Job Interview Question

How do you deal with difficult customers?

How To Answer Interview Questions Series

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Dealing with difficult customers is a fact of life for a TON of jobs: sales reps, customer service reps, retail store clerks, receptionists, restaurant waitstaff, and a hundred other service-industry jobs.

The people in those roles are in the front lines. They are the face of their respective companies, and have a tremendous impact on the company’s image, which directly affects growth and revenue. You want your answer to make it very clear that you understand how important your role is and you take it very seriously.

You can absolutely tell a story about dealing with a particular difficult customer (what the situation was, how you handled it, what the results were) and if you happen to have a note from that customer or your supervisor in your brag book about the situation, that’s even better. There’s nothing more powerful than evidence that you can do what you say you can do.

But overall, you need to make sure that your customer service philosophy is clear, so your answer should sound like this: “I deal with difficult customers the same way I deal with easy customers. I want to make sure they have an exceptional experience with my company. I won’t let a customer say bad things about us, or things that aren’t accurate, but if we haven’t met their expectations, I want to take responsibility for that and see if I can fix it. If I can’t fix it, I still want to make the experience as positive as I can by doing something that would make up for the problem—maybe give them their money back, or provide some other benefit so that they exit that situation as happily as possible. I want to treat every customer as well as I’d treat my grandmother. ”

Do you see what this answer does? It lets them know that you take personal responsibility for your customers and their experience with the company. The reputation of the company will not suffer under your watch, because you will do what you need to do to. They can trust you, they can depend on you. It’s another selling point in your favor. And exponentially a stronger answer than: “I hand them off to my supervisor. “

Personal responsibility is a character trait in short supply these days, it seems. If your answer to this interview question highlights that quality in you, you will absolutely stand out from the crowd.

Want other ways to show the hiring manager what you’d be like on the job and convince them to hire you?  Bring a 30-60-90-day plan to your interview.


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