As fees are cut, clients want an even better experience survey shows

Websites and human interaction are important even for self-directed investors according to JD Power

As fees are cut, clients want an even better experience survey shows
Steve Randall

A shift towards low or zero trading fees will require a renewed focus on customer experience for self-directed investors.

A new survey from JD Power has found that saving costs on fees does not mean investors will accept poor online experiences or a lack of human interaction when required.

The poll of self-directed investors in the US found that, even in a world where technology is accelerating, the now-traditional website is a key point of contact for investors – and a frequent irritation.

In recent weeks, some major investment firms have suffered outages on their online platforms and this will impact on customer loyalty and satisfaction according to JD Power’s senior director of wealth & lending intelligence, Michael Foy.

“Do-it-yourself investors experiencing at least one website outage over the past 12 months are twice as likely as other investors to say they will leave their current firm,” he said. “When these types of problems occur, human support channels are essential to restoring loyalty. This is critically important for firms right now as they contend with operational challenges in both digital and call center channels, and investors are rattled by COVID-19 and economic uncertainty.”

When there are issues with the online experience, 79% of self-directed investors said that they will seek human assistance. They are more likely to be satisfied overall when using human support channels rather than self-service digital channels.

Those respondents who had no interaction or only mobile interaction with their investment firms reported the weakest overall satisfaction.

Who’s getting it right?
The study found that Vanguard, Charles Schwab, and Fidelity are the top firms for overall satisfaction among investors seeking guidance, whereas the top two are flipped for overall satisfaction among self-directed investors.