If you are applying for the position of Customer Service/Customer Support, these interview questions and answers will help you prepare for you interview. Let's begin!

1. Briefly explain what you mean by customer service and customer support.

Customer service refers to the part of a business which attends to the needs of its customers. Customer service or customer care teams not only provide assistance but also ensure customer satisfaction and customer retention for the company.

Meanwhile, customer support is a narrower term which refers to the personnel who help customers with technical issues such as the use, maintenance, troubleshooting, and upgrading of the company’s products.

2. How would you define good customer service?

Possible answer 1:

Good customer service does not only mean that the customer receives a solution to his/her problems but that the solution is delivered with kindness, patience, and respect. The behaviour of the agent is just as necessary as having the right answers to a customer's questions.

Possible answer 2:

Customer service caters not just to the customers but also to the company. Thus, in my opinion, good customer service would include satisfying the customers' immediate needs as well as ensuring that the company does not lose its valuable customers along the way.

3. How important is good customer service for a brand or company?

Possible answer 1:

A business cannot function without its customers. Since customer service teams are often the first point of contact, good service is crucial. It can totally make or break a customer's opinion about a business or brand.

Possible answer 2:

It has been proven that it is far more economical to retain existing customers as compared to acquiring new ones. Customers can be acquired through good marketing practices and quality products. However, they can only be convinced to stay by great customer service. Thus, a business can go a long way with skilled customer service personnel.

4. Name a business which you think has mastered the delivery of good customer support/service.

For this answer, you may mention any one or two businesses with good customer satisfaction rates and elaborate on them. You can either draw from available and reliable statistics of large companies (e.g. Amazon, Microsoft, Vodafone, etc.) or speak about a smaller business you have dealt with personally.

Possible answer:

{Name of Company} is renowned globally for its customer service. Their high customer satisfaction rates have been consistent, and they have topped indexes and won awards for the same in the recent past. In my personal experience too, I have received great customer support from their team in {place} and heard nothing but praise from friends and colleagues as well.

5. Define the terms CSAT and NPS.

CSAT and NPS are both measurable values indicating customer satisfaction. CSAT stands for Customer Satisfaction Score, while NPS means Net Promoter Score. NPS is a more specific value since it reflects customer loyalty based on how likely they are to recommend the company's products or services to others.

6. What is customer lifetime value or LTV? How can a skilled customer service representative (CSR) ensure higher LTVs?

Customer lifetime value (LTV) is a measure of the revenue that a customer can be predicted to generate throughout his/her relationship with a business. It helps a business to focus on building healthy and long-term relations with their customers. By providing good and timely customer service and maintaining high satisfaction rates, skilled CSRs can have a very positive impact on LTVs.

7. What is customer churn rate? How is customer service related to it?

Churn rate refers to the number or percentage of customers that a business loses over a period of time. Besides faulty products or services, bad customer service can be a major contributor to a high churn rate.

8. Do you think an organisation should prioritise the production and sales of its products/services over maintaining a good customer service department?

Possible answer:

A business should definitely pay attention to producing and providing goods or services of the finest quality. But, a strong customer service team is just as necessary to fulfill the needs which arise after a product or service has been delivered. Good customer service, along with the invaluable feedback which comes with it, is essential for the growth and development of a brand or company, no matter how well-established it might be.

9. “The customer is always right” – do you believe in this adage?

Possible answer:

While the word of a customer should always be held in the highest regard by a business and its employees, I acknowledge that there are times when a customer may be ill-informed or behave unreasonably. However, I also believe that to err is human, and no customer should suffer even if there are mistakes made on their end.

10. What is the best way to deal with an angry or abusive customer?

Possible answer:

The first step in dealing with an upset customer is to remain calm. Under no circumstance should the CSR lose his/her patience and professionalism. It is important to remember that customers losing their temper is a normal occurrence and that their words should not be taken as a personal insult. Instead, a CSR should be polite, apologise to diffuse the situation and try to resolve the issue at hand as quickly as possible.

11. Suppose you do not know the answer or solution to a customer’s queries. How would you handle that situation?

Possible answer:

I would apologise and politely ask the customer for time so I can check with my resources or colleagues. While it can be embarrassing to not have a quick reply at hand, I value the quality of the information I provide. If, however, I find myself completely incapable of offering a solution, I would transfer the query to a more able person in the team so the customer does not leave without an answer.

12. What is ticket routing?

Ticket routing is the process of choosing the agent who will handle a particular customer request. It may depend on the priority status of the ticket, the skill and seniority levels of the CSRs, and current workloads. Strategic ticket routing can benefit both CSRs and customers.

