‘Is there anything else I can help you with?’ is a common way for a customer service representative to end a telemarketing call. Once the main script is over and the caller has been signed up to learn more about a new product or canvassed on their opinion of a company, this signals the end of the call to most people.

A polite ‘no thanks’ is usually the response, but it is also a cue for the customer to ask any other questions they may have about the company or its products. And sometimes, after listening to a customer ranting on for several minutes, it may be better if the CSR chooses not to ask the question. After all, the irate customer has just made it plain that the company is not their favourite organisation and maybe even told the unfortunate CSR that they will be cancelling their contract with the firm forthwith.

My usual response, especially when a call handler has gone above and beyond to help me solve a problem, is usually to come out with some variation on, ‘no, I think that’s enough for you to be dealing with for now, isn’t it?’ thank them and end the call. Everyone from receptionists to hospital staff seems to be using the phrase these days, and coming up with a different reply each time keeps me on my toes and engaged with them as well as distracting me from the fact that – yet again – I’m on the phone to a call centre asking for help or listening to them telling me about products I probably won’t buy, but will express interest in just to be pleasant to the call handler.

One of the advantages of telemarketing firms is that the CSRs are trained to deal with all kinds of responses from their customers or leads. Generally, my default is to give firms my mobile number. If no message is left on a missed call and no text follows, I am unlikely to return the call. Giving mobile numbers as main contact numbers is becoming more frequent, and the very best CSRs will know how to deal with this and may even have a specific script to follow when leaving a message to try and hook the warm lead into ringing back. The smaller offices where staff who handle your initial registration also chase your later renewal are often the best at this. I usually remember the names of the staff I talk to at these smaller brokers and branches, and while they employ the same rules as large telemarketing call centres, these places are more personable because they leave messages and wait for my call back.

When the staff ask ‘Is there anything else I can help you with?’ I am more likely to say, ‘not unless you can help me retire early/lessen my workload/become an overnight millionaire’, thus making them laugh, safe in the knowledge that their call has been completed satisfactorily and there is nothing more they can do to help me with today.

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