Q. Why is this lesson important?

A. Customer service is your job. The biggest part of your job. This entire Section 10 is all about customer service – and the importance of ensuring a great customer experience.

In this lesson, I want to give you some examples of great customer service. And, I’ll give you some real examples of how I answered this question in an interview.

Q. Will I be asked to give an example of great customer service?

A. Very likely. When I interviewed for a bartending job, I would say that almost half of the interviewers would ask me something about my past customer service – and many times ask for an example.

Make no mistake – customer service is a HUGE part of the bartender’s job. And, you can bet that bar owners want to make sure you know what it is – and what qualifies as great customer service.

So. let’s get into some examples. What I want you to think about here is how you can tailor your answers, based off some of these examples, so that you don’t even have to think about it if asked in a job interview.

Of course, you may already have some great examples based on your prior experience. Don’t be afraid to use an example outside of the food and beverage industry! No matter what your previous jobs were – you can always find something that relates to good customer service.

So, the question from the interviewer will be something like this: “So, Mark, give me an example from one of your previous jobs of how you provided great customer service to one of your customers.”

But first – let’s look at some responses you should never use to the above question:

Bartender Interview Responses You Should Never Use!

Below are a few examples of what never to say when asked about a prior customer service example. These responses are used by almost everyone interviewing for a bartender job. I know – because I heard them all the time.

The goal here is to be unique! Please, don’t respond to this question like everyone else. The interviewer is tired of hearing the same, pat answers over and over again.

  • Doing more than what is required
  • Anticipating the customers needs
  • Using suggestive selling techniques
  • Keeping the bar clean (really?)
  • Having a good attitude
  • Being honest
  • Never worrying about the tip
  • Making sure that I stay professional

Of course, all of the above do have something to do with customer service, but that’s not what interviewer’s is asking for. They want something unique. And, if you can supply them with that – they’re going to remember you!

Examples of Great Customer Service Responses:

Firstly, you may be asked a very general question about customer service. Like this:

“Tell me, Mark, what is your idea of good customer service?”

Here’s a great answer:

“Providing good customer service is a great way to ensure that the customer is enjoying a fantastic experience. If a customer comes back – and specifically asks for me by name – then I know that I provided them with great customer service.”

The above is a great response. It doesn’t specifically answer the question, but it works for those of you who have never had a job that involves customer service.

Now, let’s get back to the original customer service question I asked before.

So, as a reminder, here is the original question again: “So, Mark, give me an example from one of your previous jobs of how you provided great customer service to one of your customers.”

A great Answer::

“My last job was as a landscaper. One time I was finishing up a lawn mowing job and I noticed that the owner’s son had a gas can in hand and was starting to walk to the nearest gas station. He stated that his motorcycle had run out of gas, and he had no way to get to the gas station other than to walk. I offered to give him a gallon of gas (we always carried extra gas cans), so that he could take his bike instead of walking. He was very appreciative, and the next time I was there cutting grass, the owner came out, thanked me, and offered to pay for that gallon of gas.”

The above is fairly simple, and I’m just trying to jog your memory here – and give you an idea of how you can use any past experience to answer the interview question in a unique, positive way. Here’s another one:

“I was a food server at my previous job. I noticed that many people have a hard time deciding on what they want to order. I always stepped in and suggested something that I personally like – and gave them details as to why it was my favorite dish. It works every time, and the overwhelming majority of people took my suggestion and ordered that item. I think people are really looking for suggestions, and it’s almost like I give them an “out” in making a decision.”

The example below is an “over and beyond” example if I’ve ever seen one. And a bit lengthy:

“I was managing a restaurant and bar, and over the lunch rush we ran out of chef salads. The problem was, the produce delivery was late that day, and we had run out of sliced ham as well as lettuce. We simply did not have the ingredients to make any more salads.
One of our regular customers, Steve, who came in for lunch at least twice per week, had brought in a couple of his clients for lunch. He loved our chef salad’s, and always ordered them. In this case, he, and his three guests, all ordered chef salads. Oops! The food server explained that we were out of chef salads and recommended something else – which is what she should have done. Steve was a bit perturbed, and let the server know. Jocelyn, the food server, came to me and laid out the situation.
I approached the table, said hello to Steve, and apologized for being out of his favorite lunch item. I explained that I would have personally went into the kitchen and made their salads – but we were simply out of the ingredients. However, I told Steve that I had a solution.
If they would order something else today for lunch, Steve could pick a day later in the week, or the following week, and I would personally deliver chef salad’s to his place of business (he worked at a car dealership just down the road), for lunch.
Steve responded with “Really?” I’m fairly certain that he thought I was kidding. I assured him that I was not, and to give me a call at the restaurant anytime in the next week or two and I would take care of everything. Steve laughed and said he might take me up on the offer. They ordered different items, enjoyed their lunch – and went on their way.
A few days later Steve called me at the restaurant and asked if he could get two chef salad’s delivered at the car dealership at around 12:30. Yep. I grabbed two and headed out the door. Steve paid for the two salad’s and tipped $20. Nice. I accepted the tip and told him I would give the $20 to the cook who made them. Done deal.
Steve continued to be a regular customer, and when I would walk by his table (topping off everyone’s coffee mugs during the lunch rush), Steve would just look at me and laugh. Nice!

The above example is true. And it happened to me! Yep – going way over and beyond, but when I gave this example, the interviewers were always impressed. I bet there’s something in your past work history that you could come up with like this.

Find that example (or two) of great customers service in your life, go through it in your mind a few times – and you’ll never have to worry again about being asked this question.

Remember: Your goal is to stand out. Provide the interviewer with a unique answer and they’ll remember you!

If you’re following along in the Basic Bartending Course:

Next Lesson: Secret Shoppers or “Spotters”

Previous Lesson: Suggestive Selling

Back to the Course Start Page: Basic Bartending Course