13. How is a contact center different from a call center?

A contact center is a centralised point where communication with customers is handled. While contact centers use a multi-channel approach to customer service through mediums like phone calls, emails, web-based calls, web chats, social media, etc., call centers only operate via telephone. In other words, a call center is a specific type of contact center.

14. What is the first call/contact resolution? How important is it in your opinion?

First call/contact resolution is the complete and satisfactory handling of a customer's issues during his/her first contact with the service or support team. Since the person does not need to call further or follow up, it is important not only as a mark of respect for a customer's time but also as a measure of a company's efficiency and management.

15. What are the differences between first reply time, talk time, and average handle time?

First reply time refers to the seconds which pass between the moment a customer ticket is generated and a CSR's first response, while talk time is the amount of time the CSR spends in talking to the customer. The average handle time is a total of the time taken by a CSR to resolve an issue, including his/her talk time and hold time.

16. Are shorter talk times equal to good customer service?

Shorter talk times do not necessarily mean good customer service, especially if they are not accompanied by high first call resolution rates and customer satisfaction rates.

17. Since time is important for a CSR, how do you make decisions about the information you give to a customer?

Possible answer:

I am very aware of the time-sensitive nature of the job and strictly stick to conveying only the most essential and useful information to customers on a call/chat. If a customer has issues with a product, I explain procedures as systematically as possible. If there are multiple issues at hand, I make it a point to deal with them one at a time. In my experience, that does not confuse the customer, saves time, and increases the chances of a first contact resolution.

18. How sensitive are you to language or accent differences while dealing with customers on chat or call?

Possible answer:

I understand that customer bases can be immensely diverse and complex, and part of my job is to treat every individual fairly and with respect. In case, I cannot understand what a customer is saying or writing, I will always ask them to clarify and try my best to comprehend them. I believe it is better to take my time understanding them, instead of rushing through with incorrect solutions or being rude.

19. Suppose you are aware of a certain malfunction in the company’s products. How do you deal with complaints about that?

Possible answer:

Firstly, I would familiarise myself fully with the products and their issues so I am better prepared. Secondly, I would empathise with the customer and offer an apology and possible solutions. I would gracefully accept any blame, but also be careful not to speak against my employer in an attempt to appease the customer.

20. How important is the presence of customer support on social media for a company?

Possible answer:

With most social media communications functioning through features like tagging and instant messaging, businesses can really benefit from placing active and responsive customer service on social media portals. It speeds up the process of receiving and responding to feedback while showing the customer that the company is tech-friendly and up-to-date.

21. With companies seeking to reduce costs and adopt new technology, automated responses, and customer self-service portals are gaining popularity. What is your opinion on that?

Possible answer:

Automated responses and self-service are only useful for petty or common issues. They can reduce the workload of agents, but CSRs cannot be completely left out of the equation. In my opinion, people still prefer calling up tech support or sending a quick email to customer care.

22. What is meant by a CRM tool or software? Are you familiar with any?

CRM software are the applications used in Customer Relationship Management. They help agents and businesses with managing resources, customer data, clients and contacts, supply chain processes, etc. Some popular CRM tools in the industry are HubSpot, Zoho, Salesforce, and Freshsales.

23. How valuable is a well-kept database or record of customer information and feedback?

Possible answer:

They are immensely valuable for CSRs. They not only help with solving issues at hand for particular customers but also provide wider insights which are useful for data analysis and tracking trends.

24. Give us an example of a time you received good customer service. What can you learn from that instance as a CSR?

For this answer, you may mention any relevant instance of dealing with a company’s customer service on your own. Try to remember the positives of your experience and mention as many learning points as you can.

Possible answer 1:

I learned how patience accompanied by polite language can go a long way in dealing with agitated customers. The agent who helped me did not lose his/her calm and professionalism even once.

Possible answer 2:

It was impressive how well-informed and articulate the agent was. He/she answered all my questions about the product in one phone call/chat session without making me wait on the line.

Possible answer 3:

The support team worked together to deliver/reissue the product as quickly as they could and my problem was solved in just two days. It was great to see and learn from such an effective and dedicated customer service.

25. Why do you want to work for this company?

It is best to do some company research for this answer and use specific and relevant examples in your answer.

Possible answer:

Your reputed company has a stellar record of delivering only the best to the customer in terms of both product and service. I have looked into the history as well as recent past of this company, and it is truly astounding how it has served its customers and sustained itself with their goodwill. It will be a privilege to work and contribute to such an environment and learn the ropes of great customer service here.

