Before answering this interview question you should understand what they mean by “customer service areas”. This may refer to service channels, such as phone support, mail support, social media, or even live chat.
But they can also refer to vertical or horizontal division of customer service, areas such as customer success management, customer retention, quality management and others. Needless to say, different roles in a company respond for different areas of customer service. Quality Manager, Customer Retention Specialist, Customer Success Manager are some job titles you may have heard about (or even applied for).
The rule of a thumb is the following:
- If you apply for a “first point of contact” type of customer service job (CS specialist, CS technician, etc), they typically refer to different communication channels when talking about areas.
- If you apply for a managerial position in their customer service team, they likely have on their mind horizontal and vertical division of the field.
Let’s have a look at some sample answers, for both instances, including answers for people without previous working experience in customer service.
Sample answers to “In what areas of customer service have you had experience?” interview question
- I’ve done mostly mail support in my last job with ABC Cable, and that’s the only customer support job I’ve had so far. I always tried to respond as quickly as possible, and in a most effective way, trying to solve the ticket with my first reply. However, I believe that I’ll be able to handle phone support as well. I do not struggle with my communication skills, and enjoy talking to people in a real time.
- I’ve tried all areas in my last job, working as a customer support for a hotel management information system provider. We were a small team, typically just one person on a shift, and each of us responded for all communication channels. I replied emails, answered phone calls, and using online interface I also answered questions customers typed in a live chat window on our website. I am happy that I got a chance to try all channels, since each one is slightly different and different customers opt for each method of communication.
- To be honest, I have had no direct experience with any area of customer service up to this point. But I believe to have a good understanding of your product, and I also heard you run an excellent training program for new hires. My communication skills are good, and hence I am not afraid that I will not quickly learn how to deliver an excellent customer service, whether on the phone, or using other medium of communication.
- In my last job I had two roles over the period of three years. I firstly worked as a Customer Success Manager, training new employees, evaluating performance of customer service staff, creating processes they followed in their daily work with customers. After that I worked for a year as Customer Retention Specialist, dealing mostly with corporate customers who considered leaving the company, trying to convince them to stay with us. Now I would love to explore another area of customer service, namely quality management, and that’s why I decided to apply for a job with you.
- I’ve been through everything in my twelve years of experience. Starting as a first point of contact for customers with technical issues, I slowly moved to a position of retention specialist, social media manager and eventually responded for developing tutorial and videos as a part of our proactive support initiative. Now, after everything I’ve done and learn, I feel ready to spearhead the entire customer service department.
Include numbers and achievements in your answer
Regardless of the seniority of your former role in customer service, you certainly had some goals, and your superiors used some metrics (key performance indicators) to evaluate the quality of your work, and the progress you achieved over time.
If you achieved good numbers, do not hesitate to talk about them in your interview. Numbers lend your story more credibility, and make it easier for your interviewers to imagine what exactly you’ve done so far in customer service, and how you fared in your efforts.
* Special tip: Check also “Tell us about a time when you provided great customer service“.
If you lack experience, focus on your motivation to learn
Almost all companies run training programs for new hires. They won’t just give you a phone and a chair, and let you talk to a customer. It would be too risky for their reputation.
Your training can take a day, a week, but also a month. This depends on the complexity of the product and the scope of your duties within customer service. What’s more, they read your resume. If they invited you for this interview despite the lack of experience, it means experience is not obligatory.
Talk about your motivation to learn, and do not hesitate to praise their training program. Check some reviews on Glassdoor to find out how they train new hires, and what their employees enjoyed the most during the training period. Then you can refer to it in your interview answer.
Other customer service related questions you may get in your job interview
- What is your best and worst customer service experience?
- How would you define an outstanding customer service?
- What do you consider your biggest weakness when we talk about customer service?
- Describe a time when you failed to address a request of a customer.
- Describe a time when you had to deal with an angry (or even hostile) customer. How did you manage to address the situation?
More resources to prepare for your interview
- Six areas of customer service – Excellent analysis on Userlike website, check it out if you aren’t sure how to define various areas of CS.
- List of companies with best costumer service – 20 players, from different fields of business, by Forbes. Learn from the best when you also want to stand out.
- Call Center Operator interview questions – Check this out if you apply for a customer service job in a call center.
- Customer service interview – Tell me about yourself.