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13+ Customer Service Interview Questions & Sample Answers

In this article, we'll walk you through customer service interview questions you'll hear in your next interview, as well as strategies for answering them and sample answers.
13+ Customer Service Interview Questions & Sample Answers

Interviews for customer service roles are usually different from your “typical” job interview.

Working in customer service means being the company ambassador from day one. That’s why recruiters will want to double down on your skills like the customer-first attitude, problem-solving, and communication, as well as learn as much as possible about your real-life customer service experiences.

The interview questions you can expect at your next customer service interview will be a mix of:

  • General interview questions like “Why do you want to work here?”
  • Behavioral questions related to how you handled your customer service duties so far.
  • Situational, scenario-based questions about how you would approach specific work challenges.

If there’s one thing you need to do to ace the interview it’s this — be as specific as possible, provide plenty of examples, and avoid vague statements.

This article will teach you just that. We’ll walk through:

  • Common general interview questions asked in a customer service interview and how to answer them.
  • Behavioral customer service questions and how to answer them.
  • Situational questions and how to answer them.

You’ll also get plenty of sample answers you can base yours on and additional tips to stand out.

Targeting a management-level job in customer service? Switch over to: Customer Service Manager Interview Questions and Answers

If yyou’re particularly interested in behavioral questions for customer service, check this guide out: Customer Service Behavioral Interview Questions & Answers

And if you’re considering jobs in sales, see: Sales Interview Questions + Sample Answers

What Makes Customer Service Interviews Unique

Customer service staff provide support and assistance to customers to ensure they’re satisfied. Such roles are crucial for a business and affect its several key areas:

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Brand reputation
  • Revenue
  • Competitive advantage
  • Product or service improvement

Bad customer experience can be catastrophic for a company (studies even suggest that inefficient customer service and frustrated customers tend to increase employee turnover). Recruiters know that customer service representative is a high-risk role so they need to be sure you’ve got what it takes to do the job well.

This is why you won’t get away with being vague, bland, or insufficiently precise in your answers.

To truly stand out and prove your worth, you’ll need to provide real-life examples from your experience or respond to specific (even if made up) scenarios with as much detail as possible.

Let’s see some of the most common customer service interview questions you’re likely to hear in your next interview.

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General Customer Service Interview Questions and Answers

A lot of these questions are general questions you’ll likely hear at any interview — but with a slight spin to check particular customer service skills.

If you need a deeper dive into the interview “basics”, take a look at these super-detailed guides (with sample answers) for common interview questions:

If you want to know more, sign up for our free course where we teach you how to speak about your strengths, sell yourself, and negotiate the salary of your dreams.

Now, let’s explore a few of the customer service interviewing “classics.”

Question: Why do you want to work in customer service?

Why do they ask this question?

  • To check if you’re a good fit for the position.
  • To check if you already have customer service experience.
  • To hear about your long-term goals.

Tips for answering

  • Give a reasonable answer and show how customer service fits into your long-term career vision.
  • Emphasize how working in customer service can help you develop as a professional.
  • Show them what you can bring to the table and what makes you good in this role.

Sample answer: Recent graduate without work experience

I believe customers are the cornerstone of every business, and I’m excited about the opportunity to participate in creating top-notch customer experiences. During my summer internship at Globex, I shadowed customer service representatives, even jumping in and answering some of the customers’ questions and creating tickets. The experience helped me to develop problem-solving and communication skills and become more resourceful. I think customer service experience gives people a whole new perspective on a business and creates a strong basis for further development, which is something I plan for myself.

Question: Describe your approach to customer service.

Why do they ask this question?

  • To hear your unique opinion.
  • To gauge the level of your experience in the field and how you approach it.
  • To figure out what makes you good at customer service.

Tips for answering

  • Avoid general, bland definitions.
  • Use your own words to describe your unique approach and the philosophy behind your work.
  • Look back on your positive experiences and learning opportunities, as those might help you figure out what you like about customer service and what your approach to it is.

