In a post I wrote more than a year ago, I revealed my passion for the question “Is there anything else I can help you with?” at the end of support calls. For a long time I required our customer service representatives to ask this question and would mark them down if they failed to do so. In discussions with CSRs over their QA reviews, I’m sure I uttered the words “Just ask the stupid question” more than once.
After many such discussions, I have softened my stance. Since that original post, a couple comments from readers have caused me to rethink a few things about the importance of asking the question. Here are a few of my thoughts:
Extending The Call Unncessarily
It’s a bad idea to annoy the customer with this silly question, because usually you have already been on the phone a long time solving your problem. ~Comment from Larry
The point of asking “is there anything else I can help you with” is to ensure that we never rush the customer off the phone. We want to make sure all of their issues have been addressed and even detect issues they weren’t calling about. On the flip side, asking the question merely because it’s required only extends the call and wastes time.
What Are The Alternatives
I came across this because I was looking for a different way to say “Is there anything else I can help you with.” …I work for a call center and my sup doesn’t want me saying that anymore. He says it’s been used too much and nobody really hears it anymore. Especially our QA. Any ideas on a better way to close a call? ~Comment from Joann
This comment is very interesting to me. If your call center has this question engrained in quality assurance, and asking it is tied to a score, which is tied to a review– perhaps it’s time to rethink. This supervisor apparently cares more about the intent rather than the form, which is terrific. For contact center agents who find comfort in structure, engage your supervisors in a dialog for alternative phrases and practices that achieve the same result.
Training The Right Things
It…comes across as terribly rehearsed and machine like. ~Comment from Sean
Ultimately, I believe that if we hire excellent communicators in our contact centers, who are adept at making connections with customers, it really doesn’t matter if they ask the question at the end of their support calls. They will be so aligned with the spoken and potential needs of the customer that they will only end calls when they are confident that those needs have been met.
Perhaps it’s time to spend less time training people to read scripts and more time training them to connect with customers in such a way that they recognize and address their individual needs. This adds a new challenge to training and quality assurance but your customers and customer service representatives will thank you for it.
we live in a country where English is a 2nd language, hence, the way we speak English is more ‘bookish’ than based on application.
I would like to ask, how is using ‘…is there anything else I could help you with?…’ wrong?
why is it better to say ‘…is there anything else I can help you with?’…
Hi Jessy, thank you for your comment. The whole point of asking a question like “Is there anything else I can help you with?” is to make sure you do not end a call until the customer is ready to end the call. Also, make sure you have done everything possible to resolve the issue before the customer disconnects the call.
I find this question at the end of calls absolutlely infuriating. Nine (well, ten) times out of ten if I’m having to speak to a customer service team it’s because there’s a problem I couldn’t resolve online. Customer service is generally so poor these days due to endless cost cutting and outsourcing that I’m usually in a worse mood by the end of the call. To have to wait for another 10 seconds out of politeness to hear someone ask “is there anything else I can help you with” just because they’ve been told to is extremely irritating. If there was something else, I’d have already asked. It’s a bit like “just in case we get cut off can I call you back on this number?”. This is clearly not why the question is being asked – you want me to confirm my contact number and my permission to call me on that number for marketing purposes. People aren’t stupid – maybe just be honest about it?
I agree with “pass,” it IS extremely infuriating to be asked this question. It’s obvious from the intonation that we’re wrapping up the call, you’ve helped me, I’m ready to say good-bye, and then I get asked if there’s ANYTHING ELSE! No, if there were anything else, I wouldn’t have said, “Okay, thank you very much,” indicating I wanted the conversation to END. NOW.