10 Top Answers to “What Does Customer Service Mean to You”

“What does customer service mean to you?” is a common customer service interview question. The hiring manager will always ask this for any customer service role. They need to know that you understand the importance of customer service and meeting customer expectations.

More and more, “customer service” is being called “customer success.” So be ready for questions using either term. Below are 10 great interview answers to this common question that will help you nail your next job interview.

5 Tips for the Best Answer

  • Be genuine and give your own answers (or add your own experience to the answers below).
  • Provide examples of customer service skills that you have that are listed in the job description.
  • Keep your answer short and to the point without providing unnecessary details.
  • Explain how exceptional customer service provides a competitive advantage to the business.
  • Talk about customer service as the connection between the customer and the business.

5 Mistakes to Avoid

  • Avoid talking about a time you gave bad customer service.
  • Do not talk poorly about past customers or coworkers.
  • Do not insult your previous company’s products.
  • Do not have negative public posts on your social media platforms.
  • Do not just say, “The customer is always right.” Customer service is more than this.

10 Sample Answers to “What does customer service mean to you?”

1. Sample Answer: In my previous customer service job in a retail store, I had a personal motto to provide exceptional service. To me, an excellent customer experience was about the “three S’s”: safety, service, and satisfaction.

I always looked out for anything that could make the store unsafe and fixed it or told the customer service manager immediately. I went the extra mile to be attentive to each customer’s needs. I knew I was meeting my customers’ needs through the many regular, loyal customers that I had and enjoyed seeing each week.

Key Takeaways: This is a great answer when interviewing for any customer service position, especially if you don’t have many personal experiences. It explains how you provide a positive experience to each customer and how you know that you are doing a good job.

2. Sample Answer: For me, the starting point of customer service is a happy customer. You can tell if you are doing a good job by if your customers are happy. It is the little things, like smiling when you greet them. I always try to have a positive attitude, even with difficult customers. By being supportive and using active listening, I can often turn a bad experience into a good one.

Key Takeaways: This answer talks about the best way to provide good customer service, even to a bad customer.

3. Sample Answer: In my previous job, I was a member of the support team for our website’s live chat. As one of many customer service representatives working in the customer service department, we had to manage customer feedback. This meant providing the best customer service experience possible to prevent negative reviews online.

I always tried to put myself in the customer’s shoes and listen to their problem to provide the best solution possible in a timely manner. I found this went a long way to increasing positive reviews.

Key Takeaways: This answer is good for support agents, as it discusses what good service looks like in an online customer support role.

4. Sample Answer: I find that a good way to provide good customer service is to look at my own experiences. In a customer-facing role, it is a good idea to ask, “What would I want if I were this customer?” At the end of the day, it is about meeting the needs of the customer effectively.

Key Takeaways: This is a great customer-focused answer and is good for service provider and retail roles.

5. Sample Answer: I think that a positive customer service experience cannot always be effectively provided by a single staff member. It is about the whole customer service team working together. This means communicating effectively together and with customers. It also means taking clear notes about what was discussed on a phone call or special requests a customer has made.

The most important thing is to make the customer feel valued so that they will want to come back in the future.

Key Takeaways: This answer is particularly good for jobs where customers may interact with many different staff, such as front-of-house positions.

6. Sample Answer: In a customer service role, you are the bridge between your company and the customer. Good customer service means understanding the needs of the customer and providing solutions that address their problem. To do this, a customer service representative must be a listener, a problem solver, and an effective communicator.

Key Takeaways: This answer is good for sales roles or roles in a corporate setting such as banks and insurers.

7. Sample Answer: Providing superior customer service is more than just something we do; it is something we live. To provide good customer service, you need to value its importance. Good customer service is a business’s point of difference. It is why a customer will come back to us and not to our competition. It is the first step in building long-term customer relationships.

Key Takeaways: This answer is good because it talks about how good customer service is of value to the company. This is one that can be used when interviewing with small businesses that need to compete with large competitors.

8. Sample Answer: Providing good customer service is not just a single thing. Good customer service can be something different for each company. To provide the best customer service possible, you need to share the value of the company.

You also need to understand what your customers’ problems are and why they have chosen your company’s products and services. Only then can you provide the level of customer service needed for long-term business success.

Key Takeaways: For specialty businesses, such as industrial manufacturers and business-to-business sales roles, customer service is not just about smiling and greeting the customer. This answer shows that you realize that understanding each customer is key to business success.

9. Sample Answer: Good customer service is an active effort, not just a reactive response to customer interactions. Excellent customer service starts with trying to understand the customer and continues throughout the customer interaction to seek customer feedback.

Actively seeking and responding to what customers tell us allows us, as customer service professionals, to better serve future customers. By anticipating needs and fully utilizing feedback, we are able to provide a superior customer service experience.

Key Takeaways: This answer shows a potential employer that you see customer service as a continual process of improvement focused on creating a positive customer experience. 

10. Sample Answer: Providing a great customer experience is a collaborative effort with the customer. The role of a customer service person is to communicate with the customer, draw out their concerns, and anticipate their needs. Through ongoing communication, the customer service person can provide the customer with the best outcome possible.

It is this effective customer service that builds long-term brand loyalty with customers, leading to business success.

Key Takeaways: It is always a good idea to discuss how customer service is an interaction with the customer. This answer also explains how, by creating good interactions, we build customer relationships.

10 Other Ways This Qustion May Be Asked

1. Tell me about a positive customer service experience you had. How was it handled correctly?

2. Tell me about a negative customer service experience you had. What went wrong?

3. What do you think is the best definition of customer service?

4. What does great customer service mean to you?

5. Can you provide me an example of excellent customer service that you provided in the past?

6. If we hired you today, what would you do to create higher customer satisfaction?

7. Have you ever lost a customer or a sale? What would you do differently today?

8. What is your understanding of what “customer service” means in this role?

9. Can you explain the relationship between customer service and business success? How about the difference between customer “service” and customer “success”?

10. What do you think are the most important duties of a customer service representative?


There are many common job interview questions that you will encounter in most interviews, but some are more important than others. How you provide excellent service to customers is one of the most important questions to provide a great answer to when applying for any customer-facing position.

This is even more true in recent years. Increased competition requires businesses to fight harder than ever for customer loyalty. A great way to stand out from the crowd is to have an excellent answer to this common interview question.

Try to prepare an answer based on the company and the field that you are applying for. Read the job description and make sure your answer demonstrates awareness of the key customer service concerns that your potential employer faces. By using the tips and examples given here and adjusting them for your personal experience and job role, you can give an answer that will impress your interviewer and put you on the fast track to customer service success.

Author Biography
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.