What is your customer service philosophy?

  | James Innes

What is your customer service philosophy?

Alternative and related questions:

Can you tell me about a difficult client/customer you’ve had and how you handled them?
Can you give me an example of an occasion when you exceeded a client’s/customer’s expectations?

The meaning behind the question:

Most organisations provide a product or service to a customer. Some definitions of ‘customer’ are obvious: Marks & Spencer sells sandwiches to the public. Some are less obvious: The Job Centre helps the unemployed return to work.

Customer service skills are consequently of importance in many different walks of life – and this question is designed to probe your customer service skills. It is more far-reaching than that, though, because many of the same skills which will enable an individual to work well with customers will also help them to work well with their colleagues.

Your answer:

However the interviewer phrases their question, the main thrust of your answer should be to outline your customer service skills.

If you can illustrate your answer with an example of when you have delivered outstanding customer service then so much the better. Outstanding customer service could include resolving a difficult client’s complaint or it could be a case of your having exceeded a customer’s expectations. Whatever example you select, make sure it is one which shows you in a positive light, i.e. if you want to talk about a dissatisfied client then it had better not be your actions which caused their dissatisfaction!


I believe the customer is central to everything we do. Profits are certainly our ultimate goal but, without customer satisfaction, profits will suffer. I consequently attach a lot of importance to customer service. A business is nothing without its customers and it’s vital to recognise this. I believe I have strong customer service skills – and working with the public is certainly something I enjoy. It’s not always easy of course. Recently, I had to deal with a particularly difficult client who was – fairly unreasonably, it has to be said – very dissatisfied with the solution our sales team had sold them. Rather than let the complaint escalate, I took the time to calmly and patiently listen to the customer and to demonstrate that I understood and empathised with their concerns. This alone took a lot of the wind out of their sails. I went on to give them my viewpoint, addressing their concerns one by one and explaining why I felt the solution they had been sold was the best one for them. It turned out that they had principally misunderstood what was being offered and, once realisation set in, they were actually quite apologetic!

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