26. What are the qualities that would make you an asset to our customer service team?

Possible answer 1:

I understand the role of a CSR very well. I have an innately positive and empathetic nature, which I believe makes me approachable and people-friendly. Besides, I have always had a passion for helping others and an instinct for quick problem-solving.

Possible answer 2:

I have demonstrated excellent communication skills and conflict resolution in my previous job. I am a fast learner, and my training has equipped me with the confidence and patience required for a customer service job. Moreover, I am a good team player and always pay equal attention to the customer and the company.

Also read: How to answer 'what are your strengths and weaknesses'

27. How do you usually respond to negative feedback or criticism, be it from customers or teammates?

Possible answer:

I take it in my stride instead of taking it to heart. I believe there is always a learning opportunity in a negative review or comment, and I do my best to use it to improve on myself and my work.

28. Are you a good team player? How would you deal with a colleague who is behaving unethically to secure customer satisfaction or gain personal profit?

Possible answer:

I work well in teams and enjoy their professional support and camaraderie in the workplace. I take care to learn through participating in group work and make positive contributions.

As for the situation about a colleague’s unethical practices, my first step would be to make him/her understand the consequences of his actions. If I cannot convince him/her of mending his/her ways, then I will report it discreetly to a superior – not out of spite, but as a concerned employee of the company.

Also read: How to answer 'what is the difference between group and team'

Customer service HR interview questions and answers

Here are some questions that you can expect in your customer service HR interview round.

29. Would you ever put the customer’s needs over company policies? What is your take on the ethics of rule-breaking if/when it comes to solving a customer’s problems?

Possible answer 1:

I understand that sometimes rules can be tweaked to offer a faster or easier solution. But even though I am new on the field, I have resolved never to compromise on my ethics to earn a quick buck. I would rather fail a customer once, than fail myself.

Possible answer 2:

As an experienced CSR, I am always willing to go an extra mile to help out any customers, but take care not to stray too far. It is very important to me that I do what is right and not put my own or my employer’s integrity at stake.

30. What do you like about being a CSR?

Possible answer 1:

I like the fact that it is a people-facing job and deals with active communication and problem-solving. Dealing with issues first-hand and resolving them is not just satisfying, but also helps build management skills.

Possible answer 2:

The growth opportunities in customer service really excite me. I can start as a complete beginner and learn the ropes on the job. Secondly, as my experience with the company grows, I can expect to be a more valued asset.

31. What do you dislike about working in customer service?

Possible answer:

Customer service comes with a fair amount of stress and frustration, thanks to heavy volume of calls, difficult customers, long hours or repetitive work. Besides these, I am also concerned about outsourcing and automation threatening the customer service industry right now.

32. Where do you see yourself five years down the line?

Possible answer 1:

I would like to take on additional roles and responsibilities as I grow with the business. I would love to explore options within the company and branch out into sales somewhere in the future.

Possible answer 2:

My first priority is to build experience and move up to leadership roles within the department. Later on, if I can prove my capabilities, I would like to see myself in serious managerial positions.

33. Do you have any questions for me?

You can ask questions such as:

  1. What are you looking for in a customer service agent for your team?
  2. What sort of training do you provide your customer service agents?
  3. How up to date are your customer service tools and systems?
  4. How does the company ensure that the workload of each CSR remains manageable?
  5. What sort of daily schedule do you expect your CSRs to follow?
  6. How common would long working hours or night-shifts be for me?

Tips for answering customer service interview questions

Here are a few tips to help you prepare better for your interview.

Also read: How to get a job as a fresher

1. Familiarise yourself with the business

Find out as much as you can about the organisation you are seeking to join. Do company research on products and services and the functions and performance of its customer service department. This will give you a fair idea about what to expect and what your interviewer might be expecting from you.

2. Brush up basics

There are a lot of terms and concepts related to the area of customer service. The same might also apply for any technical areas you are expected to specialise in. Try to remember such terminology in your own words instead of memorising words.

3. Speak from experience

Using examples from your daily life and previous jobs can always make your answers more impressive. It shows the interviewers that you like to engage with people and learn from those interactions, which is a necessary trait for CSRs.

4. Maintain objectivity

Since customer service involves a lot of one-on-one interactions, it is essential to maintain objectivity and a certain distance from any personal remarks or offenses. Take care not to speak ill of anyone while you answer questions – especially of any former customers or colleagues.

5. Be polite and articulate

For your interviewers, the way you speak and behave can be a reflection of how you will perform as a customer service agent. Thus, it is important to keep your speech clear and your behaviour professional to reassure your interviewers that their customers will be receiving the same from you.

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