The question about customer service might be asked in many contexts. During casual conversation, at the beginning of a webinar, or in workshops. But, aditionally, “What does customer service mean to you” is a common job interview question.
Have you ever wondered how to answer this question to make the best impression on an interviewer? If this question makes you feel stressed, we’re glad to help you prepare your response satisfactorily! (for both you and your interviewer)
To clear all the doubts, let’s start with some basic information.
What is customer service?
Customer service is the advice and assistance a company provides to make a customer happy. It covers the full range of customer interactions with a company, from initial contact to solving the problem.
Good customer service:
- builds trust and loyalty between a company and its customers
- helps attract new customers
- retains current ones
- boosts sales
- provides a positive customer experience
These are just a few examples of customer service efforts.
Who can get asked this question?
It is a commonly asked question you can get during a job interview. HR team might check your attitude towards customer service and your knowledge about dealing with customers, for example, how to approach an angry customer.
So, if you’re about to apply for:
- customer service representative
- help desk representative
- customer success manager
- technical support specialist
- customer onboarding specialist
- customer service professional
- career coach
or any other types of customer service positions, this question may come up.
Why do interviewers want to know that?
There are many reasons why interviewers want to know that. But, whatever the reason might be, it’s always a good idea to prepare yourself for any scenario.
Interviewers might test your knowledge of customer service
It is possible that they want to know if you’re familiarized with the term customer service. When you’re stressed, it may seem that you know very little about the topic. But keep calm. All the information is in your head. It’s good to start from general concepts and then go specific. If you begin with some basic information about what customer service is, it might be easier to give interviewers more details as your speech goes on.
Interviewers want to know your customer service background
By asking what customer service means to you, your potential employer might deduce what background and personal experience you have.
Of course, customer service means different things to different people. To some, it may be providing polite and helpful support to customers who need assistance. To others, it might be going above and beyond to solve a customer’s problem.
Whatever your definition of customer service is, sharing your thoughts on what it means to you can give your potential employer an idea of your background and experience in the field.
To make sure your values match to company’s values
This question also hints at whether your values stick to the company’s values. It is probably one of the most vital aspects interviewers want to know about you.
Sharing the same values is also crucial for people in your team and the leader you will work with. For example, sharing the same values and having the same customer service policy might result in a unified approach to the customer and the other customer support team.
Different values and a different vision of customer service might be a deciding factor in rejecting potential candidates.
How to answer the question
If you’re not sure how to approach this question, we’ve compiled several tips that might help you to make possibly the best impression.
#1 Go an extra mile researching the company you’re applying to
Head the company’s website and research how the company approaches the customers. Check their Facebook page, LinkedIn, or any other social media they’re active on. Check how they write content, their tone of voice, what’s their customer service philosophy, and what values they imply. Also, check the customer feedback.
Also, see how website visitors and customers can reach out for help. For instance, do they provide a chatbot, a contact form, or maybe a helpdesk solution? Also, it’s good to know what benefits each solution offers.
For example, the helpdesk is a great way of resolving customer service issues quickly and efficiently. And Responso is a top-notch choice for managing customer queries and providing a personalized experience. Thanks to the features like:
- unlimited communication channels
- response templates
- unlimited integration
- reports and statistics on agents’ performance
- automatic replies
A client service team can turn dissatisfied customers into happy ones by helping with common issues immediately. Here is a complete list of Responso features.
#2 Prepare your own definition of excellent customer service
You may stand out from other candidates by answering what customer service is in an unusual way. Don’t learn definitions from the internet or dictionary by heart, but try to come up with your own.
When you don’t know how to start, think of how you want to:
- provide excellent customer service
- approach customers
- make them feel welcome
- increase customer loyalty
Maybe a good starting point would be analyzing poor customer service and what actionable steps you can take to prevent it.
#3 Make your interpersonal skills stand out
Customer service skills are predominantly interpersonal skills, so try to show them during the interview. Answering the question of what customer service means to you might also be treated as a presentation of the skills.
During the interview:
- Listen actively – when something is unclear, ask politely for clarification. Active listening is a very powerful tool!
- Look at the person talking to you – to show that you care what the person is saying and let the interviewer know about your engagement in conversation.
- Ensure that your interview answers relate to the questions – don’t change the topic.
- Try to speak clearly and logically – make an effort and make your response clear, and avoid mumbling.
- Make your interlocutor feel respected – respect is vital when interacting with others and helps to create a positive and productive conversation — for example, using active listening skills, sitting up straight, or minding your body language.
- Make your tone of voice neutral – when you’re stressed, it’s easy to sound unnatural (too serious or high-pitched), so keep it neutral.
Following the tips will highlight superb communication skills, especially in a customer-facing role.
#4 Show your extra knowledge about working with customers
While replying to customer support-related questions, you can base your answers on some extra information. For example, on the Three P’s of customer service.
