How to Best Answer: “What Does Customer Service Mean to You?”

When applying for a customer service job, one question is almost inevitable: “What does customer service mean to you?”

It’s a reasonable question. If a company is going to trust you to represent their clients well, they’ll want to know your overall philosophy on interacting with and serving customers.

Fortunately, you don’t have to come up with an answer on the spot. Since you know the interviewer will probably ask a question along these lines, you can prepare an answer beforehand that accurately represents your feelings and makes you look like an appealing candidate.

“What Does a Customer Mean to You” Answer

Most good answers for “what does a customer mean to you?” will consist of three parts about what you can offer as a customer service representative: a straightforward statement of purpose, an explanation of how to accomplish that purpose, and examples of past experience. Here are a couple of options to base your answers off of when answering the question.

State the Purpose of Customer Service

First, give an answer that outlines your overall philosophy and feelings about customer service.

Creating Loyal Customers Through Satisfying, Helpful Interactions

When thinking about customer service positions, it’s easy to forget the actual purpose of the role, to turn one-time customers into long-term customers and to get repeat customers to stick around.

You can start your answer with something like: Customer service is about facilitating satisfying, helpful interactions to help create and maintain loyal customers.

Representing the Values and Brand of Clients in Each Phone Call

Interviewers for call center companies want to know that you’re going to provide customers with quality interactions that are unique to each of their clients. They aren’t looking for employees who will treat customers from different clients exactly the same. Customers don’t want canned, insert-a-client interactions.

You might say something like: Customer service is about creating a unique, positive interaction with the customer that represents the values and brand of each client.

Explain How to Accomplish the Purpose

Next, you’ll want to establish that you know how to accomplish your stated purpose. It’s not enough to know the right answer; you need to know how to accomplish that level of customer service in each and every phone call.

Creating Loyal Customers Through Satisfying, Helpful Interactions

Talk about the importance of listening to concerns and making sure that customers feel heard and understood. They often want the opportunity to express their concerns, frustrations, and experience.

Tell the interviewer that you can help create loyal customers by addressing both your client’s concerns and their emotions. At the end of the call, you don’t want to simply fix a customer’s problem. You want to smooth out any negative emotions that led them to dial the number. Customers should hang up the phone with their concerns resolved and their emotions satisfied.

Representing the Values of the Client in Every Phone Call

Unique, client-specific interactions don’t happen by accident. Tell your interviewer about the steps you would take to familiarize yourself with the client’s brand, tone, and values. You could mention looking through their website or checking out their social media presence. As you learn more about the brand, you are better equipped to create unique interactions. To create a more branded experience, you can also use client lingo.

Explain how you put in the time to familiarize yourself with clients in order to accurately represent them to their customers.

Give Examples of Past Experience

Finally, give examples of how you’ve been able to apply these principles in the past. Regardless of what customer service means to you, the strategy behind providing examples is largely the same.

When providing examples, the more specific you are the better. Vague answers are easy to fake, and they aren’t likely to stick in your interviewer’s mind. Specific examples prove that you know what you’re talking about. Focus on the actions you took and the results from those actions.

Remember, these examples don’t necessarily have to be from a position titled “customer service representative.” Any customer-facing position involves customer service. Do you have experience in retail or food and beverage? You have customer service experience. Did you spend a summer lifeguarding or working at a local theme park? Then you have customer service experience.

You can also relate experience you’ve had outside of employment. Think of examples from school, church service, and the community. The skills are often transferable.

There are many ways to tackle what a customer means to you. this common interview question. Build off the principles in this blog to create an answer that reflects your approach to customer service. Good luck preparing for your next customer service interview!

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