During an interview, a hiring manager might ask a behavioral question — a question that tests your ability to respond to work situations, such as your reaction to a confrontational customer. If you’ve already had success dealing with this type of situation, cite specific examples to back your answer. Otherwise, mention calming techniques you’d use to pacify patrons and defuse their frustration. You want to assure the hiring manager that you wouldn’t say or do anything to further aggravate the situation.
Acknowledge the Customer’s Frustration
Discuss ways you’d acknowledge the customer’s frustration or disappointment. Tell the hiring manager that you’d demonstrate empathy and respect, without confronting or belittling the customer, suggests Bill Eddy, California attorney, licensed social worker and certified family law specialist, according to the “Illinois Bar Journal.” Give the interviewer examples of what you might say, such as “I’m sorry to see that you’re upset; please explain to me why you’re frustrated,” or ” I understand why you’re angry. Let’s try to work together to find a solution.”
Be a Good Listener
Explain the calm, soothing approach you’d take by being a good listener. The confrontational customer might just need the opportunity to vent her disappointment, even if you can’t change the circumstances, according to the business consulting website Dale Carnegie Training. Tell the job interviewer that you wouldn’t interrupt the customer, point out flaws in her logic or discredit her remarks. Assure the hiring manager that you’d listen carefully to everything the customer had to say before making any decisions or commitments.
Put the Patron at Ease
Explain ways you’d show a confrontational customer that you care and take his complaints seriously. You might summarize what the patron has said to make sure you understand the issues correctly, ask further questions to verify the details or consult a supervisor if you need help clarifying policies related to the customer’s complaints, according to Forbes. Assure the interviewer you’d maintain eye contact, stand up straight and avoid crossing your arms. This shows the hiring manager that you’re aware of the important role body language plays when you’re dealing with unhappy customers.
Apologize for Mistakes
Answer the interview question by affirming your commitment to ensuring customer satisfaction. Let the hiring manager know that you aren’t too proud to apologize for mistakes, even if they weren’t errors you made personally. Provide exact phrases you might say to address angry or confrontational customers, such as “I’m sorry that our product didn’t meet your expectations” or “I’m sorry you were overcharged. I’ll look into that mistake right now.” Assure the interviewer that you’d maintain a high level of professionalism, despite the customer’s threats or accusations.