How to Answer Interview Questions – How Do You Handle Difficult Customers?


How do you handle difficult customers?

Dealing with difficult the customers is a ‘given’ for many, many jobs: sales reps, customer service reps, retail store clerks, receptionists, restaurant wait staff, and a hundred other service-industry jobs.

People working in these roles are in the front lines. They are the face of their respective companies and have a tremendous impact on the company’s image which affects growth and revenue. Your answer should make it very clear that you understand the importance of your role and you take it very seriously. 

You can absolutely tell them a story about how you dealt with a particularly difficult customer (remember STAR: Situation or Task, Action, Result), and if you have a note from that customer or your supervisor about the situation in your brag book, that’s even better. There’s nothing more powerful than physical evidence attesting to the fact that you can do what you say you can do. 

Generally, you need to be sure that your customer service philosophy is clear making your answer to this question sound like this: “I deal with difficult customers the same way I deal with easy customers. I want them all to have an exceptional experience with my company.  I won’t allow a customer to  say inaccurate or negative things about us, but if we haven’t met their expectations, I want to take responsibility and see if I can fix it. Even if I can’t fix it, I want to make the experience as helpful as possible. I want to try to do something that would make up for the problem—maybe refund their money or provide some other benefit so they can leave the situation at least partially satisfied. I expect to treat every customer as well as I’d treat my own grandmother. “

Do you see what that answer does? It lets the interviewer know that you take personal responsibility for your customers’ experiences within the company. The reputation of the company will not suffer with you on board, because you will get the job done. They can trust and depend on you. It’s another selling point in your favor and a would be much a stronger answer than: “I hand them off to my supervisor. ” 

Personal responsibility seems to be in short supply lately these days, but if your answer to this interview question highlights that best quality in you, you will absolutely stand out from the crowd. 


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