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4 top tips when preparing for a customer service role interview

career tips Apr 29, 2024

Working in customer service can be a demanding profession – it requires a wide range of soft skills that will be honed and developed throughout your career.

You need a certain amount of resilience to be successful, and naturally, your communication skills need to be on point.

That’s why you can expect a rigorous examination of your personality and skill set at an interview for a customer service role: prospective employers will want to know you’re committed to the job, and up to the task at hand.

Regardless of whether it’s your first job interview or you’ve already gained years of experience, it’s no less important to ensure you’re properly prepared.

But what should your prep look like, and which areas do you need to focus on to give yourself the best chance at success?

In this post, we run through our top tips to support you next time you’re invited to an interview.

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Keep the job description to hand

Before thinking about answers to prospective questions or your motivations behind applying in the first place, it’s imperative that you fully understand the job role.

The responsibilities should be clearly outlined in the job description, and hiring staff will expect you to have a firm grasp of the scope of the role.

It’s worth keeping a copy of the job posting handy as you run through your preparations. This way, you can better align your research with the information you’ve been provided.

And, on interview day, you’ll be better prepared to field any questions related to the role itself, such as why you think you’d be a good fit.

Customer service roles can be extremely varied. Almost every sector involves some element of responding to customer queries, so this type of career can take you in many different directions. That’s why it’s important to fully understand what you’re applying for – each job description could be entirely different from the last. Don’t assume that the skills and experience needed for one role will be required for another; study the job description and focus your prep accordingly.

Prepare situational answers

Working in customer service often requires you to think on your feet to promptly solve customers’ problems.

To help hire managers get a better understanding of your competency in this area, they will often ask situational questions to see how you would react to certain queries or problems in the workplace. Examples of these questions include:

  • How would you deal with an aggressive customer?
  • How would you handle a technical query that you don’t know the answer to?
  • How would you respond to negative feedback from a customer?

While these questions are often framed prospectively, you can always draw on past experiences to give your answers more credibility. When faced with a situational question, it’s worth keeping the STAR (situation, task, action, result) method in mind.

This useful framework will help you structure your answers to keep them focused and to the point, while ensuring you aren’t omitting any key details from the answer.

Often, one situation or experience can be talked about in different ways to answer a range of questions, so it’s always a good idea to come prepared with a bank of relevant anecdotes you can call upon.

Customer service is still usually provided through traditional communication methods, but it’s by no means a sector that’s stuck in its ways.

In fact, it’s constantly evolving, leveraging new technologies to improve the quality of service and increase the quantity of queries a company can handle.

In recent years, one particular technology that’s become increasingly integral is artificial intelligence (AI). Automating customer service interactions not only frees up agents’ time, but it can also result in quicker conversions and more satisfied customers.

Modern employers will want to know that you’re not only aware of the current trends in the sector, but are adept at utilizing the latest technology that’s shaping the future of the profession.

You can highlight this by talking about past experiences where you’ve worked closely with tech to help manage your workload, as well as discussing anything you’ve done to stay abreast of the latest shifts in the industry towards particular tools or technologies.

Of course, it isn’t the only tool you’ll use in the role, but AI’s prominence in customer service can’t be ignored, and it’s unlikely to disappear any time soon, so be sure to brush up on this important topic before your next interview.

Ask the right questions

As you know, interviews aren’t a one-way transaction. As much as the interviewer needs to decide whether or not you’re a good fit for the company, you too need to consider whether or not the role and culture align with your wants and needs as an employee.

Asking questions at the interview demonstrates your interest in the position and wider industry, while also providing a good chance to show off another part of your communication toolkit.

Beyond that, it’s important to ask the right questions that will paint a clearer picture of exactly what you’re applying for. For example, you might be interested to understand what a typical day on the job will look like, as well as discerning how company policies influence the wider culture.

Practice makes perfect

It’s impossible to recreate real-life interview conditions at home, but that’s not to say you can’t walk into the room feeling completely prepared.

Equally, you can’t predict what questions the interviewer will ask, but practising your responses to some common questions and preparing diligently will help you to feel more confident, giving you a better chance at landing your next role.


Zoi Kotsou

Copywriter - Content writer - Content Strategist

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