What does customer service mean to you? Better yet, what does great customer service mean to you? I think about the time I ordered sunglasses and received the wrong color. Before I could even complain, I received an apology email and the correct product within days. I also got to donate the other sunglasses to a charity of my choice. Nice. If you're interviewing for a customer service role, it's a good idea to start thinking about how you'd characterize the value of customer service. Because chances are high that this question will come up. Let's tackle how you can crush this question during your next interview. Just about any professional in the field will need to be prepared to answer what customer service means to them. There are many different customer service career paths out there. And you'll probably encounter this question if you're interviewing for any position that directly (or indirectly) impacts customers.
What does customer service mean to you?
Who Gets Asked This Question
What does customer service mean to you? Better yet, what does great customer service mean to you?
I think about the time I ordered sunglasses and received the wrong color. Before I could even complain, I received an apology email and the correct product within days. I also got to donate the other sunglasses to a charity of my choice. Nice.
If you're interviewing for a customer service role, it's a good idea to start thinking about how you'd characterize the value of customer service. Because chances are high that this question will come up.
Let's tackle how you can crush this question during your next interview.
Just about any professional in the field will need to be prepared to answer what customer service means to them.
There are many different customer service career paths out there. And you'll probably encounter this question if you're interviewing for any position that directly (or indirectly) impacts customers.
Here are a few job titles this applies to:
- Customer service representative
- Help desk agent or associate
- Customer success manager
- Technical support specialist
- Customer onboarding specialist
Why Interviewers Want to Know
Testing your Customer Service Knowledge
When interviewers ask "What does customer service mean to you?" or "What does great customer service mean to you?", the first thing they're trying to assess is how familiar you are with the term.
Hiring managers want to see that you can confidently define customer service. They want to understand the value you place on good service. Then, interviewers want you to go one step further and personalize it based on your experience.
Inquiring About Your Customer Service Background
Speaking of, experience is a key staple in any conversation between an applicant and potential employer. During an interview, the hiring manager is also asking this question to simply learn more about you and your customer service expertise.
It's a good sign if you can easily pull customer service skills, responsibilities, and real-life examples into your answer.
For example, give an overview of a day-in-the-life in your previous customer service role. You could highlight how you delightfully interacted with customers, swiftly organized your time, or resolved customer issues with ease.
Ensuring Your Values Align With The Company
This is arguably the most important reason you'll be asked the famous "What does customer service mean to you?" question in an interview. Prospective employers want to make sure your vision of customer service aligns with their expectations as an organization.
Businesses want to hire customer service professionals who strive to provide excellent customer experiences. They want to make sure you're capable of representing the company well and creating a positive brand reputation for their customers.
How to Prepare Your Answer
Research the Company's Customer Service Philosophy
The first step in giving your best "What does great customer service mean to you?" answer is understanding what customer service means to the company you're interviewing for.
Do some digging to find out. You can start by asking the following questions:
- How does customer service fit into the company's overall mission statement?
- Does the company have a dedicated customer service promise or policy?
- How does the company position its customer service capabilities compared to competitors?
The goal is to identify their core messaging around customer service. Be sure to take note of any buzzwords — like fast, reliable, efficient, caring, or honest. Then, do your best to incorporate this information into your response during the interview.
Highlight Important Customer Service Skills
As mentioned above, a big reason hiring managers are asking you this question is to tease out your customer service skills. And this is your opportunity to brag a little. Humbly, of course.
For example: Empathy, patience, and flexibility are critical skills that any customer service professional should have.
You could talk about how you rank these skills based on level of importance. Or, discuss the importance of showcasing these qualities when providing customer support.
Another option is to provide a situational example of how you used a particular skill to improve the customer experience in a previous job. Maybe there's a time when you spoke with an upset customer, and you patiently listened to their pain points until you found a solution to their problem.
Either way, make sure you emphasize skills that are specific to the position you're applying for. That way, you can show the hiring manager you really are a good fit for the role.
Tie in Your Own Customer Experiences
Make things personal. Remember, the question is all about what customer service means to you. A good way to illustrate this is to pull from your own experiences.
