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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I have still not run into an issue that couldn’t wait until Monday to call Vanguard about. Why exactly would I need to call Schwab on Christmas Day? Or Fidelity at 3AM on Friday morning?
I am very glad that at Vanguard, we do not have to PAY for 24 x 7 x 365 Customer Service. Why would any intelligent investor want to do that?
Carl Patrick says
What? Do you think the savings are being passed on to you? No, they are being pocketed by big time officers at the company.
Harry Sit says
@Luke – I’m pretty sure the customer service reps aren’t sitting there chatting with each other on Christmas Day or at 3 a.m. on Friday morning, or else Schwab or Fidelity wouldn’t be so silly to pay them for doing nothing. Real customers are being served at those times. By your logic why does Vanguard even offer customer service hours on Saturdays? Can’t customers just wait until Monday?
I have used Vanguard for a very long time, and average one call to customer service about every 5 years.
24/7 customer service from Vanguard would be nice. Not worth 0.01% of assets, but nice.
Harry Sit says
@RJB – Why would any intelligent investor want to pay for customer service hours on Saturdays? Nothing can done on Saturdays anyway. Why pay for customer service 14 hours a day on weekdays? How about just 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays when markets are open instead of 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.? Or maybe Vanguard should charge $5 for each customer service call. That way intelligent investors don’t have to pay for those customer service costs.
I make a point of calling Fidelity every year on Dec 25th just to wish the reps a Merry Christmas. Doesn’t everyone? 😉
I guess Vanguard and T. Rowe Price’s CSR is just fine and fair enough. I mean, how many investors would call them in the middle of night? I want to take a rest and have a good sleep too that I’ll just wait for the next day or Monday to do my business.
Saturdays seem reasonable to me, especially for just 7-hours.
Fidelity being silly? Never!
Again, exactly what needs to be transacted on a Sunday or Christmas day? Can anyone give me an example that can’t wait until the morning time?
Vanguard no longer has Saturday hours. Just found out after having trouble creating an account. Will roll new account over to Fidelity. Got a very negative impression from the account creation process.