How to Answer the Interview Question: What does good customer service mean to you?

How to Answer the Interview Question: What does good customer service mean to you?

Customer service is the experience and support you offer customers before, during and after they purchase a product or service from you. Giving excellent customer service is so important for customer retention, growth, reputation, and to ensure a business’s long-term success. As we all know, people are far more likely to share a bad customer experience than a good one, so it can be really damaging, especially in the days of social media, where things can become very public very quickly.

During an interview, it is extremely likely that you will be asked about customer service and what it means to you, in one form or another. Therefore, it is a good idea to plan ahead and think about how you might answer this. It will be important to talk about the skills involved when delivering excellent service. Some key skills to mention as part of your answer include (but are not limited to) –

  • Problem-solving
  • A positive attitude
  • Empathy
  • Good communication
  • Patience

A good answer will include an example of how you feel you have delivered excellent service. Have the skills above in mind when preparing your answer and this will help you to pitch it in the right way. Consider sharing your thoughts on the implications of bad service too, so that the interviewer can see that you have a true understanding of what this can do to a business’s reputation.

Here is an example interview question with both a good response and a bad response…

“Please can you tell me about what good customer service means to you.”

A good answer may look like –

To me, good customer service means giving the customer the best experience possible throughout their journey with us. When I worked in a shop, that meant organising the stock in a way in which products could easily be found and things were kept tidy. This creates a great first impression. One day, a customer came in to ask which product would be best to use as she couldn’t decide. I first of all asked for some of the reasons for wanting the product. I then took her through the benefits of each, and pointed out which ones may not be as suitable for her individual needs. The customer was so pleased with the service she received and went away confident in her choice.

A bad answer may look like –

Good customer service means giving the customer whatever they want. I would tell them what they want to hear and then think of how to deliver that afterwards. I do this in my current role all the time.

The reason that this answer isn’t great is that it may not be possible to always provide the customer exactly what they want in every situation. What you are able to offer, or how you can resolve a problem, may have to be done within certain parameters, or authorised by someone more senior before agreeing to do it. Over promising and under delivering will always make the situation much worse.


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