Job Interview Question and Answer: “How Would You Deal With a Difficult Customer?”
The Reason Employers Ask This Question
If you are seeking a job in customer service, an interviewer may ask how you would handle interactions with angry patrons. They want to know if you can stay calm and professional in these moments and diffuse the situation to keep customers happy. Demonstrating proper conflict-resolution skills in your response can help employers see that you are the right person for the job.
How to Give the Right Response to “What Do You Do When Customers Get Angry?”
When answering this question, describe the steps you take to resolve disagreements and conflicts in the workplace. Your actions may include:
- De-escalation: Calming the customer down by assuring them that you will solve the problem.
- Showing Empathy: Actively listening to customer complaints, taking responsibility, and apologizing for whatever upset them.
- Creating Solutions: Offering suggestions on how you can improve the situation and make the customer happy.
- Taking Corrective Action: Implementing a solution that will satisfy the customer while assuring them that you will do your best to prevent similar situations from happening in the future.
Talk about a situation at work, school, or in your personal life where you used these steps to resolve an issue or disagreement.
Answers to Avoid for “How Do You Handle Difficult Customers?”
Steer clear of vague statements like “The customer is always right.” Generic responses fail to reveal anything about your ability to handle conflict. Also, avoid giving examples where you placed blame on coworkers or argued with upset patrons. These types of answers show a lack of professionalism and could disqualify you from the position.
Your answer to “What do you do when customers get angry?” should show that you have a level head and can find solutions to difficult problems. The following sample answers can give you an idea of what a good response to this question should look like.
Sample Job 1- Fast Food Employee
“At my last job, a customer came into the restaurant and started yelling at me because her drive-thru order was incomplete. I quickly and sincerely apologized for the mistake and told her we would immediately get the rest of her order. In the meantime, the customer continued to vent about previous bad experiences they had had at our location.”
“I listened closely to what they said and assured the customer that I would talk to my supervisors about their complaints. I also offered them a coupon for their next visit. They seemed happy when they left, and my coworkers and I made an effort to start double-checking all orders before they went out.”
Sample Job 2- Sporting Goods Store Manager
“When I deal with upset customers, my main goal is to keep them calm while I resolve their issues. At past jobs, I have seen customers yell and knock over displays when they get angry, so I try to diffuse those situations before they get to that point. I apologize and tell them how I plan to resolve the problem quickly. I might also give them a coupon or store credit to put them in a better mood.”
Sample Job 3- Grocery Store Cashier
“I think solving their problem as quickly as possible is the best way to deal with an angry customer. A shopper once approached me and was upset that she couldn’t find an item she was looking for in our store. Another worker had told her what aisle she could find it in, but she hadn’t seen it there. I stopped what I was doing and walked with her to the correct aisle to show her exactly where the item was.”
“The fact that I took immediate steps to solve her problem seemed to make this customer relax. She apologized for her frustration and thanked me for taking the time to help her. Since then, I have always tried to show customers that I care about their concerns and am willing to help in any way I can.”
Stay Calm, Cool and Collected
Handling difficult customers can be a complicated and nerve-wracking experience. However, keeping a level head and approaching the issue calmly and professionally can help bring the situation to a happy conclusion. Impress your interviewers by using these tips and examples to explain your personal conflict-resolution techniques.