Customer Service Associate Interview Questions

When applying for a customer service associate or cashier position, you may encounter an interview that asks more than just basic questions about your previous work experience and education. In addition to the basic information, interviewers may ask more specific questions about how you handle conflict and how you deal with unhappy customers.
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Example Interview Questions

If you are applying for a customer service associate or cashier position, take the time to review sample interview questions and answers that are geared toward these positions.

What was the most difficult customer service situation you had to deal with?

The interviewer wants to know if you can project a positive attitude in the face of adversity. Describe the situation, along with the outcome. The interviewer will be looking for your problem-solving skills.

Example answer: "My worst customer service situation was when a customer was being verbally abusive to me. I knew that by arguing with her, I would have been further upsetting her, so I took a deep breath and simply said "I'm sorry you feel that way," and then proceeded to do something to solve the problem without getting involved in an argument."

Describe what a customer service representative should do when encountering a dissatisfied customer.

Every employee working in customer service will encounter a dissatisfied customer at some point. This question gauges your understanding of how to deal with customers who are unhappy with the services provided.

Example answer: "The customer service representative should keep their voice calm and listen to the customer's complaint without making any further judgments. If the complaint is legitimate, then she should apologize and try to make the situation right. She should try to rectify the situation in the best way she can."

What would happen if you were unable to open or close your cash register at the start or end of a shift?

This is an example of a situational question which will require you to show your ability to think and react quickly. While there is no right or wrong answer, the interviewer is really looking for someone who can remain calm and handle any problems that arise.

Example answer: "I would check with my manager to see if there was someone who could fill in for me or if I could cover cashier duty for another employee. If that wasn't possible, it would be my responsibility to find an alternative method of getting the money to and from the bank. I could use a hand cart to move the cash, or I could call the bank to have a courier deliver the money to the location. If I couldn't reach the bank or the courier, then I would need to call the police for assistance and have them handle the money as a theft."

How do you handle being the only cashier and having multiple people in line?

One of the most common problems in customer service is difficult customers. In this case, the interviewer is trying to see how you handle pressure and if you'll be able to remain calm while managing the situation. A good answer will also show how you meet the needs of your customers and team.

Example answer: "I like to do my best to get customers through checkout as quickly as possible, even if that means I have to work through lunch. I do my best to take care of all my customers while keeping things running smoothly. I like to greet customers cheerfully and answer their questions to help them find what they need. If I see a long line forming behind a particularly difficult customer, I try to resolve the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible."

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

This is a common interview question because it gives you the opportunity to show your passion for your work. Employers like to see candidates who love what they do. By responding with your favorite part of the job, the hiring manager can then ask you follow-up questions to determine how you feel that portion of your job contributes to the organization and how you would improve upon it.

Example answer: "The most enjoyable part of my job is when I get to help customers solve problems and address issues. I like to get a little background knowledge about the person and their situation. Most of my customers are very pleasant, but sometimes I have to deal with some very angry and emotional people and it can be difficult. I never try to argue with them or become defensive. The best thing to do in that situation is to just listen to them until they calm down, then go from there."

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