Interview Question: How would you handle a customer who was angry because of a mistake you made?

Interview Question about EmotionsAs a barista or customer service rep, handling customers’ concerns should come naturally, especially if you have been in the business for quite some time. However, a busy environment can sometimes result in a mistake that can upset or frustrate a customer. When a mistake occurs, do you know how to handle the situation? This question should be anticipated by anyone who works in retail, food service, and other service industries.


Think of your past experiences. Have you recently made a customer upset because of a mistake you made? If so, how did you handle the situation? Explain the actions you took in order to come up with a solution.

If you weren’t successful in solving a customer issue or haven’t experienced a problem, here are suggestions to help fill in the blanks:

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. If you can’t understand why a customer is making a fuss, try to put yourself in the customer’s place. Doing this helps you shift your mind into a customer service mindset to avoid thoughts of unfair criticism (which makes resolving customer issues that much easier).

Listen. Listen to what the customer has to say. Fully hearing her concerns will help you figure out how to address the problem specifically. The customer is always right. Ask the client why he or she is upset. This way, you create a partnership between the two of you, indicating that you are willing to listen. When the customer knows he or she has been heard, resolving the issue goes much more smoothly.

Confirm their concerns. Ask questions if you’re struggling to understand why he’s upset.

Apologize and come up with a solution. Always be sincere in extending your apology. An apology won’t solve the problem alone, but it will ease the customer’s anger. Admitting that you made a mistake can prevent the customer from throwing a tantrum.

After an apology, think of a solution in order to address the problem correctly. If the customer doesn’t approve of your solution, hear him out and see if it’s possible to apply his solution instead. Be sincere and empathic. Always make sure that the customer leaves the shop with a smile on his face.

As a successful retail worker or barista who works in a service-oriented industry, you must be able to handle all kinds of stress when dealing with customers. Staying optimistic and positive makes otherwise tough customer service questions in an interview simple.

Read 8284 times Last modified on Thursday, 25 February 2016 18:31
Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 80,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.