How To Answer: What Does Customer Service Mean to You? (with Answers)

customer service interview question

What Does Customer Service Mean to You

When given the opportunity to work in the job of your dreams, it’s typically a good idea to start preparing for the interview immediately. 

One common question many interviewers tend to ask is, “What does customer service mean to you?” – Especially within a retail, hospitality, or service-based business. Follow along for techniques and examples on how to answer it correctly.

Questions Answered:

  • What is customer service?
  • How to answer what customer service means to you
  • Job interview example answers
  • Top customer service jobs

What Is Customer Service?

Customer service is the support and assistance an organization offers its customers before, during, and after a purchase. 

While person-to-person support often provides the best solution, chatbots, and other self-service support techniques are a growing trend that helps customers find their own answers.

8 tips for answering “What does customer service mean to you”

1. Start by Stating Personal Experiences

Interviews are usually highly tense environments.

When asked what customer service means to you, it’s wise to start by sharing your personal customer service experiences. This will ease the tension in the room, placing the interviewers in your point of view.

You should talk about your best and worst customer experiences so far. Doing so will give the interviewer confidence that you understand both ends of the customer service spectrum. 

Inform your interviewers how these experiences changed your approach to customer service.

Explain how you think the business with the best customer service experience could improve. Moreover, tell them how the company with the worst customer service experience could perform better. 

2. Is the Customer Always Right? 

“The customer is always right!” This is a common statement within the customer service industry.

When answering the customer service question during an interview, it’s proper to bring up this statement, as most employers have different thoughts on it. 

When asked if the customer is always right, the most appropriate response is “definitely.” This is because the customer knows what they need, and the business exists to meet the customer’s needs. 

The customer is always right, but they might not have the best approach to finding the solution to their problem.

Customer service’s role is to listen to the client, find out what they want, and figure out a way to provide exceptional service. 

Sometimes it may be impossible to get them exactly what they want. No matter the situation, it’s customer service’s role to ensure the clients are satisfied with the solutions they receive.

3. Share Your Idea of Excellent Customer Service

Good customer service keeps customers returning to purchase a company’s products and services. Excellent customer service enables an organization to win its customers’ loyalty to the point where they are willing to support it through any challenge. 

It’s no surprise that most of the businesses with outstanding customer service are also very successful. Share your idea of what excellent customer service is.

customer service meme


4. Proper Attitude Is the Key to Customer Service Excellence

A proper attitude is a key that unlocks the door to customer service excellence.

You should point out that every company should take steps to ensure its customer service department engages with clients using a proper attitude.

If your customer service team radiates a positive vibe, it can help calm down even the most furious customers. 

Thus, you have a better chance of solving their problem and are more likely to be a returning customer. This will help solidify your brand’s reputation. 

5. Customer Service Should Exceed Expectations

While most enterprises usually go for the bare minimum of customer service, your belief should be that customer service should exceed expectations.

Customers should be amazed by the quality of customer service they receive, not left wishing they had done more.

The easiest way for an enterprise to exceed customer expectations is to make customer service easily accessible. 

Moreover, you should comprehensively address the client’s issues and give timely responses. It’s best to take the approach of honesty from the very beginning.

Explain when things might and might not be possible and what you are doing to address the problem.

6. The Customer Service Process Should Be Efficient

Explain to the interviewers that excellent customer service also involves having an efficient process to address problems.

When a client asks for assistance and when it is handled should be as short as possible. The clients shouldn’t feel like seeking customer service is a difficult task to undertake. 

7. Customer Service Should Be Proactive, Not Reactive

A company’s customer service department can fulfill its mandate better by anticipating problems before they arise.

This allows it to coordinate with other departments to find a swift solution to the problem.

You should explain to your interviewers that taking a proactive approach to customer service puts the company in the correct position to provide exceptional customer service. 

8. Customer Service Should Be Sensitive and Detail-Oriented

A company will prosper if it is sensitive to the customer’s needs. This is because it will go out of its way to provide customers with the necessary assistance.

Being sensitive means taking the time to listen to the client and understand what they need.

As you listen, also ask about the details. Good customer service is detail-oriented; take time to hear the details of the customer’s challenges to solve them comprehensively. 


Job Interview Example Answers

Once you’ve read the eight resources above, it’s time to form your own answer. Here are some example answers on how you might respond to the question, what does customer service mean to you?

  • “To me, customer service means exceeding the client’s expectations and doing what is necessary to keep the customer satisfied. Resolving customer issues with a positive attitude should be a top priority for any business. In my role as a Service Representative for…(example of when you provided great customer service).”
  • “Providing good customer service means consistently going above and beyond to help solve the customer’s problems. For example, I recently…(example of when you provided great customer service).” 
  • “I would define customer service as making sure the customer has a pleasant experience in any way possible before leaving the store/office. That could be through handling complaints, greeting customers, or helping them find the right product. When I was at…(example of when you provided great customer service).”
  • “Customer service to me not only means assisting the customers with whatever is needed but also making sure they are treated like I would want to be treated in their place. When I worked at…(example of when you provided great customer service).”

Top Customer Service Roles

Almost all service-related roles today have some aspect of customer service to them. Here are a few roles that require excellent customer service.

  1. Account Manager
  2. Client Relationship Specialist
  3. Admin Assistant
  4. Flight Attendant
  5. Cashier
  6. Call Center Representative
  7. Customer Service Representative
  8. Technical Support
  9. Implementation Specialist

What are the three important qualities of customer service?

There are countless “important” qualities a customer service representative must possess, but here are three of our favorites:

  • Patience: Customer service can be a challenging and stressful job, and representatives need to be able to remain patient and calm even when dealing with difficult or angry customers.
  • Empathy: The ability to understand and relate to the feelings of others is critical in customer service. Representatives should be able to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and show genuine concern for their needs.
  • Communication skills: Effective communication is essential for customer service representatives. They should be able to clearly and concisely convey information to customers, listen actively, and ask questions to understand the customer’s needs and concerns thoroughly.

“If the company’s customer service is excellent, 78% of consumers will do business with a company again after a mistake.”

— Salesforce Research


Wrapping Up | What does customer service mean

Now that you know one of the primary interview questions for customer service-related jobs is, “What does customer service mean to you?” you can practice your answers. To recap our techniques for answering the question:

  • Open with Personal Experiences of Customer Service
  • The Customer is Always (ish) Right
  • Share Your Idea of Excellent Service
  • Proper Attitude is Key
  • Exceed Expectations
  • There Must Be a Process
  • Be Proactive
  • Remain Sensitive and Detail Oriented

Prepare and rehearse answering this question before the interview. It will make you feel more confident and comfortable discussing the role with a hiring manager. 

We hope this helps, and best of luck during your next job interview!

Title: “What Does Customer Service Mean to You?” Interview Answers

Category: the Interview

Tags: what does good customer service mean to you best answer, what are 3 important qualities of excellent customer service, what is customer service short answer

Author: Reid is a contributor to theJub. He’s an employment and marketing enthusiast who studied business before taking on various recruiting, management, and marketing roles. More from the author. | Author Profile

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