When choosing a broker, there’s a lot to consider – what type of accounts do they offer? Which trading platforms are supported? How much will you be paying in fees? How can you fund your account?
There’s so much to contemplate that we might overlook some of the small details. Customer service is one thing that you might not think too much about until after you’ve opened a trading account unless you need help with the account opening process. If support is easy to reach, fast, and polite, you won’t have to worry about having your problems solved quickly later down the road. However, you might find yourself with a big problem and realize that you’ve chosen a broker with horrible customer service when you need help the most. Consider these scenarios:
You have lost the login information to your trading account and can’t get a password reset through email for some reason. You need to get into your account quickly to make or close a trade – but support isn’t online. You wind up waiting days for your account to be unlocked and your broker doesn’t care that you’ve missed out on some important trades.
It’s well past your broker’s outlined timeframe for withdrawals, but yours never hit your bank account, so you reach out to customer support. The agent you speak with is rude and doesn’t seem to care about your problem. They might request certain documents that you can’t get in your country and aren’t willing to work with you at all. You realize that you may never receive your money.
A more technical issue with a trade is causing you to panic because you feel that things aren’t right. Support informs you that they will forward the issue to the trading department – but the specialist won’t be in the office for days because of a limited work schedule.
As you can see, bad customer service can really affect your experience trading with certain brokers. This is why it’s crucial to look at the following factors before opening a trading account through a broker:
#1: How can you get in touch with an agent? In our opinion, LiveChat or any other online instant messaging option is the quickest, most convenient way to contact support. However, some brokers advertise these contact options but rarely have agents online, even during business hours. Be sure to test instant messaging options first to make sure that they are actually used. You also might want to speak to someone on the phone, but every broker does not list a direct phone number. If email is the only contact option, chances are you’ll have to wait at least 24 hours for a response. Imagine having an urgent problem with no option but to wait for days for a response. What if you need to speak to support through multiple messages? Talk about a drawn-out headache.
#2: What hours is support in the office? Some brokers are in the office 24/7 and many others operate 24/5. Having access to support on the weekends is great because this is when most traders decide to open accounts and have questions. Other brokers might have shortened hours that cause them to close earlier in the day. We’ve also seen cases where the trading department or financial departments only work on certain days of the week, which causes a big delay for traders that need to speak to a specialist.
#3: What type of attitude does support have? Think of the scenario we provided earlier where the support agent was unhelpful when dealing with the client who needed to provide a document he couldn’t get because of the country he lived in. Support agents can’t break policy – but we’ve seen cases where agents went above and beyond to find a solution for their clients, even if it meant consulting with the big boss or asking others for advice about how to solve the problem. You should try talking with a few members of your considered broker’s customer service team to find out if the agents are polite and helpful or rude and pushy. It isn’t a good idea to work with a broker that allows their agents to be standoffish towards clients.
#4: What languages are supported? Your browser might translate a broker’s website for you if you speak another language, but it often fails to translate inside of a LiveChat window. If you speak English but are using a broker from another country, or if you speak another language, consider looking for a broker that offers support in multiple languages. There is a way around this, as you can use Google Translate, although this can be a bit inconvenient.
Finding a broker with a professional customer service team is important, as you’re probably going to need to speak with someone at some point in your trading career, whether you have a quick question, are having an issue with a withdrawal, need to speak to the trading department about a trade, get locked out of your account, or for some other reason. Traders often need help quickly when these problems arise so that they don’t miss out on important trading opportunities. If your broker has convenient contact methods, is available most of the time, and is polite and willing to help, then you’ll be provided with quick and easy resolutions. On the other hand, choosing a broker with rude staff and limited contact options will surely create a headache for you later on. Be sure to test out any considered broker’s customer support options before opening an account to find out what to expect.