experience that leaves a good impression on the customers.

A good answer

Candidates must have the ability to describe the problems of the customers and the steps they took to fix the situation. Do not forget to mention the reasons the situation was not fixable and the alternate approach you took. The answer must demonstrate the competency of a candidate in managing the expectations of the customers.


What are the time management techniques you use to balance internal responsibilities and call volume?

Support roles can be overwhelming without proper time management. It is a crucial skill for working in customer service.

A good answer

The answer must include understanding the best way to manage work and maximize productivity.


Share a situation where you had to go the extra mile to satisfy a customer

Solving customer problems is an integral part of the job in customer service. They may have to make the extra effort and go beyond the job description to provide a memorable experience. In strict work environments, it can be hard to go the extra mile. Customer support roles are designed to satisfy customers and offer desired outcomes.

A good answer

Hiring managers are looking for candidates that can offer innovative solutions they have used for conflicting situations in the past.


How do you define customer service?

The answer allows candidates to share their professional and personal values. To increase the chances of getting hired they should align with those of the business. An ideal answer can differ depending on the candidate.

A good answer

A satisfactory answer must speak to the candidate’s appreciation and empathy for the clients and showcase their ability to commit to the mission of the company. A good answer will tell the interviewers that the candidate has a friendly and positive attitude.


What is customer service to you?

Customer Service Tips
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The purpose of asking this question by the hiring manager is to understand the philosophy and outlook behind applying for a customer service role.

Tips to answer

The question is asked to determine why you chose this field. You must be prepared to tell your story in response to this question. For example, you can say that you want this role because you like helping people and solving their issues.

Tip: The reason for choosing a customer representation job position must be parallel to your work philosophy.

A good answer

“In my opinion, the role of a customer service representative is to ensure that the customers get an outstanding experience. I will be able to suggest the best solution to them by listening to their concerns, queries, point of view, and desires. I love it when I can provide solutions customers thought to be impossible. It feels good to make them feel satisfied and happy.”


Mention a situation where you worked with a difficult customer and what method you used to resolve it.

This question is asked to evaluate the problem-solving abilities of the interviewee. All the customers contacting customer help are facing some issues. But some customers might be in a more difficult situation than others. You need to explain how well you can handle all types of interactions for this role.

Tips to answer

The customers are looking for a representative willing to take ownership of the problem and provide solutions to it. The customer representatives blaming the company or transferring the issues to their supervisor without trying themselves are a negative influence on your organization.

You must be prepared to answer this question by thinking of the difficult situation you faced during your career. Mention a scenario in which you listened to the customer’s queries patiently and devices a workable solution for them. The STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method is advisable to be adapted while explaining the situation. This will help you explain your answer concisely without missing important points.

A good answer

“While working at an internet service provider company, I came across an angry customer stating that the PC is not connected to the Wi-Fi. He was yelling and threatening to cancel his subscription. I listened to their query with patience and found out it was a student upset about an upcoming project deadline. I asked a few questions to inquire about the issue. I found out that the problem was due to the movement of the router to a non-optimal location and signals were weak. I stayed on the phone until the router was relocated and the internet connection got better. I wished him luck for the project and then hanged up.”


Tell us about a situation where you assisted a customer who already talked to multiple agents and didn’t get a solution

This question is also asked to analyze your problem-solving skills. The recruiting offices want to investigate a specific situation where you handled a customer passed around by other customer service agents.

Tips to answer

The STAR method can be used to answer this question as well. You must recount a situation in which this scenario occurred. If all the possible solutions were tried and the issue persisted, it’s okay to end the call. Some problems can prove to be difficult to fix.

Tip: Explain how you took ownership of the problem and tried your best to be the last stop of the customer.

A good answer

My current employer doesn’t allow the transference of calls between customer reps on the same level. You can only transfer calls to managers or other departments. If such a situation comes up, I will try my level best to resolve the issue and avoid the re-transfer of the call. My goal will be to identify any miscommunication and focus on basic details.


Which communication method do you prefer?

The mediums used for customer communication involve in-person, phone, email, and chat support normally. Social media interaction is becoming immensely popular nowadays as well. This question evaluates your ability to handle various communications mediums.

Tips to answer

While answering this question, you must keep in mind the job specifications for the role you have applied for. If you have got prior experience in the medium utilized at the job you are applying for, do mention it to grab your interviewers’ attention.

