How to Answer The "Difficult Customer" Question

Ashley Robinson |
Categories: Interview

Customer service jobs are all about what? You guessed it, great customer service. It's not uncommon for a customer to approach an employee expecting them to solve a problem. A situational job interview question like, "tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult customer", will allow the employer to see if you can still offer awesome customer service while fixing an issue with a not so pleasant customer.

When answering, you want to avoid answers like:

"I don't like when people are mean to me so I avoid conflict at all costs. I would let my boss handle it."

"This would be my first job so I'm not sure how I would handle it. But as they say, the customer is always right so whatever they want I would give them."

“I had a customer call in and they were furious. I wasn’t sure what to do so I just hung up on them and hoped they didn’t call back.”

"I had a difficult customer one time. They were my first one and my last one. Do you see these muscles? Welcome to the gun show."

Best way to answer how you have dealt with difficult customers:

You want to show the interviewer you have the people skills and problem-solving skills needed to help satisfy the customer.

"At my last job, a customer came in cursing and yelling-the works. I knew it was out of frustration so I didn't take it personally and I made sure the customer knew their concerns were being heard. I listened carefully and apologized. She was complaining about an item she wanted to return, however she didn't have her receipt. I explained that I wasn't able to give her a cash refund without the receipt, but that I could allow her to have the same amount in store credit. It ended up being a win-win situation for everyone."

This answer proves that you can assess the situation, fix the problem, and have both the customer and the employer come out on top.