Sample answer: General

I see customer service as a constant learning experience and each customer is a unique opportunity for me to develop. There are no two same cases or same people, so finding the right approach to each person I get in touch with helps me hone my communication skills. Listening to their problems helps me understand different perspectives and practice active listening, and finding solutions keeps me on my toes and makes my problem-solving skills sharp. And finally, I like turning a negative situation into a positive one — it makes me feel accomplished. I think customer service is the perfect field for adventurous people open to constant learning.

Question: How would you handle a difficult customer?

Why do they ask this question?

  • To see if you can think on the spot.
  • To check how you handle stressful, high-pressure situations.
  • To gauge your interpersonal and communication skills.

Tips for answering

  • If you had a similar situation in the past, bring it up, describing step-by-step what you did to calm a customer down and make them cooperate.
  • Use the STAR (Situation–Task–Action–Result) method and emphasize key skills from the list above.
  • If you don’t have relevant work experience, you can use an anecdote from your personal life. Surely you’ve had to deal with a difficult person, friend, or family member.
  • Emphasize your skills and how they would translate in the professional context in the workplace.

Sample answer: Retail

I was in this situation before. One time a customer ordered a pair of shoes online. She then came to the store in person, complaining about how uncomfortable the shoes were. She didn’t want to return the shoes until she got a refund — but it took several days for the money to be cleared. The problem is that she thought we would take the shoes and not return the money. So I had to patiently explain to her, several times, that it was company policy and that we had to do it this way. I assured her she will get her money back and I printed out a return confirmation with the refund guarantee. After she got that paper, she calmed down and apologized for her behavior. I’d say that the key is to remain calm, no matter how fussy customers get.

For additional tips and tricks, check out the video below:

Question: Describe a time when you exceeded customer expectations

Why do they ask this question?

  • To see if you’re customer-centric.
  • To check if you can see the bigger picture and think strategically.
  • To see if you’re willing to go the extra mile.

Tips for answering

  • If you have experience in the field, describe the problem a customer was facing and what exact actions you took to not only resolve the issue but go the extra mile to ensure they’re happy.
  • If you have no customer service experience, flip this around and talk about a time when you exceeded teacher or mentor expectations on a project, paper, or anything similar.
  • This should be enough to serve as a testament to your dedication and resourcefulness recruiters are trying to gauge.

Sample answer: B2C SaaS

One time, I got a call from a customer who was frustrated by a complex technical issue. They were nervous as they already tried several solutions, none of which worked, and they were on a tight deadline. After carefully listening to them, I went through company documentation, as I never encountered this type of problem before. There, I found some clues as to what might be the issue, but I wasn’t sure. So I got in touch with our tech team who helped me analyze the problem and develop a step-by-step solution. I sent it to the customer promptly, along with the screenshots and a short manual on how to resolve the issue. I later checked in several times to ensure the problem is resolved and everything is working properly. The customer thanked me and emailed my manager saying my assistance was key in them resolving the issue and completing the task within the deadline. This experience showed me just how fulfilling this career can be.

Question: Describe a time when you made a mistake handling a client. How did you handle it?

Why do they ask this question?

  • To see if you can admit your failures.
  • To check if you learn from them.
  • To gauge if you’re easy to work with.

Tips for answering

  • Choose a situation where you made a real mistake (don’t humblebrag and present strengths as mistakes) and describe what you did to resolve it. It can be a technical thing or an interpersonal situation between you and the client.
  • If you don’t have the experience, chose a failure or a mistake from your personal life and describe how you handled it.
  • Most importantly, always emphasize what you learned from that experience. It will show that you’re an adaptable person who’s committed to growth, even if it’s uncomfortable.

Sample answer: B2B SaaS

I remember one time when a client asked for a specific customization of one of our platform’s features and I completely misunderstood it. Consequently, our team implemented the wrong changes. I realized this only after a confused client emailed us. Of course, I apologized on the spot and explained that I misunderstood them. We reworked the plan, I double-checked that I understood what needed to be done, and I quickly notified our dev team. They made the changes within the next few days, and I was happy to inform the client their requirements were fulfilled. I once again apologized and gave them a discount on the next month’s subscription. They appreciated my honesty and swift reaction, and I can say our relationship grew stronger after this.

