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This question is an illustration of one of those Amazon’s leadership principles that I think It’s the principle of customer obsession and the question is “walk me through a time where you helped a customer through a difficult process and what that looked like.

Now I’m going to first give you some data about an experience in mind that doesn’t involve you. Amazon bought a cell phone carrier where I was attempting to get my older iPhone to make phone calls on Wi-Fi which should work very easily but for some reason, my family’s phones all were able to do it. Mine couldn’t.

So, I first called the carrier level one support to go through their process. It’s not working.. Gets escalated to level two. We go through the process. I walk them through the steps I’m involved with. It should work; it’s not working. It gets escalated to level three. I get a phone call from someone from level three support and we start entering into a conversation about what I’m doing, what’s going on with the phone. They promise to research it and come back to me which they do 24 hours later. We identify that there’s a problem that Apple needs to be notified about because they need to turn on something on their side, that there’s a bug that exists. They need to carry it.

I’m just giving you the facts of the situation so you can understand how you do this in answering questions.

Ultimately, I’m told the ticket has been submitted to them. It should be resolved in 48 hours. We will call you back to confirm that that’s been done. In the meantime, I’ve submitted it to them and I’m going to follow through with them to make sure it’s been taken care of.

Now, you pause for a second because you have to think of interviewing as being like theater. You’re acting and even though you’re rehearsed for this, you want to begin with the idea that you’re thinking about your answer. So you might pause for a second and go, “yeah.”

Notice what I did? I’m giving the impression of thinking and they might simply say, “I was working with someone who was escalated to me. It was my first time dealing with a situation, where our capacity to turn on Wi-Fi for a customer, wasn’t working.

“So, we went through all the steps obviously and once those weren’t working I promised the customer I would call back within 24 hours. In the meantime, I spent time, not just simply at work but off-hours to try and identify problems and identify that there was a problem on the Apple side of this. It wasn’t with our carrier, but it was with Apple. I reached out to them, confirmed that this is an issue on, not just his phone, but a whole bunch of other phones and thus what I was able to do was babysit with the vendor, with Apple to ensure that the issue with this person’s phone (my phone) would be handled in a timely way.”

And he might go through some more details of the story. But you want to follow the format of SOAR. What was the situation that you had to deal with, what was the objective that you had, what was the action that you took what was the result that you got, and if there’s a way that you can measure this in terms of customer satisfaction that’s what you try to do because, at the end of the day, what they’re looking for in answering is that you were obsessed, that you wouldn’t let this tiger go once you had it in your teeth, you’re gonna hold on to it and not let it go until the issue is solved.

So, understand, obsession is a big deal to certain organizations. If you’re in a service role, this is what they want to hear. They want to hear a story where you just wouldn’t let the tiger go and you held on to it by the tail. You had it in your teeth and no matter what, you were going to get this resolved because that’s what really makes a difference in cases like this.


Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020



Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
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