As a customer, you may think of good customer service as speedy resolutions, minimal wait times, and timely communications. Maybe you had a really good interaction with a support rep at a retail store recently that you can dissect as an example of great customer service.
As a customer service professional, you may dig a little deeper to consider how you've advocated for and provided value to the customer in the past. Perhaps you talked a customer out of switching to a competitor by listening to their concerns and going out of your way to resolve their issue.
Just be sure to avoid vague scenarios and examples. Give specific details about the situation, how it made you feel, why it stood out to you, and what you brought to the table. And don't forget to be clear about the results.
Best Answer for 'What Does Customer Service Mean to You?'
The best answer to this question is centered around solving for customer needs — and exceeding their expectations. The hiring team wants to understand the value you place on great customer service. Give specific examples to showcase how your skills and experiences align with the company's customer service philosophy.
Additional Examples of Interview Answers
Our first example comes from Vinnie Ledonne, a customer success manager at HubSpot:
"I think customer service is anticipating your customer's needs — oftentimes, for things they don't even know they need. And, [it means] providing support in a way that they know you care about what's important to them."
Why it works: This answer speaks to two very important customer service skills: proactivity and empathy. Many employers are going to find value in applicants who can figure out what a customer needs before they even have to ask. And showing compassion goes a long way in making customers feel like they're more than just a price tag.
"Customer service means listening to customers and helping them resolve their issues quickly. There was this one time when I bought cupcakes for a friend's birthday party and accidentally ordered them from the wrong bakery. I didn't have time to go to the other location before the party, so the bakery went above and beyond to create a new cupcake assortment in real-time. This experience made me feel understood and extremely valued. And this is how I strive to make my customers feel in every interaction I have with them."
Why it works: Personal experience for the win. This is a great example of how real-world examples can help speak to the customer service skills that are most important to you — like compassion and efficiency regarding the cupcake order. The added bonus is the way the applicant weaves this experience into how they aim to please customers as part of their own job.
HubSpot's Senior Customer Success Manager Sarah Caruthers gave us another example of what customer service means to them:
"It's solving for the customer in a variety of ways but also stewarding the relationship with the customer for long-term success. It's paying attention to the little details that will go a long way, that make the experience more personalized for the customer. It's those little things that will mean a lot to your customer and speak volumes for your business."
Why it works: Building and maintaining relationships with customers is a key responsibility for any customer service professional. And finding ways to personalize the experience is a great way to make customers feel like they matter as individuals. This answer speaks to both of these aspects of customer service while recognizing that attention to detail is a critical part of success.
"When I think of customer service, two words come to mind: speed and reliability. I know your company mission statement is focused on providing fast and dependable solutions for your clients. At my last job, I set a personal goal to resolve or properly escalate all customer inquiries in 30 minutes or less. That's because I understand the importance of addressing customer requests quickly and effectively to help prevent churn."
Why it works: In addition to explicitly calling out two valuable customer service skills, this answer also shows the interviewer that the applicant has done their research on the company. They know all about the mission, and they've tailored their response accordingly. They folded in a personal example on how they've embodied the traits that are most important to the business. Plus, they showed they understand what can happen if customer service fails.
So, what does customer service mean to you? The short answer — after the long answer — is that you should base your response on your knowledge, skills, and experiences. And, how your perspective aligns with the customer service values of your future employer.
Now, go out and nail this question during your next interview.
What does customer service mean to you interview answers? ›
The short answer is, “making sure the customer is happy.” A longer answer is, “ensuring the customer or client is satisfied with the product or service provided.” Your interviewer wants to know what you consider quality customer service. They also want to know how you are willing to provide service to customers.What does good customer service mean to you best answer? ›
Good customer service means consistently meeting customers' expectations. Great customer service is quick, easy, personalized, and empathetic. Companies that deliver excellent customer service take the time needed to understand the needs of their unique customer base.What does customer service mean to you give an example? ›
Examples of the Best Answers
Customer service involves being a kind, courteous, and professional face for the company. It also involves listening carefully to customer wants and concerns. Beyond listening, customer service is doing everything in one's power to efficiently and accurately serve each customer.