Question: Describe a time you had to change your approach to a customer.

Why do they ask this question?

  • To check if you’re adaptable.
  • To see if you can think outside the box.
  • To test out your emotional intelligence.

Tips for answering

At work, and especially in customer service which deals with so many different people on a daily basis, being adaptable is key. If you keep pushing the same approach to each person, you’re bound to fail. Strategically approaching different people so that they feel seen and understood will make your life easier if you know how to do it.

  • In your answer, focus on your ability to understand different people and get along with them.
  • Prove your communication skills and show your readiness to think outside the box and even “break the rules” sometimes.
  • Remember: the best customer service pros don’t just follow a playbook mindlessly — they think of ways to improve existing processes.

Sample answer: B2C SaaS

A few years ago, I was assisting a customer who was clearly irritated by our platform. I tried my usual troubleshooting approach, but I got the feeling that it only irritated them further. I realized they were not particularly tech-savvy and wanted a simple solution. So I took a more emotional approach. In order to describe what was wrong, I used analogies from everyday situations and somehow managed to explain it in a way they understood. This made them relax a bit and open up about the impact this problem had on their performance lately. I convinced them that I was there to resolve the issue and acknowledged their frustration. We quickly found a solution. Reflecting on that experience, I realized how important it is for us in Customer Service to be able to read people and adjust to their preferred approach. Some of them want a no-nonsense, technical approach that will be done in a few minutes. Some, on the other hand, need to feel seen and need a bit of human support and communication. It’s up to us to “read” the customers and adjust.

Behavioral Customer Service Interview Questions and Answers

Behavioral interview questions are about work situations you’ve been through, as your past performance is indicative of your professional future.

The majority of these questions can be asked in any interview for any position. However, in your situation, a recruiter will slightly adjust them in order to learn more about your customer service experience and if you have the experience and potential to thrive in such a role.

Pro tip: When answering behavioral interview questions, use the STAR (Situation–Task–Action–Result) method. Basically, you want to describe the situation you found yourself in, a task that was in front of you, actions you took, step-by-step to solve that task, and the results you achieved.

To see it in action, check out the video below:

Using this method will help you prepare your best answers in advance so that your storytelling is coherent and compelling. This will make you more confident and leave the right impression on the recruiter.

Our Answer Builder allows you to list compelling arguments for each element of the STAR answer and provides bite-sized tips on how to improve your answer while you’re creating it.

Big Interview's Answer Builder

Question: Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a team member not pulling their weight

Why do they ask this question?

  • To gauge your teamwork skills.
  • To check your honesty and integrity.
  • To check your communication skills.

Tips for answering

  • Explain if you resolved this problem by yourself or if you involved someone else (a team leader, a peer, a mentor, or a teacher).
  • Describe how you approached it communication-wise.
  • If applicable, talk about an action plan on how to help this person tackle the issue.

Recruiters will mainly be interested in your reaction to this situation, if you approached it in a calm, constructive way, and if you decided to resolve it on your own or if you delegated it to someone else.

Sample answer: B2B/B2C SaaS

In my previous company, when I was leading a small Customer Service team, there was a team member who had been there for several years. During the last year, I noticed he became less involved and sloppier than usual. This was weird, as he used to be one of the top performers. I did confront him about this twice but to not available. I suspected he became bored so I found another way to address the issue. During his quarterly performance review, I decided to focus on developing his career path. During that conversation, I discovered that he no longer found customer service fulfilling and wanted to widen the scope of his duties. He was interested in sales, and, having a strong background in customer service, he seemed like a good fit. I spoke to some people and we decided to move him to the sales department. After a few months, the Head of Sales praised him and said that his transfer was a good decision. This experience taught me to think outside the box and find ways to help people who underperform instead of penalizing them.

Question: Describe a time when you resolved a complaint and turned a difficult situation around

Why do they ask this question?

