How To Answer Customer Service Interview Questions

By Mike Simpson

When it comes to jobs in the workforce, few positions require an applicant to wear as many hats as those worn by a customer service representative.

Great customer service representatives are often the face and physical representation of an organization, providing the human experience for consumers who are looking for information regarding products and services, placing orders, dealing with problems, issues and complaints and in some cases, processing returns.

In many ways, a really exceptional customer service representative is a bit like the ninja of an organization, ready to assume any role in order to make sure a customer is satisfied with their experience, all while simultaneously preserving and protecting the integrity of the company they’re working for.

Whew!

Customer service jobs stretch across all sectors, and involve all types of jobs, from retail to food, industrial to scientific, educational, medical, service…basically, if an organization has anything to do with providing a product or service to the public, you can bet there’s a customer service representative somewhere in that mix.

Ok, so before we get started we wanted to let you know that there are over 100 other difficult traditional interview questions you could be asked in your job interview. Sounds stressful right?

Well don’t worry, because we created a free PDF that outlines the most common questions and gives you word for word sample answers that you can use at your next interview.

Click the link below to get your copy now!

Get Our Job Interview Questions & Answers Cheat Sheet!

FREE BONUS PDF CHEAT SHEET: Get our "Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet" that gives you "word-word sample answers to the most common job interview questions you'll face at your next interview.

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Desirable Traits of a Good Customer Service Representative

A good customer service representative should be someone who is:

  • calm under pressure
  • personable
  • possesses good people skills
  • is attentive to the needs of the consumer
  • patient
  • has a deep understanding and knowledge about the products they are representing as well as of the company they work for
  • is willing to continue to learn and grow
  • has excellent time management skills
  • can think on their feet
  • has a positive attitude
  • is tenacious without being pushy
  • and above all, is patient (did we already say that? Well, that’s why we’re saying it twice…it’s just that important.)

Yes, this list seems overwhelming…but this list is exactly why, when it comes to securing a customer representative position, hiring managers are so particular in who they hire.

It takes a special person to be a customer service representative and a good hiring manager is going to make sure that individual matches up to all those traits.

This list also means that, as a job seeker who is interested in interviewing for a customer service representative position, you should be prepared for an incredibly wide array of potential interview questions.

Luckily, we’re here to help guide you and make sure that your customer representative ninja skills are as sharp as a proverbial katana.

The first thing we need to do is take a quick look at the types of questions you might reasonably expect to answer in a customer service interview, starting with the traditional ones.

We’ve gone over traditional interview questions before, so to quickly recap, traditional interview questions are the ones that basically get the interview machine rolling, the “starter” questions.

These are questions designed to quickly let the interviewer know who you are and what your background and qualification level is before moving into the more in-depth questions like behavioral and situational.

Traditional interview questions are questions like “What is your highest level of education” or “Can you describe what your responsibilities and duties were at your last job for me?”

While these might be considered “ice breaker” questions, they are no less important than any other questions you’ll be answering during your interview and you should make sure you’re prepared to answer them quickly and efficiently.

To brush up on how to answer these and to see an impressive list of example questions and tips and tricks on how to answer them, check out our post on the Top Ten Interview Questions and Answers.

Following the basic round of questions, many hiring managers interviewing potential customer service representatives will then start to really focus in on behavioral and situational questions. Remember, a good customer service representative is like a ninja and these questions are meant to help the hiring manager determine if you’re actually a ninja or just pretending to be one.

So, let’s get started by tackling behavioral questions first. As we’ve discussed before, behavioral questions are questions that allow the hiring manager to see who you really are based on how you’ve handled situations in the past.

This allows them to accurately assess how you’ll act on the job and how you’ll behave when similar situations arise in the future.

These questions usually begin with “Tell me about a time you…” and require you to give an in-depth answer, tailored specifically to the question. Again, we’ve gone over these in depth and you can see all that information here in our blog post Behavioral Questions and Answers 101.

These questions are often followed by the situational questions, questions designed to take the experiences of your past and see how you’ll apply the lessons you’ve learned to potential future scenarios. These are the role-playing questions and while they can seem intimidating at f