Is There Anything Else I Can Help You With?
Somewhere way back when, I had called a company for phone support and at the end of a very friendly support call, the agent asked “Is there anything else I can help you with?” At the time I remember thinking, “Wow, thanks for asking me that.” I immediately went back to our call center and began requiring that they ask this at the end of support calls.
Fast forward about 8 years and I have heard many, many different arguments for and against this simple phrase from members of our customer service team. Some agents will say it’s awkward, others will say there just isn’t an opportunity to ask and others will use the phrase but it’s more a way of pushing customers off the phone. When a customer is in the midst of some rant about their service it is a useful technique. Oh wait, you’re not supposed to use it with that intent.
As you can see, “Is there anything else I can help you with” is a loaded phrase and the way you use it is so much more powerful than the fact that you used it. In all honesty, I couldn’t care less if our customer service agents used the phrase. I really couldn’t. What I care about it that our agents are giving the customer all of the time that they need to ask questions and work through any problems during that single support encounter. What I care about is that our agents are empowering our customers, making a personal emotional connection and helping them better understand our system so they will be better equipped to solve their own problems. What I care about is that our agents are anticipating problems the customer may have with our system before the customer even has a problem with it.
If our customer service representatives accomplish all of these things, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” is really just the representative saying, “I have given this call my very best effort and after looking at your account, I feel that you should be very satisfied with our service moving forward. I have hit a home run on this call and unless some unforeseen issue arises, you should be a happy customer and you should not have to call support again for a long time but if you do, I’m here and happy to have another opportunity to make your day.”
Wow, you summed it up with this:
“If our customer service representatives accomplish all of these things, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” is really just the representative saying, “I have given this call my very best effort and after looking at your account, I feel that you should be very satisfied with our service moving forward. I have hit a home run on this call and unless some unforeseen issue arises, you should be a happy customer and you should not have to call support again for a long time but if you do, I’m here and happy to have another opportunity to make your day.””
And, this is a great question for forgetful customers who may have something else to ask on the tip of their tongue and forgot it—and this makes the customer feel they are not rushed, the platform is open for them to ask anything else they need!
People say this to me after I have said thanks and goodbye.
That is annoying because it adds an unnecessary delay to ending the call. If I had something else I would have said so. It also comes across as terribly rehearsed and machine like.
Thanks for your comment. Such a good point! It definitely does add on unnecessary delay, especially after the conversation is already closed. Goodbye means goodbye! 🙂
Agree, but that’s why you use this sentence in a very strategical way, don’t add the sentence if your customer wants to end the call and believe me … you will know that.
Great answer, Natalya
It saved the day for me once, I had forgotten an important part of my reason for calling and loved it. The other trick is to make sure your sound sweet and that your voice calms that irate customer at the end. A quick ” Anything else I can help you with?” or just a short, sweet, anything else, Alice?
I agree I am so annoyed when people ask me is there something else after I say thank you that’s all I need and then they still say is there anything I can help you with God that just irritates me.
As a customer service rep, I can agree it is annoying. It’s annoying to say! Lol, but it is a requirement from my employer to end all calls with it. Is there a way that would be a better experience for both the caller and rep? It would help me a great deal for any tips!
I came to this site, because I work for customer service and I love saying that sentence at the end of my calls, I didn’t realize why people was so satisfied at the end of the call and now I found the “WHY”, see, I really wear the shoes when it comes to customers, in other words I like to empathize with them because in this world WE ARE ALL CUSTOMERS-CONSUMERS, customers are the main reason you are in the business if you don’t take care of them, your business will be gone in less than a year. Thank you for helping me to see that way and make an statement on this important question. Is there anything else I can help you with?
Thank you for sharing Natalya! I’m glad you agree with me on this one. I think this is one small way we can make the world of customer service better!
Its 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. I think the phone agent hates having to ask it too.
It usually leaves the customer frustrated even more, especially if they haven’t solved your problem.
Thank you Larry. You definitely have a good point. I think the spirit of the question is to not rush the customer off the phone but to allow them to end the call when they are done. I have relaxed on requiring our customer service team to ask this question at the end of every call.
It’s so irritating like I said I tell the customer service agent every single time thank you that’s all I need and every single time they still say is there anything else I can help you with as if they didn’t hear that I just told them that’s all I need thank you it’s just so irritating
I can’t stand that question that’s why I’m on this site I tell the customer service agent every single time thank you that’s all I need and then they still say OK is there anything else I can help you with God I just don’t understand why this has to be added after I say thank you that’s all I need
I came across this because I was looking for a different way to say “Is there anything else I can help you with” Because I work for a call center and my sup doesn’t want me saying that anymore. He says it’s been used to much and no body really hears it anymore. Especially our QA. Any ideas on a better way to close a call?