  • To gauge your problem-solving skills.
  • To see if you’re customer-oriented.
  • To check if you’re willing to go the extra mile and what motivates you.

Tips for answering

  • Choose a situation in which you not only resolved a problem but went the extra mile and impressed a customer.
  • You’ll get bonus points for describing what factors drove you to take action.
  • Knowing what motivates you in the workplace will help recruiters decide if the prospective company can provide you with what you need to be motivated and go the extra mile.

Sample answer: B2B email marketing

There was a dissatisfied new client that just switched to our platform which was more expensive than the one they previously used. They told me they don’t see any major differences between the platforms and wanted to speak to my manager to try and cancel the subscription. During our conversation, I realized they did not receive all the relevant instructions during their onboarding. Nobody walked them through our latest email personalization features and the upgraded reporting system. So I decided to walk them through all the relevant features and promised I would connect them to my manager afterward. Then I walked them through the platform and thoroughly explained all the ways in which they could segment their existing email lists and personalize their commercial emails. By the end of our call, they decided to give the platform another try. After two months, they upgraded to our Premium version and in the next few years they became one of the most important clients we ever had. Looking back, it was a stressful situation. But I’m glad I pushed through and found ways to change their mind. Sometimes, a bit of persistence and persuasion can go a long way.

Question: Tell me about a time when you had to use your problem-solving skills to resolve a customer issue

Why do they ask this question?

  • To gauge your problem-solving skills.
  • To see if you can think on your feet.
  • To see if you possess relevant technical and soft skills.

Tips for answering

  • Lay your answer down so that it clearly shows how you analyze a situation, identify roadblocks, and overcome challenges.
  • Aim to showcase both specific, technical skills and transferable skills like communication, adaptability, efficiency, decision-making, and similar.

For a detailed guide, head here: Answering Problem-Solving Interview Questions: Tips and Examples.

Sample answer: Logistics

A few months ago, I had a customer who was angry about their delayed delivery. For the first two minutes, I could not utter a single word or ask a single question, that’s how rapidly and angrily they spoke. So I let them vent as long as they needed to. Once they were done, I assured them I’ll do my best to resolve the problem. I tracked the package and explained why it had not been delivered — turned out it was due to the carrier’s workers’ strike. To make up for it, instead of offering a standard refund, I expedited a replacement shipment for them, through another shipping carrier. I got in touch with them two days later, and they confirmed their package safely arrived. They thanked me for my assistance. This was when I learned it’s best to let an angry customer vent for as long as they need to. Once they’re done, they’ll be much more cooperative.

Scenario-Based or Situational Customer Service Interview Questions and Answers

Scenario-based or situational questions will put you in certain situations (either hypothetical or perhaps some you have experience with) to assess how you’d react.

Customer service interviews will mostly rely on these questions for one simple reason: they’re all about problem-solving. And customer service is in its essence all about problem-solving too.

And even if you’ve never been in a situation posed in a question, don’t worry — what’s important is that you demonstrate your problem-solving skills by showcasing to recruiters how you think, analyze information, and reach solutions step-by-step.

Question: If a customer calls and is visibly upset, how would you handle the situation?

Why do they ask this question?

  • To gauge your interpersonal skills.
  • To check how you handle stressful situations.

Tips for answering this question

  • Demonstrate your ability to empathize with a customer and soothe them.
  • Showcase your ability to get along with different types of people.
  • Demonstrate how you remain calm in such situations. This might be the key skill customer service people need to possess.

Sample answer: General

If they’re upset, I would first let them let it out. I’d then make sure I understand their concerns and acknowledge their feelings. I’d apologize for the inconvenience and look for several ways to resolve the issue. Then they can pick the most appropriate solution for them, and I’d certainly check in after some time to see if everything is going smoothly. In my experience, there are two types of customers: the no-nonsense ones who just want their problem solved in no time, and the ones who tend to get upset. For the latter, my main goal is to let them vent and show we’re on the same side. After that, things usually go smoothly.

