What Does Customer Service Mean to You? Best Answers

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If you are applying for a retail, customer service, or any other position where you have personal contact with consumers, your interviewer will be eager to find out how you would interact and provide them with assistance. A typical job interview question for this type of customer-focused position is "What is good customer service?" A related question is "What does customer service mean to you?"

How to Answer Interview Questions About Good Customer Service

The interviewer wants to know what you consider quality customer service, what good customer service means to you, and how you would be willing to provide it to customers.

In your answer, be prepared to give specific examples of good customer service either from your work experience or from your personal experiences as a consumer. Some elements of customer service you may want to emphasize in your answer are:

Illustration by Catherine Song. © The Balance, 2018

Product Awareness
Whether you're talking about books, ads on a website, or a widget, having a thorough knowledge of the company's product is vital for providing strong customer service.

Greeting people with a smile or friendly hello can make a big difference in a retail store, and for any customer service position, a friendly and patient attitude is important.

Customers value a prompt response.

From needing a new shirt for a wedding to requiring a replacement part, customers are looking for assistance, and part of good customer service is fixing problems and answering questions.

Examples of the Best Answers

You can approach answering this question in two ways. If you’re new to the field, it can be effective to use an example of a time when someone made an impact on you through their superb customer service skills. We’ve all had experiences of good, as well as bad, customer service.

If you have worked in a service industry, it’s best to recount a personal time when you were able to provide service above and beyond what the customer expected.

Here is a selection of sample answers you can tailor for your use to respond to questions about good customer service.

  • Good customer service means having a thorough knowledge of your inventory, experience with your products, and being able to help customers make the best choices for them. When I worked at XYZ, I used to spend a few minutes each month looking at the newest products, to make sure I was fully aware of their performance and could make knowledgeable recommendations to customers.
  • When my cousin got married last year, I had just graduated, and money was tight for me. I needed a new outfit, and the clerk at the dress shop was absolutely wonderful. She made me feel like I was spending a million dollars on the dress I picked out (even though it was one from the last season sale rack) and that I looked like a runway model in it. She took the time to offer suggestions on how to accessorize and told me where to go to get the best deals. It made such an impact on me, and completely changed my perception of what customer service is. It’s making every single customer feel like the most important one you have seen all year.
  • Good customer service is treating customers with a friendly, helpful attitude. People remember how you make them feel, and I have found that just smiling and being interested in helping them solve their problem impacts how satisfied they are.
  • Good customer service means helping customers efficiently, in a friendly manner. It’s essential to be able to handle issues for customers and do your best to ensure they are satisfied. Providing good service is one of the most important things that can set your business apart from the others of its kind.
  • In my experience, good customer service is always being positive and willing to assist your customers to the best of your ability. I remember one customer in particular, from early in my career, who I spent a tremendous amount of time with, helping to outfit her home office with electronics. She was working with a limited budget, but wanted to start with quality merchandise she could add to as her business grew. She thanked me and took the time to send a note to my supervisor the next day. I don’t think I realized until that point how much people appreciate good customer service.
  • Good customer service involves giving customers a good first impression of the business, with a friendly greeting and helpful attitude, as well as a good lasting impression. Determining the customer's needs and solving problems quickly will lead to satisfied return customers.

Additionally, you should review the most common questions you're likely to get during an interview for a retail position, so you can have an idea of how to respond.

You should discover the ten interpersonal skills that make people in customer service positions shine and review more common retail and customer service interview questions and sample answers.

Finally, you should know the most common questions you'll be asked when interviewing, how to prepare answers to interview questions, along with sample answers to these typical job interview questions.