Joann, thank you for your comment! I have softened on this a bit over the last year. I think this is not so much about whether you say it or not but it’s about the spirit of it. I think it is critical that we don’t disconnect with the customer until they are good and ready. I want to avoid rushing the customer off the phone at all costs. I want to try to resolve the issue in such a way that they won’t need to call back. This means potentially anticipating needs they didn’t know they had. I hope this helps! Have a terrific day.
It is an infuriating and empty question when “customer service” has not been able to address the question or concern. Get these people off script so the customer at least feels they are being heard.
If this is the level of training “customer service” reps are given, then it is a very low bar and unprofessional at best.
Ritchie, you’re absolutely right! Thanks for stopping by.
Perhaps you could simply say “Anything else, (name)?”
Here in mexico, when we are contacted by u.s customers in my work, we use to ask… Anything ele i can assist you with?
The ¨Help¨word sometimes make the people feel like fool or ignorant about the subject. It´s jut a way to let them feel we´re here to assit you. Just my opinion!
Great point. Thanks for stopping by, Javier!
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This is easily the most annoying and unnecessary statement since “… I am either on the phone or away from my desk.”
For some time now I end all of my support calls with the same closing statement: “Thanks for your time, that’s all, I have nothing else.” But INVARIABLY the support rep then says “Is there anything else I can help you with?”
And I invariably I respond by asking them WHY they asked that question when I just clearly stated I have no other issues to address. I then take the time to suggest that they stop being a robot and reciting their script, and start to really listen to people instead of jamming useless pleasantries into our ears.
Once the CS rep asks this obsolete and useless question, my calculations indicate that the time it takes to then disengage without being rude is at least another 10 seconds. Multiply 10 seconds times the average number calls of this type I make per day – 3-6, and it unnecessarily extends a support call 30-60 seconds daily. Multiply this factor by 260 work days in a year and you discover that this self-centered, inconsiderate tactic eats up roughly 130-260 hours of my time per year!
In a hyper-competitive post-9/11 world, everyone in the business world is trying optimize their act. That’s understandable. The problem with this tactic is that it IS NOT based on metrics that actually measure the return generated by unnecessarily prolonging a support call to build rapport with the customer AFTER the issue has been settled.
This question is most annoying when the results of the call are unsatisfactory.
I have a term for this kind of nonsense – I call it post-9/11 B.S. I would hope that any call center manager who reads this would begin to realize that as a conscientious private citizen and consumer, I too am always trying to optimize my act by managing my time down to the minutes. This tactic is a disrespectful encroachment on my time.
Only in America can such a mindless idea catch fire!
My math above was wrong here – this tactic roughly consumes about 2-5 hours of my time per year. The rest of my rant stands!
Hi Douglas, I appreciate you sharing your rant with us! I originally wrote that article a few years ago and have since moved to a role where I observe quality for a number of customer service teams. The more I see “Is there anything else I can help you with” the less I like it. Great customer service professionals support customers efficiently, anticipate the next issue the customer might need help with, and end the call when it makes sense for the customer.
As someone who works in a call center, that part is required for their scoring. You could literally say to the phone agent “I need nothing further, you have helped me with everything. Thank you.” and they will tell you “Is there anything else I can help you with today?” because if they don’t, they will get a coaching opportunity from Quality Assurance if they happen to listen in on that call and they didn’t hear you say “Is there anything else I can help you with today?”.
There are many, many, many, MANY metrics that you have to hit working in a call center.
I agree with your rant. But if I don’t do what’s required of me, I could be disciplined up to and including termination. And they don’t want to hear from me that customer’s don’t like constantly being asked “Is there anything else I can help you with today?” – they want to hear it from customers. If I say it, they think we’re just being whiny and don’t want to do our jobs.
I work in a financial institution and this phrase is something I say quite a lot after I’m done with the transaction, to either make sure there is nothing else they might need assistance with, any questions; or just to close the interaction. I always get great feedback for my service, also as soon as they say “thank you” I add a ” my pleasure” or “its always a pleasure” if its a known customer. However I just started a new job and As always I’m getting great feed back for the level of customer service I provide, but my new manager want me to come up with something different, like an open ended question…so I’m now out of ideas. Any suggestions?
Hi Tianne, thank you for your comment! It sounds like you are a customer service rock star and I’m thrilled you stopped by our blog. Here’s an article I wrote a few months ago that explores this idea in more detail: http://customerservicelife.com/anything-else-else/ The basic idea is to move away from a yes/no question and ask, “What else can I help you with today” or something like that. I’d love to hear what you end of doing and hope you’ll leave a comment in the future!
