Customer Service OpportunitiesGood Customer Service: “Is there anything else you want?”

Once a customer’s reasons for calling have been satisfied, customer service representatives usually ask, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” If the customer says no, the customer service rep concludes the call.

Better Customer Service: “Is there anything else I can offer?”

In most cases however, customers don’t know that there are additional products, services, or pieces of information that may be of use to them. That’s where top-notch service and support reps ask themselves, “Is there anything else I can tell or give the customer that might be of benefit?”

In order to do this successfully, service and support reps need to have a thorough knowledge of the products and services the company offers, and be able to make a connection between those that may be related. For example, let’s say you have an outdoor clothing company and a customer calls in ordering a red stocking cap from the recently mailed catalog. Since the catalog only contains a limited number of items, the customer wouldn’t know that there is a matching red scarf. The customer service rep would be doing the caller a service by letting him or her know about the scarf. Maybe the caller wants to buy it, maybe not. But this gives the customer service rep an opportunity to point out that more items are available on the website. Perhaps the caller will check the website next time and order online, saving a call into the contact center and, possibly, increasing the order value.

But offering additional service to customers doesn’t always mean upselling or cross-selling something. It’s answering the question above: “Is there anything else I can tell or give the customer that might be of benefit?” Here’s a real-life example.

My friend, Nina, called a 1–800 hotline to get tax forms sent to her last February. She had already received the standard 1040 form, but needed to obtain a schedule to report her income from self-employment. The CSR exhibited terrific customer service skills—she asked for the necessary information, confirmed her understanding of Nina’s request, arranged to send the schedule out, and told Nina when it would arrive. But then this customer service rep went above and beyond. She asked Nina if she had received her State of California tax forms, and Nina realized she had not. So the employee arranged to send those forms to her as well.

It was a small measure—one quick question and an extra form or two to send. But to Nina, it meant a lot. She wouldn’t have the frustration of suddenly realizing that she didn’t have all the forms she needed, and wouldn’t have to call the hotline—a very busy one—again. The incident increased Nina’s appreciation of the organization—in this case, the federal government!

Are your customer service and support reps prepared to offer additional service? If not, hold a team meeting, play some customer calls and ask the attendees, “Is there anything else you can tell or give the customer that might be of benefit?” If they come up with great ideas, congratulations! You have a well-trained team who has the customer as their primary focus. If they don’t have many ideas to share, you know that training will be required.