How Would You Define Customer Service

Interview Question: How Would You Define Customer Service?

The Best Way to Answer the Interview Question- How Would You Define Customer Service?

The company and customer relationship cycle shouldn’t be taken for granted by organizations; client and customer satisfaction should be at the forefront of every business and enterprise’s vision, goals and mission. When you make your customers happy, they tend to patronize you. Some will even go further to recommend you and your services to others. In contrast, disgruntled and unsatisfied clients might give your organization bad or poor reviews that may halt, hamper, negate, or impede the growth of your organization. One way to make customers satisfied is by putting in place an excellent customer service unit or department.

Recruitment managers are interested in hiring smart and practical employees for their organization. Apart from the basic requirements for an advertised position, employers want to know that they are hiring employees who can be creative when needed. This is the major reason why interviewers ask general questions that might not be related to the role you applied for. Also, some employers tend to shuffle their workforce at times to keep them fresh and motivated. This and more are other reasons why hiring managers ask the question “how would you define customer service?” during interviews.

This question can come in different forms especially when you apply for a role in retail, hospitality, sales, or customer service. Hiring managers might ask “What is customer service”? Or “what does customer service mean to you?” or “what does great customer service look like?”  Regardless of how the question is framed, the interviewer wants to discover how you believe customers should be treated. Also, they want to see how you will engage with clients. Hence, this article will provide tips to help you answer the question properly and ace your interview.


Why do Recruitment Managers ask this Question “How Would You Define Customer Service?”

As unambiguous as the question sounds, it is difficult to determine the right answer at first thought. The question is meant to stimulate deep thought, creativity, and substantial reasoning.  Also, every business and organization has expectations concerning customer service. Therefore, your answer to this question will enable employers to determine whether your definition of customer service aligns or is in synergy with their expectations.

Similarly, an organization’s long-term success is tied to a positive brand image. Customers and clients have a huge role to play in promoting the image of an organization’s brand. Firms and businesses that consistently provide their customers with a positive experience will invariably be inundated with consumer referrals, loyalty, and repeat business. In a customer-facing role, you are responsible for upholding an organization’s reputation by ensuring that the customers are fully satisfied. Employers are looking for candidates capable of providing excellent service in any situation.

Defining Customer Service in an Interview

When preparing your response to this interview question, consider the following information; it will help you tailor or coin a good response;

  • The customer service policy of the organization
  • Organizational Product or service
  • Consider your past and current experiences
  • Be Confident and avoid ambiguity

The customer service policy of the organization: When setting up a company or business, owners draft policy and mission statements to cover all aspects including customer service. Additionally, such companies or businesses have rules that guide employees on how to treat a client or customer Thus, go through the organization’s website you are interviewing for and read their mission or vision with regards to customer service. This is essential because it will give you an insight into what the organization values most and how they expect their customers to be treated. Similarly, it will help gain knowledge on how the organization expects its employees to perform. Therefore, endeavor to mention and capture this in your answer. It will give your interviewer a clear and positive impression of your abilities and creativity.

Organizational product or service:  Also, you should take time to thoroughly review and examine the organization’s service or product. This will enable you to identify their clientele. Identifying the clientele will help you figure out and understand the kinds of individuals the organization is dealing with. It will also give you a heads up on what strategy is best suited and ideal to provide excellent service to such customers. For example, if you are interviewing for a retail assistant position in a bridal store or agency, you can rest assured that the primary and major clients are excited and enthusiastic brides accompanied by equally over the moon-close family and friends. However, they may be stressed out or overwhelmed by the situation and will most benefit from a professional customer service agent who is patient and positive. This discovery should give you an idea of how you can mirror those strengths in your response.

Consider your past and current experiences as a customer: An experience can simply be defined as a practical contact with something and observation of facts and events. In other words, an experience means an event or occurrence which leaves an impression on someone. Everybody is a customer one way or the other; we are all either buying goods and products or receiving services. In your journey as a customer, you must have had experiences be it awesome, excellent, good, or bad.  However, consider your own experience as a customer and focus on the times you’ve enjoyed exceptional service. Identify the key components of the interaction that stood out, and be sure to include those in your answer. This is especially helpful if you are entering the job market for the first time or have no prior experience in a customer service role. Relatively, inculcating your experiences as a customer into your response allows you to express your knowledge of customer service even if you have never worked in a public-facing position.

Be confident and avoid ambiguity: Employers are looking for a candidate, who is confident, bold, and courageous. You should try and show confidence when answering this interview question even if you are not sure of your response.  


Sample Answer to the Question

To me, customer service is not restricted to helping customers get what they need alone; it also entails making sure that a customer feels supported. In my role as a customer service representative for a sports retail store, I often received calls from clients who wanted to return items they bought because they didn’t fit them. One day, I received a call from an older man who wanted to return a football boot he bought for his grandson because it wasn’t the right color. He made the order and purchase online and was distraught by the outcome. Instead of rushing through my script and passing him along to our “items return department”, I showed empathy. I took the time to listen to his story and shared a similar experience I had of having the wrong merchandise delivered to me.

After a few minutes, he calmed down and even laughed. Then, I went further and assisted him in filling the return form since he complained of having difficulties with movement on his own. Since he has been a loyal and dedicated customer for over 30 years, I processed his item return and forwarded it to the item return unit. I explained his situation to them and they promptly processed the delivery of the right order he made to his address in exchange for the wrong one. A day later, he called the store manager and told her that he was impressed with the store’s customer service. He even referred five new customers to us over the following week.

Interview Questions

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