I recently had an interview at a restaurant and spent all day preparing for it, so I thought I would share some of the things I have come across. Here are some basic questions you should expect to get asked at an interview for customer service jobs and should prepare an answer for before you go:
What, in your opinion, is customer service?
You should talk about being friendly and approachable, and doing everything you can to ensure the customer’s needs are met and they leave satisfied and wanting to come again. It also means having a full knowledge of whatever it is that you are selling, so that you can suggest to your customer what they may like, or if they have an idea already, be able to show them exactly what you have that meets the needs they mention.
What would you do if a customer complained to you about their service?
You would always apologise and find out exactly what the problem was. Offer to bring the customer a new meal (for example) or something complimentary. Mention that in training you would have made sure that you had inquired from your manager how the company deals with complaints, but if unsure, you would be sure to apologise, ensure the customer that this would not happen again and do anything in your power to resolve the situation as efficiently as possible.
Why do you want to work here?
You should say something along the lines of; ‘having visited a couple of times, I can see that this establishment is up to a very high standard. I personally am most comfortable working in such an environment because there are clear, set expectations and guidelines. I always like to have a job to do, whether it be to serve a customer or (for example) polish the cutlery. It seems very well run and the staff always seem to be doing something, but at the same time are extremely attentive. I would consider myself lucky to be able to work within such a well-run business.’
What do you know about the business?
INTERVIEWERS WILL ALWAYS ASK YOU THIS – SO PREPARE!
Spend 15-20 minutes on the company’s website until you find something particularly interesting. For my restaurant interview I mentioned that it seems that the company is very focused on serving only the best of British beef, and also that the cocktails on the menu were interesting and I would love to try and make them as I have always enjoyed making new cocktails.
Preparation is key – research before your interview for a customer service job.
Describe a time when you have delivered excellent customer service.
Give an actual example from your past, such as someone thanking you personally for what you had done or even mentioning your service to someone else. If possible, talk about a time that you delivered excellent customer service when you were extremely busy and under a lot of pressure. It’s easy to give great customer service when there’s only one customer there, but what about when you have a queue of people?
Are you comfortable working in a fast-paced environment and how do you deal with working under pressure?
For this I think it’s fair for you to admit that if you are thrown in at the deep end, then working under pressure can be a little daunting at first, but talk about your ability to learn new skills quickly.
If you have no work experience, then talk about when you were at school/college/university and how you dealt with working under pressure in those situations. Explain that you realise it is a different environment but that you believe that the skills you have developed throughout your education have taught you not to panic when there is a deadline and you have a lot to do.
[ALSO READ: How To Job Search Like A Pro – With No Work Experience ]
How do you organise your workload?
Talk about how you have dealt with big queues of customers or a time when you have had lots of demands coming at you at once. Talk about how you prioritise your workload to ensure all customers are satisfied. Also mention that you are aware that communication is key between employees when there is a lot of work to get through and you know that things will run smoother and more quickly if each team member communicates and cooperates with one another.
How do you feel about working in a team?
You love working in a team!
Okay, you may not, but it is always important in a customer service working environment (or any working environment really) that you will mix well with new people, that you will cooperate with those around you to ensure a consistent level of customer service, and that there is a good atmosphere amongst team members. It is important for you to be approachable in case someone needs your help, and it is also important that you are not afraid to ask for help if you are unsure of anything.
Again, if no work experience, bring up your social life. Talk about any sports teams or societies you are a member of and how teamwork comes into it, and also what qualities you offer being a member of that team.
Are you comfortable working very late/early?
Working very early would probably apply to cafes, gyms, newsagents, etc. Working late would probably be in restaurants, bars or 24-hour shops. It’s important to be honest here. If you rely on public transport, then check the opening/closing times of the place you have applied for and then check the latest bus/train times. If it is too far for you to get a taxi and you would be working earlier/later than public transport, and you have no access to a car, you really need to tell them. Don’t just agree to it in order to get the job, because what are you going to do when they ask you to work until 1am and you have no way of getting home at the end? It’s not reasonable to put yourself in a situation like that, but employers do like you to be flexible, so offer suggestions of working around it. For example, agreeing that if it were only once a week or so you would happily get a taxi, but overall you would rather work until a little earlier so that you can get home safely. It probably won’t be an issue but make sure you are aware!
There we go! Chances are you will only get asked a handful of these but it’s best to prepare as much as you can so that you’re not caught off guard!