Tell Me About a Time You Went Above and Beyond for a Customer

Most airlines don’t require candidates to have prior Cabin Crew experience but they nearly always expect some form of previous customer service experience.  And this is a classic Customer Service question that you’re likely to face.  One that you should be definitely be prepared for – with two to three examples if possible.

The actual question can take many different forms but the competency this question is testing remains the same.  You need to prove that you can ‘go above and beyond’ or ‘the extra mile’ to deliver exceptional customer service.

You’ll need to tell a vivid story to the recruiter.  One that clearly shows you’ve done something out of the ordinary to help someone.  It doesn’t matter where the example comes from – you don’t need to have a classic example from working in a shop, hotel or restaurant.  It could be from helping a colleague at work.  Remember, anyone you serve is a ‘customer’.

Like most Cabin Crew final interview questions, you can use the SOAR method to effectively answer this question:

S: Situation – Describe the situation.
O: Objective – Say what you intended to do to help.
A: Action – What you did you do to help the customer – go into lots of detail.
R: Result – How did the situation end?

Check out this article for lots more detail on the SOAR method.

As this is first and foremost a customer service question, you need to explain in detail the core principles around great customer service.  For example:

How Did You Find Out About the Problem?

  • Active listening
  • Open Questions
  • Concentrating on the customer’s needs
  • Anticipating the customer’s needs

How Did You Respond?

  • Displayed empathy
  • Put yourself in the shoes of the customer
  • Treated the customer in the same way you would expect to be treated
  • Explained options to the customer
  • Listened to feedback
  • Prioritised the customer over other duties
  • Took personal responsibility

This is just a starter and of course, what you did will depend on the circumstances, so take these techniques just as a quick example.  Now that you’ve set the scene and shown your excellent customer service credentials, you need to explain why doing something out of the ordinary was necessary.  You have to show that you’re responsible and not wasting resources in needlessly doing things for customers that don’t want or need it.

The ‘above and beyond’ element doesn’t have to be about giving the customer something for free.  Far from it.  You can’t solve every customer service issue by lavishing them with extras that nobody else would get.  Your ‘above and beyond’ example should come from the heart.  It might be because you spent loads of time with the customer or implemented the solution in your own time.

If you worked as a team then definitely mention it.  Perhaps by sharing tasks or getting ideas from your teammates.  Any element of teamwork you can include is a nice extra that will impress the recruiter.

This question is all about recognising a time when following a ‘standard operating procedure’ just won’t cut it.  A time when you had to do something slightly out of the ordinary to make someone’s day.  Pull at the recruiter’s heartstrings with an example they can easily relate to.

One last thing – You’ve gone ‘above and beyond’ in order to reach a set objective so finish off your example by describing the outcome.  Did the customer notice your hard work and go out of their way to thank you?  Have you saved your company from embarrassment or won an important customer that will bring your company plenty of sales in the future?  Make sure you highlight your achievement from having gone the extra mile.

Mateusz Maszczynski

Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.

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