I work in a Financial institution, can I ask them “ what can I help you today?
I wish the bank teller would ask a question that I could answer “yes” to. Is there anything else I can do for you” I must answer NO but I’d like to be able to answer yes, like, if they said See you next time I can say OK, or Have a Good One maybe I can answer YES, thank you instead of NO
This is a really great point, David! Thank you for sharing.
I find it incredibly annoying as a customer. Usually, in an effort to be efficient, I end my calls with “That’s all I needed, thank you”, only to have it followed by “is there anything else I can help you with”. Every time this happens, I want to respond with, “No, I literally just told you that I don’t need help with anything else”, but I usually restrain myself. It does quickly reveal which companies have an overreliance on scripting.
As a general rule, unless it’s information specific to the company, give your reps the freedom to have a natural conversation. If they can’t handle that, then get better reps. Any time you make your employees all say some generic phrase, even with the positive intent, it is more often than not providing zero additional value to the exchange.
Thanks for your comment, Rick! I’ve definitely been there and heard plenty of calls where the agent was completely thrown off when the customer said they didn’t need anything else. I’ve been guilty as a manager of requiring that my agents ask regardless and it does make for an awkward end to the call. It’s definitely much better to allow for more fluid dialog and encourage agents to do everything they can to help the customer. It’s still pretty easy to hear the logical end of the call.
I am new to this site and just joined cause I am starting a contact center, I would believe that there are always certain phrases that customer service reps need to be trained for, say for instance :
1. An irate customer who goes on firing you, there must be some way to get back into the conversation. Use of phrases here helps.
2. A customer needs empathy and new agents find it hard to empathize (it is such subtle nuance), phrases help here.
3. Ending the call with “Is there anything else I can help you with” is just another phrase that says I am happy to be of help.
4. I have troubleshot hardware calls myself when I was young and after a two hour call, I still asked “Anything else…” and got good remarks from the customer and quality.
These days when I hear it after I have said goodbye(it totally agree with comments made on this) I get impatient.
I totally agree so I’ve decided I’m just gonna say OK thank you that’s all I need and I’m just gonna hang up so there’s no opportunity for them to ask such a stupid question after I’ve already told them that’s all I need I am simply just going to say thank you that’s all I need and then hang up that’s what I’m gonna do
I once got frustrated and asked can you give me a million but definitely comes in with with robotic artificial intelligence so they know when they can hang up
Some bell end used this phrase in a call where they had asked me (the customer) for help with some of my records they had lost. I just said “you were the one that asked me for help, and you’re welcome.”
Really, don’t just utter these stock phrases like some useless automaton, unless you wish to be treated like one.
The men on here with their NEGATIVE comments are people (as a customer service rep) that I hate to talk to… they sound like they have some real bipolar issues going on… If it upsets you that much when someone asks if there is anything else they can help with… I wonder how they get through life! I sometimes (thank goodness rarely) speak to these negative folks and wonder how anyone can put up with them! Just the tone of their comments sent chills up my spine… As a customer, I appreciate someone asking me the question because I may have forgotten something. It’s not what is said… its how it is said and in what context. It should not be mandatory, but it is Great customer service when used properly… and avoids a call back.
My assignment is live chat for a financial institution. Here’s how I offer an opportunity to assist further near the end of a chat.
‘Any other questions? We’re just a tap away.’
If a Customer has something they’re curious about, wants to vent further or remembers something before they leave the chat, they get that opportunity.
Ooooh, I love this! Thank you for sharing.
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I think the person who commented about how it reveals over-reliance on a script is spot on. I would like to deal with a human being working for a company that trusts them to have an unscripted conversation with customers when trying to solve a problem. If I hear this robotic phrase it’s at best depressing, at worst — when they haven’t even helped me, as others have said — enraging. It reveals the entire communication to have been inauthentic and, as is always the case when I encounter these scripts, leaves me with a dimmer view of the company in question than when I began the call.
Has anyone read the Effortless Experience by Matthew Dixon? I have been reading through these comments looking for a way to explain this to the call center. I am an advocate of “The Effortless Experience” I like this comment: “Great customer service professionals support customers efficiently, anticipate the next issue the customer might need help with, and end the call when it makes sense for the customer”
My take is, scenario: the customer is on the phone going through their order, they are about to end the call. The rep states, Is there anything else? The customer says, I forgot, I needed to check status. The point is, we are trying to reduce call backs, which supports the customer and the team. I think if more reps knew they why behind that category, they would say it more.