Today is Good Friday. Stock and bond markets are closed. If you have a question about your account, is the mutual fund company or brokerage firm where you have your money open to answer your questions?
I’m not talking about automated IVR systems. I’m talking about live human being customer service reps.
I polled some major companies about their customer service hours. Here are the results:
|Company||Customer Service Rep Hours|
|TD Ameritrade||Open 24/7/365|
|Vanguard||Reps are available 14 hours a day on weekdays, 7 hours on Saturdays; closed on Sundays and holidays.|
|T. Rowe Price||Reps are available 14 hours a day on weekdays, 8.5 hours on Saturdays; closed on Sundays and holidays.|
In terms of customer service availability, Vanguard and T. Rowe Price fall short of the competition.
Being available is a pre-requisite to delivering good service. When I carry a busy work schedule, evenings, weekends, and holidays are often the only time slots available for personal business. Self-service on the web is fine. Having access to customer service when I need it the most would be better.
Although I like Vanguard funds, I don’t like Vanguard’s customer service. Producing low cost, highly diversified mutual funds and delivering efficient, high quality customer service are completely different things. The latter requires investment in IT systems, training, headcounts, and maybe higher wages for customer service reps. It costs a lot of money. I don’t think Vanguard has invested as much as other companies in these areas.
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