Question forms part of
Other interview questions that are similar
What do you do when a customer is unhappy?
Do you encourage customers to let you know how you are doing?
How do you handle negative criticism from a customer?
What the interviewer is looking for by asking this question
This is a popular question within customer service facing and customer service managerial interviews.
For customer facing roles the interviewer is looking to see how you handle interactions with the customer with regard to your performance. If it is negative are you able to resolve the issue satisfactorily to leave a happy customer and prevent future mistakes from occurring.
For managerial roles the interviewer is looking to see how you use feedback to create a better team and better overall customer experience. If the feedback is negative do you rectify the situation with the customer and provide training and support to your team members to prevent re-occurrence? If the feedback is positive do you praise your team and try to expand on the things that were done right, that the customer was pleased with?
As this is a behavioural question the interviewer is looking for both how you would respond to customer feedback if you were to get the position but also how you have responded to customer feedback in the past.
The best approach to answering this question
The best way to come at this question is to have 2 examples: one where the customer provided negative feedback and one where the customer provided positive feedback.
In your answer you should start by talking about how you always welcome customer feedback, both good and bad, as feedback allows the company to know where it is going right and more importantly where it is falling down and needs to change.
This question is not looking at how you do your job it is looking at how you handle feedback and how you deal with customers. The best answers therefore are when you received feedback for something that was not your doing.
For negative feedback you can talk about how you took responsibility for the negative experience and apologised to the customer on behalf of the company. This shows good character and leadership as it shows that you took ownership of the fault without resorting to blaming others (throwing your colleagues under the bus as they say). If possible discuss how you took steps to fix the underlying cause of the problem either through changes to process or training of staff members.
For positive feedback it is important that you ensure the correct party receives the accolades (shows humility on your part). Talk about how you praised the colleague and shared the success with others in order to inspire further good work. And again if possible talk about how you took this positive feedback and used it to improve processes elsewhere.
See how, even though you were not responsible for why the customer was providing feedback, the way you handled the feedback shows professionalism and the makings of a great colleague.
How NOT to answer this question
“A customer was upset as we were late in delivering an important report. I told them that it was due to a new employee who was still fresh on the job and that I will personally ensure the report is on time until the colleague is completely up to speed”
This is a partially good answer. The part where the interviewee stepped up to the plate to ensure the issue would no longer occur was a nice touch. However nobody likes it when you blame new colleagues for mistakes. If the colleague is new why were they solely responsible for the report in the first place?
“One of our clients at the end of an engagement provided a pretty mixed feedback report, however it highlighted me and my status updates as one of the more positive elements of the work. I made a note that my status reports were well received and to carry this over to other engagements. The client was so happy that they provided me with tickets to a local sporting event. Me and 3 friends had a great time”
While it is good that the interviewee was called out specifically as being one of the better parts of the engagement, the answer also states that the report was pretty mixed. Meaning that there was some negative aspects to the feedback that were not mentioned. This screams out that the interviewee is only interested in how they were perceived and not that the client had a good relationship with the business as a whole.
It doesn’t matter if the client liked you personally if they still don’t continue working with your firm.
Also taking client gifts and sharing them with your friends is a bit of a dick move. At least say you offered them to your colleagues first!
“How Do You Respond To Customer Feedback” – Example answer
“I love receiving feedback from customers. That’s why in all of our after-sale communications there is a big link asking customers for their feedback. I believe that understanding how a customer feels about our business and process is fundamental to our growth.
When I receive feedback the first thing that I do is thank the customer, regardless of whether the feedback is good or bad. If the feedback is negative I quickly look to rectify the issue and fix the underlying problem, if the feedback is positive I share it with my team to provide encouragement to continue the good work
For example, quite recently we were tasked to provide a market research report for a new client. When we issued the report we received both good and bad feedback.
The client was more than pleased with the work and output from our focus groups and stressed how they thought we went above and beyond in this regard. Upon hearing this I sent the feedback to our Senior Management team to highlight how one of my colleagues who led the session could enhance our focus group processes so that the same level of service can be deployed to all of our clients.
On the other hand the client was displeased with how long the report took to produce and be issued. I immediately apologised to the client and assured them that in the future we will ensure they are given a more robust timeline so they know exactly when to expect our reports. I also discussed with our management team how we could potentially deliver our reports in stages as some areas of the report take longer to complete than others. This was discussed and agreed by the execs and is now part of our offerings to each client”