To guarantee your success when interviewing for a customer service role, it is vital that you ace the interview question: “What does customer service mean to you?” This is one of the most common questions asked during interviews for service-related employment. Make sure that you can answer with clarity and confidence before entering an interview.
Here is your guide on how to successfully answer the interview question: “What does customer service mean to you?”
The Definition of Excellence in Customer Service
When considering this interview question, identify the key principles of good service. Customer’s service cannot be effective unless it is accessible, personalized, informative, and proactive.
Examine each of these principles and the role it plays in creating an excellent customer’s service experience.
Customers want access to a service representative in a way that is convenient for them. If support channels are hard to access, customers will be more aggravated when they do finally get to express their complaint or query. Poor accessibility to customer support channels makes the company’s trustworthiness and legitimacy questionable.
A personalized touch shows customers that your business values their support and cares about their satisfaction. Being attentive and showing empathy are vital in making the customer feel heard.
Being knowledgeable about the company’s products and services is key to helping solve customer queries. Competent support staff convey a level of expertise and the ability to solve a problem efficiently without unnecessary delays.
Taking action without delay to solve a customer’s problem is an important aspect of customer’s service. Being proactive involves:
- Communicating clearly with customers in a positive manner,
- Setting the correct expectations, and
- Delivering a desirable outcome to solve the problem at hand.
Why Employers Ask the Interview Question: “What Does Customer Service Mean to You?”
The biggest factor in a customer’s service experience is their interaction with the service staff. Although alignment and efficiency across the organization is required, the key to building long-term customer loyalty lies with a good support team. It is in every company’s interest to hire people who genuinely understand and care about customer satisfaction.
When you’re faced with the interview question: “What does customer service mean to you?” your interviewer wants to make sure that you:
- Are comfortable with an interaction-orientated role.
- Are aware that you represent the entire company.
- Understand the concepts of empathy, diplomacy, and efficiency.
- Are aware that customer loss or retention can hinge on your interactions with them.
What NOT to Say in an Interview
When asked what customer service means to you, don’t reply, “It means serving the customer”. This conveys little understanding of empathy, positive communication, and overall responsibility to both the company and the customer. Here are more types of answers to avoid during your interview.
Avoid implying that you are simply there to do your job.
Example: If you are applying for a cashier position do not imply that you are only there to ring up items according to the job description, and nothing more.
Steer clear of making your helpfulness conditional to the customer’s attitude.
Saying, “Customers who ask stupid questions annoy me,” does not display empathy, patience, or consistency.
Tips for Answering the Interview Question “What Does Customer Service Mean to You?”
In your response to the question “What does customer service mean to you?” you want to show that you:
1. Know what the elements of customer service entail
2. Truly grasp the concept and importance of customer service
You can accomplish this by:
- Including mention of a proactive and positive attitude, product knowledge, and efficiency in your answer.
- Back up your understanding by sharing your personal experience of being either on the giving or receiving end of excellent customer service and the impact it had.
5 Examples of How to Answer the Interview Question: “What Does Customer Service Mean to You?”
Use some of the examples below to answer the question: “What does customer service mean to you?” These answers indicate a proactive attitude and demonstrate that you take initiative. They are also effective as they show your willingness to accept responsibility.
Example 1: Going the Extra Mile
“Customer’s entails going beyond what is in the job description to exceed customer expectations. It requires answering questions with patience and resolving problems with a positive attitude. The priority is to encourage customer loyalty by offering a service which the customer feels is consistent and trustworthy.”
Example 2: Positive Attitude
“Customer service is largely about attitude. Even if you cannot solve the customer’s problem immediately, having a positive and caring attitude will make the customer feel heard. A good attitude is also about being a good listener, showing empathy, serving with a smile, and being patient.”
Example 3: Knowledge
“Customer service is about product knowledge and efficiency on the job. It is important to know the product or service well so that I can assist clients with confidence. It looks unprofessional when staff do not know details about what they are selling and cannot answer expected customer questions. Being able to advise customers with the best solutions in a knowledgeable manner will boost their confidence in you, your product, and your service.”
Example 4: Efficiency
“Great customer service entails delivering fast and efficient assistance, without compromising on quality. This also involves anticipating problems before they happen. For example, if I know the business will be busier over certain holidays, I will make sure that there are additional staff scheduled and that there is extra stock on hand.
This will allow for more efficient service and prevent customer disappointment. It is too easy for customers to simply choose another business if you cannot deliver the required service.”
Example 5: Focus on Details
“Besides aspects such as product knowledge, being friendly, and listening to the customer, customer service is also about the details. When I receive a complaint via email, I contact the customer by phone with detailed feedback. This makes customers feel that you are attentive and proactive in solving the problem.
I find that being personable and customizing my response to meet their needs solidifies a business relationship with the customer. Once the problem is addressed, I follow up one last time to ensure the client is satisfied.”
Got the job? Check out this audio tutorial to learn how to make a positive first impression at work and set yourself up for success!
Every employer looks for professional customer service skills when hiring new team members. In your interview, you will be asked the question “What does customer service mean to you?” In your answer, show that you understand:
- Your job is about portraying the company in a favorable light
- Your responsibility to know the company products and services
- The importance of showing patience and empathy
- The importance of listening to customers
- That clear, yet friendly communication is key, and
- That a sense of urgency in resolving problems is vital.
Now, go ace your interview!
CustomersFirst Academy offers comprehensive customer service training designed to help you grow your skills and advance your career.
To keep learning and developing your knowledge of customer service, we highly recommend the additional resources below:
How to Conduct a Reference Check After an Interview
How to Answer: “Do you want to tell us anything else about you?”
Top 10 Customer Service Rep Interview Questions
10 Transferable Retail Skills to Add to Your Resume