Question forms part of
Other interview questions that are similar
Have you ever put in the extra work to make sure a customer leaves happy?
Do you believe it is necessary to ‘go the extra mile’ in customer service?
What the interviewer is looking for by asking this question
If you are going for a customer service based role this is a question you need to have a go-to answer for. It is extremely common.
When asking this question the interviewer doesn’t really care about the example you give (of course you should still make it a good example). No, the interviewer is looking to see if going above and beyond is something that you do regularly or if your example was just a one off. Do you drive to constantly exceed your customer’s expectations or are you happy to provide what is needed and no more?
So while the question itself is about a specific interaction you had with a customer, what the interviewer is looking for is insights into your work ethic, what type of attitude you bring to your role and how committed you are to customer service.
If you can portray all of this in your answer then you will be well on your way.
The best approach to answering this question
As this is a ‘tell me about a time’ question the best way of answering will be by using the B-STAR technique. Let’s see how that would work, later on in the post we will look at a real life example:
B – Belief – As we discussed in the above section, the example you give is not as important as showing that you regularly go above and beyond in your role. Open your answer talking about how you believe that you should always give every task your all and how it is your experience that a happy customer is a repeat customer which is why you always aim to leave each customer pleased with your transaction or interaction.
S – Situation – Now we move into the specific example. Set the scene a little by talking about where you were working and in what function. It is always best to try and tailor the example to the role you are going for. So if you are applying for a telephony role try to give a time when you above and beyond for a telephony customer, etc.
T – Task – What happened that made you go ‘above and beyond’, and what was your role in exceeding this customer’s expectations?
A – Activity – Briefly discuss the actions you took. If there is any doubt make sure to explain here how these actions could be deemed above and beyond as opposed to just the normal functions expected of you as part of your role.
R – Results – What was the outcome of your actions? Definitely talk here about how the customer was over the moon with your actions and as a result left with a higher opinion of your organisation (if possible talk about how they became a repeat customer)
How NOT to answer this question
- Do not describe an ordinary interaction with a customer. If you did not go above and beyond in your example then do not use it. Similarly if you were just following your job’s usual processes do not use that example.
- Do not talk about how you went above and beyond by doing something unethical or illegal. This includes bending or breaking corporate policy. While the outcome may have been beneficial to the customer your interviewer will not look favorably on applicants who admit to breaking policy and in fact boast about it in interviews.
- Do not talk about how your manager or colleague made you go above and beyond. All this does is show that you follow instruction (if the interviewer is interested in your instruction following abilities there are other more direct questions they will ask). To properly excel in this question the drive to exceed expectations needs to come from yourself. You can talk about how you enlisted the help of other people if it makes sense to your example but ensure that any efforts were your own idea and were primarily your doing.
- Finally, do not sell yourself short. An interview is a time to showcase your achievements, make sure you tell the interviewer exactly what you did and how well you did it.
Tell Me About A Time When You Went Above And Beyond For A Customer – Example answer
“I was always taught, as a child, that if a job is worth doing it is worth doing well, and I fully believe that still today, as an adult. I also believe that if you exceed a customer’s expectations by going above and beyond then that customer is many more times likely to revisit your business again down the line.
This is a philosophy I have taken with me to all my previous roles and will take with me to any future roles.
One time I remember going above and beyond was when I was working the Front Desk at my previous employer. Our hotel had a restaurant attached that was popular with guests and non-guests alike.
We had a customer at the restaurant try to book a same night stay at our hotel. Unfortunately for this customer though this was a busy weekend for the hotel and we were fully booked.
Upon learning that the customer was from way out of town and was quite stuck I took it upon myself to call around the other hotels in the area and find him a last minute room. It took about 20 minutes but I managed to find him a place not too far away and ordered him a taxi.
I have seen this customer numerous times since and he has told me that every time he stays in the city for work he now uses our hotel because of how much I helped him out that night.
Because I went above and beyond our hotel managed to turn someone from a restaurant customer to a frequent stayer.”