Tip: If you applied for a phone support rep position, and you tell your interviewer that you prefer communication via email, it leaves a negative impact.

A good answer

“I am comfortable communicating via several mediums. Talking to your customer on the phone or in person is more significant as I can use different tones and expressions through these conversations. This can’t be done in conversations through texts. Real-time conversations are more effective in establishing a stronger connection with the customers as compared to social media platforms, emails due to delayed responses.”


What do you know about the company and its products?

The purpose of this question is to figure out how much background research you have conducted before appearing in the interview.

Tips to answer

You must conduct detailed research on the company and the products they offer. This will cast a positive impression and convince the recruiters that you have invested your time in preparing for the interview.

Tip: Do your study about the company before appearing for the interview

A good answer

“I have used several beauty products for your company. I found out that your products give amazing results and the prices are also affordable. I love how your company treats its customers and designs products according to the needs and demands of the customer.”

How do you stay motivated when customers are mean?

Customer service representatives come across a large number of unhappy customers resulting in obnoxious experiences. This question is asked to evaluate whether you are ready to tackle such situations.

Tips to answer

The response to this answer must include how will you keep calm after being snapped at by an angry customer. Also mention how will you keep yourself motivated and upbeat even after being scolded by annoyed customers multiple times a day.

Tip: Mention that you are good at handling pressure situations with patience and grace.

The strategy must be to allow the customer to speak their hearts out before inquiring about the basics of the problem. Getting some fresh air or a walk can help you feel fresh and excited after a demotivating experience.

A good answer

“I will not get affected by the anger of the customer, as it’s not directed at me. I understand that they think that it’s the fault of the company I represent. It’s my responsibility to help them and allow them to vent before moving to possible solutions. I unwind by listening to my favorite music.”


Have you got any experience in programs such as Salesforce, etc.?

This question is asked when you are applying for an intermediate to expert level customer service representative. You have to explain the software or tools you have that works on and the technologies you are familiar with.

Tips to answer

You must read the job specifications thoroughly to check if any software or tools are required. If you have got prior experience in the mentioned technologies, don’t forget to mention them during the interview.

Tip: Be honest about your level of expertise. Never pretend to be an expert when you are not.

A good answer

“I have never worked on Salesforce, but I am eager to learn new and updated software and tools. In my previous job as well, I learned the POS system within a few weeks.”


What is your reason for transitioning into customer support?

If your work history depicts a different experience, the recruiting manager will be curious to ask why you want to switch to customer support. You have to explain why you want to focus on solving the problems of customers.

Tips to answer

You must mention how good you are at using your transferable skills in a different field. Also, explain how your previous job also focused on traits required to become an excellent customer service rep. These qualities comprise strong communications skills, interaction well with customers, and intelligent problem-solving.

Tip: Never say anything negative about your past employer in an interview.

When asked about your reason to quit your current job, mention the aspect offered by this company that was missing in your previous workplace.

A good answer

I was previously working as a receptionist at a hotel. It was an exciting and rewarding part of my job to help a customer deal with an issue. I loved sharing my knowledge and helping people experience the best vacations ever. I want to transfer into a job position that revolves around interaction with people and providing them with solutions to their queries and concerns. I want to use my expertise working at a hotel to add value to a company’s customer service.”


What motivated you to apply for this role without having prior customer-facing experience?

If you are applying for the role of customer service representation, you must be ready to answer questions like why you want this job.

Tips to answer

Before appearing in the interview, you must give a thought to why you want to become a customer service agent. You must be clear on why you want to pursue this profession and be aware of all the required skills and expertise.

Tip: Your reason must be backed up with credible reasons to convince the interviewer.

You must mention how this job role corresponds with your career goals and what part of this job position you love the most.

A good answer

“I always loved helping people around even in my college days I participated in charities and fundraisers. I also managed locations and vendors for the aforementioned events. I want to use my skills to help customers in bridging better connections with companies and enhance user experience.”



Preparing for common customer service interview questions increases the chance of getting hired as it makes sure you have the right answers.

MBA from the Australian Institute of business. Over a decade working for IBM Australia and Oracle Europe and the Middle East. Worked on Artificial Intelligence technology for many years and believes that technology can help everyone better understand his/her personality and find the job they deserve.