- Ask Good Questions. Remember, interviews should be two-way discussions. ...
- Be Decisive and Flexible. ...
- Use Their Language. ...
- If You Don't Know, Ask for Clarification. ...
- Tell Them You Want the Job. ...
- Be a Good Communicator. ...
- Be Energetic. ...
- Communicate You are a Good Culture Fit.
An excellent customer service experience example is to hand-write a thank you message when a customer orders online. You can find other ways to welcome new customers if a hand-written note doesn't fit. You might send a personalized welcome email, call a new customer or record a brief video welcome for each client.Why should we hire you best answers for customer service? ›
"Because I have the experience and expertise in the area of customer support that is required in this position." This is a time to let the customer (the interviewer) know what your product and (YOU) can do for them and why they should listen to what you have to offer.What are the 3 most important things in customer service? ›
Essentially, the 3 important qualities of customer service center around three “p”s: professionalism, patience, and a “people-first” attitude. Although customer service varies from customer to customer, as long as you're following these guidelines, you're on the right track.Why should we hire you example? ›
For starters, I have all the skills and experience listed in the job description, and I'm confident that I can make an immediate impact on your company. It's not just my background in leading successful projects for Fortune 500 companies, but also my passion for the industry that drives me to succeed.Can you give me a few example of good customer service? ›
What are some examples good customer service? In retail, examples good customer service include remembering and appreciating repeat customers, forging a local connection with shoppers, putting your product knowledge to good use, and more. Read on below to discover what you can do to level up your customer strategies.Can you give me an example of when you have provided customer service? ›
I spoke to my manager to determine our options and my manager gave me the approval to give the guests an available room. I also offered the guests free room service for the inconvenience of having to wait for a hotel room. The guests were so satisfied that they left a glowing review online after their stay."
How do you answer good customer service examples? ›
When using this type of response, be sure to provide specific examples of what the customer service provider did and why it left a positive impact: “Good customer service means consistently exceeding customer expectations and going out of your way to help people solve their problems.What is a good example of customer service interview question? ›
General and Common Customer Service Interview Questions
What does good customer service mean to you? What's the best customer service you've ever received? What do you consider to be the most important skills when providing customer service? How do you ensure you maintain good communication with every customer?
Here's what this might look like: “To me, customer service means ensuring that the client or customer has the best experience possible. I've learned that by listening to the customer's desires, concerns, and perspective, I'm able to figure out the best way to solve any issues that come up.How do I sell myself in a customer service interview? ›
- Find Out Who You'll Be Talking To. ...
- Ask Good Questions. ...
- Practice Talking About Yourself. ...
- Study the Main Points You Want to Mention. ...
- Show Them That You're Excited About the Position. ...
- Give Examples of What You've Achieved. ...
- Keep the Needs of the Company in Mind.
- I listened carefully to what the customer had to say.
- I apologised and empathised with their situation.
- I confirmed my understanding of their concern.
- I took responsibility to resolve the issue.
- Decide what you can do. Pinpoint which parts of the situation you have the power to change or influence for the better. ...
- Get support. Find someone to talk to about your situation. ...
- Care for yourself. Take especially good care of yourself when stress in your life is high.
“I see this opportunity as a way to contribute to an exciting/forward-thinking/fast-moving company/industry, and I feel I can do so by/with my …” “I feel my skills are particularly well-suited to this position because …” “I believe I have the type of knowledge to succeed in this role and at the company because …”Why am I interested in this position? ›
Example: "I'm interested in this job because I can see that, in this role, my skills could help solve this problem within your company. I also see an opportunity for me to learn and grow these skills, so we both would benefit personally, professionally, and financially.How do you handle an angry customer? ›
- Stay calm. ...
- Shift your mindset. ...
- Acknowledge their distress. ...
- Introduce yourself. ...
- Learn about the person you are talking to. ...
