Job Interview Question: When Have You Dealt with a Difficult Customer to Come to a Successful Resolution?

When you are interviewing for a customer service representative job, the chances are that your interviewer might be interested to know about your ability to deal with difficult customers. The answer to this question must show the positive side of your behavior skills and way to react to real-life situations.

Different people have different ways to handle challenges in life. When you are applying for a job in the customer service department, the skill to resolve customer conflicts with a successful outcome matters a lot. Every organization wants to hire a talented team player, and this question helps them to judge whether you are suitable for such tough situations or not.

Read more about frequently asked interview questions. Also, check our interview preparation checklist to ace your interview!

Other ways the interviewer can ask about your experience to deal with a difficult customer

The interview question ‘how did you deal with a difficult customer to come to a successful resolution‘ belongs to the behavioral category of interview questions. But interviewers can also ask you the same question in a different way.

The interviewer may ask this conflict-related question in plenty of variations. A couple of them are listed below:

  • What actions did you take during your past jobs to deal with some difficult situations?
  • Give us an example where you solved a complicated problem at work?
  • Describe a situation with a difficult task at the workplace and how you handled that?
  • Can you tell us about a situation from your past experiences when you made a certain mistake and what you did to fix that?
  • Tell us about the time you led a project where there was conflict within a team.
  • Have you had any experience of responding to some unhappy customers?

These questions are closely related to adaptability job interview questions.

Why is the interviewer interested in your experience in dealing with a difficult customer?

Every question in the job interview has a different purpose. The experts do not add random questions, small talks, or fillers to the interviews; they are just interested to know more about you. Their prime goal is to test your abilities to work on a specific profile. Therefore, you should know how to answer this question in the most effective manner.

Your answer will help the interviewer understand what kind of person you are and how you behave in complicated situations. You never know what kind of problem you may face during your job; especially when you have to deal with the customers in the market. Interviewers try to predict your behavior to angry or unhappy customers.

Tips for answering job interview question on dealing with a difficult customer

While answering this question, you need to highlight three important things, such as your:

  • Behavior when under work pressure and your strategy to deal with tough situations.
  • Ability to respond to the angry people in the right way.
  • Communication skills and your abilities to fit into the work environment.

It is good to follow the STAR format to answer this question; here, STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Below we have highlighted a quick summary on how to prepare your answer:

Situation: First of all, you should make the situation clear to the interviewer by explaining a little background about it. There is no need to spend too much time on this part, but make sure you provide a clear idea about the difficulty level of that particular situation.

Task: In this section, you have to describe the difficulty or challenge that you have faced during the situation described above. It may be related to some deadline or a major case of profit and loss.

Action: Here comes the strategy or approach that you followed in handling the difficult situation. It must highlight your efforts to resolve the trouble, and you may explain them in detail.

Result: Finally, it is important to talk about the outcome of your actions. You should highlight a positive outcome, such as increasing company profit by a certain level or getting the project done ahead of the deadlines.

Sample answers on dealing with difficult customers

You have to show that you are the best person for their company and have all the desired skills to handle conflicts with customers. Here is an example to help you frame the most appropriate answer:

‘At my previous job, once a customer came yelling due to some trouble with her order. I knew she was frustrated, and instead of taking her words personally, I tried to ensure her that the issues will be processed by the team. I listened to all her problems patiently and apologized. She was basically making efforts to return an item without any receipt for the same.

I explained to her that we could not process the cash refund without getting the original receipt, but it is possible to give store credit of an equivalent amount. In this way, the problem ended in a win-win situation. After this, she became a loyal customer of the brand, and we also received a positive review from her online.’ 

Click here to learn how to answer job interview questions about the most popular job interview topics.

Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers

Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!

  1. Accomplishments
  2. Adaptability
  3. Admission
  4. Behavioral
  5. Career Change
  6. Career Goals
  7. Communication
  8. Competency
  9. Conflict Resolution
  10. Creative Thinking
  11. Cultural Fit
  12. Customer Service
  13. Direct
  14. Experience
  15. Government
  16. Graduate
  17. Growth Potential
  18. Honesty & Integrity
  19. Illegal
  20. Inappropriate
  21. Job Satisfaction
  22. Leadership
  23. Management
  24. Entry-Level & No experience
  25. Performance-Based
  26. Personal
  27. Prioritization & Time Management
  28. Problem-solving
  29. Salary
  30. Situational & Scenario-based
  31. Stress Management
  32. Teamwork
  33. Telephone Interview
  34. Tough
  35. Uncomfortable
  36. Work Ethic