Interview Question: 'What Is Good Customer Service To You?'

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're interviewing for a customer service position, the interviewer might ask you what good customer service is to you. Your answer can give the interviewer an insight into your work ethic, experiences in customer service and your personality in general. Given its importance, it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with the different ways of answering this question in preparation for your interview. In this article, we explain the significance of this question, the different ways of answering it and provide some examples.

Related: 31 Common Interview Questions and Answers (With Tips)

What is good customer service?

Customer service refers to the policies and actions that a company takes to ensure that its customers and clients are satisfied with the products or services they purchase. When done well, customer service is an ongoing process that ensures customer satisfaction at all phases of their interaction with the business, from first contact to final purchase and beyond. Customer service is vital for businesses as it enables them to retain customers. Companies can provide it by ensuring user-friendly engagement and interaction platforms and through employee training policies.

Good customer service means that customers are more likely to return to the business, rate it highly on review sites and refer it to their friends and family. It can also increase their chances of making more purchases, as a happy customer is often more willing to spend money.

Related: Customer Service Skills: Examples, Definition and How to Demonstrate

Why do interviewers ask this question?

One of the most important reasons an interviewer asks this question is because of the company's own policies. The interviewer wants to see whether your work ethic and approach to customer service align with those of the company. In a more general sense, the interviewer wants to make sure that your approach is going to keep their customers happy. Successful and established companies spend a lot of time and resources on developing and maintaining a good brand reputation. Interviewers want to make sure that you can help them maintain and improve it.

Related: Top Customer Service Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

How to answer the question 'what is good customer service to you?'

Based on your relevant experiences, there are different ways you can answer 'what is good customer service to you?' You can use these individually, or use a combination of the three in your answer. Follow these steps to formulate an answer using each:

1. Talk about your beliefs and principles

The first and simplest way of answering this question is to give a general account of your guiding principles when it comes to customer service. Talk about what you believe is the right thing to do, why you believe this to be the case and how it would work in a customer interaction. This is a good way of approaching the question if you're interviewing for your first customer service job and lack experiences to use as examples.

A good idea would be to do some research into the company that's interviewing you. Check their website and social media pages, as you can often find out a lot about their approach to customer service this way. This can help you to align your answer with what the company is looking for and makes you appear diligent to the interviewer. It's usually best to follow this sort of explanation with a concrete example from your experiences, either as a customer or working in customer service.

2. Talk about your experiences as a customer

If you lack experience in customer service, this is a good way of including a concrete example in your answer. Almost everybody has had experiences of good customer service when they've been in contact with a business. This could be a restaurant, clothes shop or bank that made you feel valued and respected as a customer. Before your interview, try to recall some instances of good customer service that were noteworthy. You can narrow this list down to only include instances with businesses that were in the same industry as where you're applying.

Once you've got this narrowed list, try to determine what was so exceptional about these encounters. Find out what they had in common, or what a particular business did that was exceptional. This could involve a simple buying experience where you felt valued, or the resolution of an issue or query that was handled well. By identifying the precise actions that made the customer service so good, you can give a much clearer answer in the interview.

3. Talk about your experiences in customer service

If you already have some experience working in customer service, you have an additional option when answering this question. This is especially important if your potential employer expects you to have experience working in this sort of role. This might be while working in a business in the same sector as the one you're applying to, or a different one. What's important is to highlight how you ensured that a customer was satisfied and felt valued through a real example.

Select an example or two where you provided excellent customer service. Try to develop a brief list of the actions you took that ensured this, so that your answer remains clear and concise for the interviewer. Wherever possible, use examples that led to greater results for your business, such as customer referrals, positive reviews or returning customers.

Related: 10 Ways to Consistently Offer Good Customer Service

Example answers

You can use any mix of the three steps above to answer this question. What's important is to give a clear answer that reassures the interviewer that you're going to do a good job. Below are two examples of answers to this question, each using a different approach:

Example answer without customer service experience

'For me, good customer service means constantly surprising the customer by exceeding their expectations. It means doing more than the bare minimum to keep the customer happy, and always being willing to go that extra mile to ensure their satisfaction. I've always found that the individuals who try their best to be helpful in a difficult situation are the best examples of this.

For example, I once experienced a flight delay due to a storm, and was forced to seek accommodation near the airport to catch the next morning's flight. I went to the adjacent hotel, but they were fully booked because hundreds were in a similar situation. However, the receptionist informed me that the hotel and airline had been made aware of this and had contacted another nearby hotel and arranged a bus for the stranded passengers. They were very apologetic and went out of their way to make us feel valued, even though the storm was no fault of theirs.'

Example answer with customer service experience

'In my experience, good customer service is all about making customers feel supported, in addition to helping them find what they need. In my last role as a customer service representative at a bank, I knew that customers were often unsure about the best option for them or how to approach certain situations. I'd receive calls from customers thinking about starting a new account, needing a replacement card or asking about insurance. I found that asking a few questions and listening very attentively ensured that I knew precisely what they were looking for. This had a very positive effect.

For instance, I once had a potential customer on the line who was unsure about whether to open a savings or current account. He'd spoken to some of our competitors and received unclear answers. I told him that we believed in being open with our clients, and asked him some questions about his needs. I made sure to answer all his questions, and he said he wished all banks were this clear with him. He proceeded to open an account with us, and we subsequently received enquiries from family members he'd referred to us.'

Tips for answering this question

Below is a brief list of some tips to help you answer this question. Following these tips can make your answer more appealing to the interviewer:

  • Be positive: Wherever possible, use positive examples of customer service to give your explanation, rather than talking about how a negative experience could've been better.

  • Summarise: Prepare your answers in advance and break them up into clear parts. This ensures that your answers are sufficiently brief and show a clear personal approach.

  • Research: Doing some research into the company you're interviewing at can give you insights into what they're looking for. You can refer to this research, or any experience with them as a customer, in your answer.

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