There are many interpretations of The Three P’s of customer service. Some say it stands for product, price, and place. Others claim it refers to people, process, product or professionalism, problem-solving, and people-first approaches.
However, at its core, The Three P’s can be seen as a framework for delivering excellent customer service.
Let’s look at the example ⬇️
If you focus on:
- delivering a great product or service (the “P” in People)
- setting fair prices (the “P” in Price)
- making it easy for customers to find and buy what they need (the “P” in Place)
businesses can create a positive experience for their customers that will keep them coming back time after time.
The Three P’s can mean different things to different people depending on their individual experience and background. So, think of what resonates with you the most and let it be your reminder about what’s essential while working with customers.
#6 Give some real-life examples (if you have ones)
By explaining what customer service means to you, you may give some real-life examples from your former job. Think of any situation in which you managed to meet customer expectations. Also, try to imply in your answer your approach to customer service.
If you apply for a customer team leader position, you may also have questions about how to onboard your team. Here are some practical tips to clear your doubts about onboarding new team members.
How to onboard a customer service team?
Let’s move straight to the tips on onboarding new hires to deliver excellent services.
01 Make them feel welcome onboard
The first days are very often stressful. There is much information to process about the company, the team, and internal policies – just to name a few. So ensure them that you’re happy to answer their questions, share your product knowledge, and are ready to help anytime as a team leader. Try to be approachable.
02 Build relationships between new employees and leaders
Building relationships is crucial for the success of both groups. You, as a leader, need to take the time to get to know your new employees and learn what motivates them. For instance, it’s good to ask questions about their preferences or if they have any doubts. This approach will help create a bond.
New employees also need to try to get to know their leaders. They should ask questions about the company and what its goals are. Building relationships takes time, but it is worth the effort for everyone involved to succeed.
Besides, relationship-building may have a positive impact on the atmosphere at a workplace, which may improve employees’ performance.
03 Make sure they know the tools
As a customer service team leader, ensure that everyone can leverage their working tools. Knowing the tools (like communication channels) and the product your company delivers is crucial in providing quality customer service.
The dedicated team for solving the problem should know how all the tools work. And your role as a leader is to schedule a meeting or workshop so that everyone is prepared.
04 Describe your company’s values and internal policies
Having the same values is very important once you build a strong customer service team. Everyone in your department needs to share the same values to create a strong foundation for providing good customer care. It also helps to build trust with customers, as they know that every team member has the same customer approach and shares the same values.
Additionally, having clear policies and the best examples of vision statements for your company in the workplace can help reduce employee confusion and misunderstandings. When everyone understands the company’s expectations and procedures, it makes it easier for them to do their jobs correctly and efficiently.
05 Train staff on handling different types of customer inquiries
If you’re applying for a leadership position, educating your team on how to handle customers’ queries and prevent delivering a negative experience is essential.
With all this information provided to new employees and, more importantly, the opportunity to practice what they have learned, companies can ensure that their customers receive the best possible service.
06 Monitor their onboarding process
Track your team process using basic metrics during the onboarding process. It will hint at how new hires perform and what needs improvement to make the onboarding process smoother.
One important metric to track is how quickly new employees can get up to speed and start contributing productively. You can use this metric to measure the effectiveness of your onboarding process and make changes if necessary.
Another critical metric is employee engagement; you want to ensure everyone on the team is excited about their work and feels engaged in their role. Tracking employee satisfaction can help you identify any problems early on before they have a chance to become major issues. Set long-term objectives and key results (OKRs) regarding employee satisfaction levels and strive to meet them.
🚀 All those tips might help you and your team to turn an unhappy customer into a happy customer. 🚀
Same customer service interview question, but asked in different ways
It may happen that you would get slightly or totally different questions, but their point is still to get to know what customer service means to you. Also, such a question may work as a confirmation of what you’ve said before. For example:
- What’s your attitude towards customer service?
- How do you define bad customer service
- Who is a loyal customer to you?
- How to improve customer experience?
- How to make an upset customer a happy one?
- What did you do in your previous role?
Those are only examples, just to hint that such a situation may happen and “what does customer service mean to you” question can asked in various specific ways.
Common interview questions
There are a few questions that we researched thoroughly. The answers, and additional helpful information, are in the articles below.
So if you want to surprise your interviewer with a customer service role by going the extra mile with reading, click on the question.
To summarize: What Does Customer Service Mean To You?
It’s hard to say there’s a correct reply to “what does customer service mean to you” question. Nevertheless, it is always best to provide an honest answer and enrich your knowledge in any field. So why not do this in regards to customer service?
Before applying to one of the customer service jobs, it’s good to do some research. You can cover many topics – live chat, chatbots, call centers, email marketing, customer engagement rate, or extra helpful helpdesk (like Responso). So, take the extra step and read about delivering a positive customer experience before answering interview questions. Good luck!