Behavioral Interview Questions by Competency: Customer-Orientation & Customer Service

Behavioral Interview Questions: Customer-Orientation

Customer-orientation is the ability to show care and concern for customers and make them feel valued; willing to deliver timely and reliable customer support and exceed customer expectations; Ability to create a customer-led orientation in a work group.

  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Describe a time when you chose to exceed, rather than meet, a customer’s expectations. Why did you do so, and what were the results?”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate identify a level of customer support to achieve and actively pursue it? Were there results below the customer’s expectation, or above expectation but due to other than the candidate’s actions?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Describe a time when you went way beyond the call of duty to ensure reliability and make sure your customer’s needs were met.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate take proactive steps, such as making sure a product worked, double-checking delivery schedules, or identifying backup plans? Was there little management of a product/service, and/or little effort to make sure all details were in order?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “All companies have some customers or accounts that are less profitable or more trouble than others do. Describe a time when you made such a customer feel highly valued, possibly leading to additional business.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate show attention to the customer and clearly indicate the high priority of meeting the customer’s needs? Was there inattention to the customer, incomplete or inferior treatment, or a failure to prioritize his/her needs?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Describe a situation in which normal or planned turnaround time or delivery would be too slow for a customer’s needs. How did you address the customer’s needs?”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate take concrete steps to speed up delivery, such as rescheduling, or changing shipping approach? Was there lack of concern for the slowness, or little or superficial effort expended to correct it?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Describe a situation in which you converted a hostile or dissatisfied customer into a repeat buyer.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate take proactive steps to gain the confidence of the customer, perhaps addressing necessary issues or focusing on approaches to improvement? Was there avoidance of the customer and a failure to address the issues?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Describe a situation in which you took initiative to create or improve a customer-led orientation in a work group you managed or were part of. How did you ensure success of this effort?”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate initiate a multifaceted approach, perhaps including education, values analysis, and/or measurement? Was there resentment of the customer or a belief that customer support was someone else’s responsibility?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Customers often need support in deciding exactly what they want. Describe a time when you invested time and effort in helping a customer evaluate his/her needs.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate invest time/effort into meeting with the customer, including asking/answering questions and reviewing options? Were there little effort to help, brief/ forced answers to questions, and little initiative to explain options?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Describe a time when your care and concern for a customer was clearly manifested in the way you delivered your product/service.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate attend closely to the customer’s needs, perhaps showing high attention to detail and/or following up on progress or results? Was there an absence of concern, evidenced by little management of the product/ service, perhaps with an assumption that delivery would take care of itself?
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