Question: How would you handle a situation where a customer is complaining about a product you’re barely (or not at all) familiar with?

Why do they ask this question?

  • To check if you can think on the spot.
  • To see if you’re able to deescalate conflict.
  • To check how you handle situations where you don’t have sufficient knowledge to solve a problem right away.

Tips for answering this question

  • Describe your approach step-by-step and focus on displaying active listening, research, and problem-solving skills.
  • Explain who you would reach out to, to find out more about the product in question.
  • If your course of action would be to refer the customer to another representative — explain your rationale behind it.

Recruiters want to see that you can quickly decide on an optimal approach.

Sample answer: B2B/B2C SaaS

I think that not knowing something is fine, as long as a person is resourceful and finds a way to get the answers. I had similar situations in the past, and I was never ashamed of saying that I’m not sure how to fix something, but that I will discover how to do it in no time. My go-to practice is to sort through the documentation and find an answer myself. In 90% of cases, this works, as we continually update our knowledge base with the latest information. If my attempts are not successful, I would always turn to another coworker or someone from the dev team. The turnaround time is usually short, so I never had any problem with this. And I never met a customer who complained about me telling them I don’t know how to fix something. They don’t care, as long as their issue is resolved asap.

Question: What would you do if you had to refuse a customer’s request because it violated the company policy?

Why do they ask this question?

  • To check your conflict resolution skills.
  • To gauge your adherence to company policy and processes.
  • To check your ethical decision-making.

Tips for answering

  • Emphasize skills such as active listening and conflict resolution.
  • Describe how you’d carefully listen to the customer, then thank them for their feedback and politely explain company policies.
  • Highlight you’d provide specific reasons for why their request can’t be fulfilled.
  • If you can provide alternatives or invite future interactions, by all means, highlight that in your answer.

Sample answer: General

If their request does not align with our company policy, there’s not much I can do. I’d try to approach a customer with understanding, but I’d have to set some boundaries. I’d politely explain the policy and outline the reasons behind it so that they understand why exactly their request is denied. Then I’d offer to seek alternatives that would align with the policy and address their needs so that we can find a middle ground, if possible.

Question: How would you respond if you didn’t know the answer to a customer’s inquiry?

Why do they ask this question?

  • To check your willingness to learn.
  • To gauge your communication and problem-solving skills.
  • To assess your customer focus and adaptability.

Tips for answering this question

  • Emphasize your willingness to learn by listing how you’d do your research to find out the answer.
  • If that doesn’t go according to plan, list whom and why you’d turn to and ask for help.
  • Describe how you’d communicate this to the customer and provide reasons for saying or not saying you don’t know the answer to their question (both are fine, as long as there are valid reasons).

Sample answer: General

I’d take a proactive approach, explaining that I currently don’t have the answer but will take steps to resolve their problem as soon as possible. I’d reach out to coworkers or consult our knowledge base and other available resources. Once I get the answer, I’d contact the customer and provide a detailed, accurate response, helping them solve the problem. I’d say not knowing an answer is okay, as long as we’re staying proactive and transparent about our actions.

Additional Tips to Stand Out in a Customer Service Interview

Show empathy

As a customer service representative, you’re there to solve customer problems and ensure their satisfaction. And how can you do it if you don’t understand them?

Understanding customers and then showing empathy will ensure that you do the right thing and do your job in the best way possible.

For this reason, your first step when answering any customer service interview question must display understanding and empathy.

Provide specific instances from past experience

The best interview responses include examples.

It’ll help you be more specific and provide sufficient relevant information, as well as showcase your skills and experience within the right context.

If you’re still a student or a recent graduate, you can use examples from your academic experience or extracurricular activities — even your personal life (omitting personal details).

Use the STAR method

Using the STAR method to answer these common customer service interview questions will help you create engaging stories and make you confident in your delivery. STAR stands for:

  • Situation: describe the situation you found yourself in
  • Task: describe what task was ahead of you
  • Action: describe what you did, step-by-step, to complete that task
  • Result: say what the outcome was.

