Retail Interview Questions: "How Would You Deal With An Angry Customer?"

Retail Interview Questions: "How Would You Deal With An Angry Customer?"

If you’re trying to get a job in retail, you should be ready for some very specific interview questions. While reading a list of common interview questions will help you get ready for the hiring process, that alone isn’t enough. There are some questions that employers ask because they highly relate to retail environments, like how you would deal with an angry customer. Find out how you should answer this challenging question.

Why the Question and Answer Matters

When you work in a retail environment, you encounter upset customers. No matter how great your company is or how nice you are, people will become angry. It’s important that you know how to de-escalate a conflict with a customer and resolve problems the right way.

A hiring manager wants to be certain that you can stay calm during a conflict. As difficult as it might be, you always need to address the concerns of an upset customer. If you can’t, you aren’t a good fit for retail. Fortunately for you, everyone can learn how to deal with conflict in the workplace.

So, does the way in which you answer this question matter? Absolutely. If you don’t answer correctly or confidently, you miss out on a job offer.

How to Answer the Question

To prove your abilities, you need to give a very detailed answer to this interview question. If the hiring manager gives you a specific scenario and asks how you would handle it, use the following process to craft your answer.

Think About How You Would and Should Act

Before you answer the question, imagine yourself in the scenario. If a customer was angry with you, what would you do? Although the hiring manager is looking for a certain answer to this question, they also want you to be authentic. Imagine how you would and should act in the situation.

When you answer authentically, you come across as a genuine person. If your strength is empathy, mention that. Or, if communication is your strong suit, highlight that skill. Being truthful can help you receive a job offer.

Use Real Examples

If you’ve worked another job that involved any level of customer service, you probably have been involved in a customer dispute. Think about how you handled the situation. First, consider whether or not you handled the situation well. If you didn’t perform well, what could you have done differently? In the event that you diffused the customer’s anger and your boss was happy, analyze the situation.

Discuss your immediate reaction and every step you took to remedy the situation. Then, be sure to describe the outcome. The hiring manager may be impressed by not only your actions but by your confidence as well.

Think About the Job Description

Before you go into the interview, review the job description. What skills do you have that overlap with the job description? Which of those skills would help you deal with an irate customer?

For instance, the job description might mention verbal communication skills. When you talk about dealing with an angry customer, mention how your verbal communication skills would help. Other skills can include empathy, active listening, and attention to detail.

Consider the Work Environment

Every workplace is unique, and you should tailor your answer to the workplace. For instance, a conflict with a customer in a shoe store would be handled differently than a conflict with a customer in a tax office. When you talk about how you would deal with a problem, tailor your answer to the specific environment.

Even if you have no experience in this new environment, imagine what a customer complaint would involve. Regardless of your previous industry, you have soft skills that could help you.

Take Notes

As you prepare for the interview, go through the tips above and take notes. Review those notes the days before and on the day of the interview. The more you prepare, the better you'll answer the question.

If possible, ask a friend to hold a mock interview for you. Focus on this one particular question, and ask them for feedback. When you have the interview, you will know exactly how to answer one of the toughest interview questions.

Examples of How to Deal with an Angry Customer

If you have writer's block, looking at some examples of interactions with angry customers might help. To maintain authenticity, don’t just copy and paste these situations and use them during your interview. Instead, consider how your own strengths could be used in the following scenarios:

Receptionist with an Angry Phone Call

As a receptionist, you’re the face of the company. You could have a frustrated customer call you looking for answers. In this situation, you should use verbal communication combined with active listening skills. You might take notes on the situation and relay them to the manager.

Then, you can use your verbal communication skills to clearly apologize and explain how you’ll work to fix the problem. Lastly, you should ask the customer for feedback.

Server with an Angry Diner

If you’re a server and a customer has a complaint about food, there’s a right way and a wrong way to handle the situation. First, you should listen to the customer and understand their problem.

After that, you should de-escalate the situation by apologizing and offering to make things right. You may even speak with the manager and offer the customer a gift card or partial refund. By checking with your superior and suggesting a course of action, you’re showing excellent problem-solving skills.

Retail Assistant with an Angry Return

You might be a retail assistant dealing with a customer who’s returning a flawed item. In this scenario, you should determine the customer’s true complaint. Once you know their problem, you can use your communication skills to show them that you are apologetic and genuine. Finally, you can discuss your possible solutions.

Giving Your Best Answer

As long as your response shows empathy, takes action, and involves you remaining calm, a hiring manager will appreciate your response. It may not be long before you find yourself accepting a job offer.

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