- Listen. ...
- Repeat their concerns back to the customer. ...
- Sympathize, empathize and apologize.
- Great Communication Skills. ...
- Creative Problem Solving. ...
- Emotional Intelligence (Empathy) ...
- Attention to Detail. ...
- Persistent and Consistent. ...
- Patience. ...
- Self-Awareness. ...
- Lack of Knowledge.
What are the 3 A's in customer service? ›
The three A's are for when you mess up—and that's why they're so hard for most businesses to swallow, because business people tend to like to avoid the hard part: apologizing. But here's where you get the magic formula, and it goes like this: acknowledge, apologize, act.What can you bring to the company? ›
How to (and how not to) answer the interview question 'What can you bring to the company?' The simple answer to this question is you : you bring all of your skills, qualities, values, interests, academic knowledge, internships and life experience to the company.How do you see yourself 5 years from now? ›
I would like to be financially independent and gain more time-to-time knowledge in the company's goals. And to get a respected position that is my future endeavour to easy. As a person, I want to be a more skilled, more capable person. As a professional, I see myself as handling more responsibilities.What is excellent customer service to? ›
Excellent customer service means going beyond meeting your customer's basic needs. It involves much more than providing support in a timely and pleasant manner. More importantly, it means doing everything possible so your customers are not merely satisfied.How do you greet customers? ›
The best way to greet customers is with a smile and by making eye contact. You should also use the customer's name if you know it, and be prepared to help the customer find what they are looking for. If you can make the customer feel welcome and appreciated, they are more likely to return in the future.How can I impress in interview? ›
- Be passionate. Have a positive attitude and be enthusiastic when talking about yourself and your career. ...
- Sell yourself. ...
- Tell stories. ...
- Ask questions. ...
- Ask for the job.
We could define quality customer service as: “The act of taking care of the customer's (internal and external) needs, by providing and delivering professional, helpful, high quality service and assistance before, during, as well as after the customer's requirements are met.” Hence, providing 5-star customer service ...What do you like about customer service interview answer? ›
What do you enjoy about customer service? It's important for customer service reps to be empathetic and people-oriented. Good answers might include “I like talking to people and finding out about their lives” or “I love the feeling of helping somebody solve a problem they're having.”What does customer first mean to you? ›
What is the meaning of “customer first“? Putting the customer first means putting the needs of customers above anything else. When a company puts the customer first, they put the customer at the center of everything they do.What is customer service experience to you? ›
Customer service experience is the overall experience of a customer based on interaction with a company's sales, support and service teams before, during and after a purchase.
How can I describe my customer service skills? ›
Examples: Took great pride in ensuring positive overall customer experience. Customer-focused approach to trouble shooting, resolving problems and ensuring repeat business. Responsible for managing customer expectations in delivering superior levels of service.What are 3 important qualities of customer service? ›
Essentially, the 3 important qualities of customer service center around three “p”s: professionalism, patience, and a “people-first” attitude. Although customer service varies from customer to customer, as long as you're following these guidelines, you're on the right track.What are the four principles of good customer service? ›
Principles of good customer service. Listening, understanding your customer's needs, thanking the customer and promoting a positive, helpful and friendly environment will ensure they leave with a great impression.What is customer service and good first impression? ›
A professional attitude and appearance is a very important element to a good first impression. That is usually distinguished by being appropriate in language and behavior, being credible and honest, and caring to help your customers. An appropriate language will get you a long way.What is customer first golden rule? ›
In spite of all the noise and hype involving customer service these days, it truly boils down to one simple, age-old truth, often referred to as the Golden Rule: "Treat others as you would want to be treated."How would you handle a difficult customer situation? ›
- Keep your communication professional.
- Remain calm and collected.
- Speak softly.
- Practice active listening.
- Give them time to talk.
- Understand the customer's point of view.
- Assess their needs.
- Seek a solution.
Clear Communication Skills
This may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many customers struggle to communicate with their customer service representative. In fact, 33% of clients say that efficiently answering questions is the most important skill that a customer service agent can have.