Use this approach for any behavioral or situational question, as it’ll give you a nice framework for creating compelling stories through which you can display your skills and experience.

Pro tip: Practice your answers as much as you can! Our Mock Interview Tool will give you instant feedback and a plan to fix your mistakes.

It’ll check the quality of your response, pace of speech, power words, ummm-counter, eye contact, and similar. You can have as many takes as you want until you feel confident enough.

Inside Big Interview's mock interview tool

Exhibit excellent communication skills

You need to use the interview as an opportunity to show how you would act with a customer.

Make sure you actively listen to the customer service interview questions and answer them in a concise, informative way.

Focus on your body language and non-verbal communication, as a large part of what you communicate is through the body, not your words.

All of this will help you exhibit excellent communication skills, which will assure recruiters you’ll know how to talk to customers. But it’ll also help you sell yourself in an interview and leave an outstanding impression.

Demonstrate a customer-focused approach

They don’t call it customer service for no reason.

Your top priority at any moment is to make sure your customers are heard, understood, and that their problems are solved as quickly as possible.

Demonstrate your ability to be customer-centric by choosing appropriate stories for common customer service interview questions and preparing them in advance.

Show a positive, can-do attitude

This will help you show that you’re a motivated professional candidate who thrives when working with people.

Bear in mind that staying positive doesn’t mean being excessively cheerful or ignoring problems or challenges — it’s more about keeping the right mindset when faced with a problem and staying constructive and ready to learn and grow.

Summary of the Main Points

  • Customer service teams within a company are important for many reasons, customer satisfaction and brand reputation being one of the key ones.
  • As a customer service representative, some of the key skills are customer focus, communication, problem-solving, and quick wit.
  • Some of the most common questions recruiters will ask you in order to assess these skills are behavioral and situational interview questions that are common in any job interview — but they will put you in specific hypothetical situations in order to assess key CS skills.
  • It’s best to anticipate these questions and prepare answers/stories using the STAR method.
  • During the customer service interview, you’ll want to display empathy, excellent communication skills, customer focus, and a resourceful, positive can-do attitude.


Need a hand? There are 3 ways we can help you:

  1. Tired of interviewing and not landing the job? Discover actionable lessons and interview practice here (Rated with 4.9/5 by 1,000,000 users).
  2. Need help with your resume? Check out Customer Service Resume (Examples and Writing Guide).
  3. Read about 20+ Illegal Interview Questions and How to Handle Them.


How to answer “Tell me about yourself” in a customer service job interview?

Use your elevator pitch to shortly describe your work experience: who you are (as a professional), what you do, your proudest accomplishment, what you can do for the company, and how you can fit in. Make it 30–60 seconds long. For more info, read How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” (with Examples).

How should I describe my customer service experience?

Use the Situation, Task, Action, Result (STAR) method as a framework and think of several examples which you’ll turn into stories. Aim to showcase in detail the key customer service skills like problem-solving, communication, and resourcefulness.

How to answer customer service interview questions if I have no experience?

Draw inspiration from your education or private life. Leave out personal details, but recall situations where you had to solve a problem or deal with a difficult person. Aim to showcase your problem-solving skills, as well as communication and interpersonal skills.

Why should I use the STAR method in a customer service interview?

Because it will give structure and clarity to your answers, along with the chance to showcase your experience and skills. The method gives you the opportunity to provide evidence-based examples, which will make you more convincing. Plus, it will be easy to memorize your answers for a confident delivery.

What strengths should I list during a customer service interview?

Previous experience in similar situations, soft skills, product knowledge, industry knowledge, key accomplishments (quantified), and qualitative achievements (awards, promotions, positive feedback).

What transferable skills are the most important for a successful customer service rep?

Communication skills, problem-solving abilities, interpersonal skills, empathy and patience, adaptability, quick wit, and resilience are the most important for customer service roles.

Maja Stojanovic
A writer specialized in interview preparation and resume building. Spent 5+ years tirelessly seeking a meaningful, rewarding job. Which is exactly what I’ll help you find.

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