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Broker Customer Service

The Forex Market is dynamic 24 hour market with over 3 trillion US dollars traded every single day, and your broker should be prepared to offer multiple methods of contact, 24 hours a day. Your broker officer should be readily helpful and knowledgeable about any question or concern of the brokerage or the forex business in general. There is a lot of competition now between brokers and some of the best ones know that the key to standing out from the crowd is to offer unparalleled customer support. 

What kind of communication is available to you from your broker? Email? Phone? Chat? There are many ways out there for effective communication. Before choosing a broker, start with "how they will treat you as a client." There are hundreds of brokers out there, and you must ask why this broker is better? What do you expect a broker to provide you with? Is the representative knowledgeable and patient enough? 

A broker should strive to win a client's trust and not his money.

Here are some Customer Support Essentials: 

1. Multiple Contact Methods

Ideally, there should be not one or two contact methods but many. Before the internet age, it was common for brokers to just post a phone number. Phone numbers are still a good thing and it is essential that you can call your broker during forex market hours and speak with someone who has expertise and authority to handle your questions and affairs. Some brokers even provide toll free numbers from multiple jurisdictions, which is a good thing. Person to person calls can handle complicated matters within seconds. You should also check if you can close positions over the phone, which is absolutely essential in the event your most trusted PC or internet connection crashes at a critical moment.

Email is also essential, and it is important that you can get a response within 24 hours. Email records your question or concern and allows for the uploading of attachments.

Next the broker should have an online instant messaging service such as Live Chat, which is an excellent method to get your problem solved instantly, while you are doing other things. Other instant messaging such as Skype, ICQ, MSN, and AOL IM can also be useful for quickly messaging of your problem, though these suffer from the fact that both parties need to have these applications. 

Here is a screen shot of a Instaforex, which to their credit provides a vast array of contact methods:

As you can see, instaforex provides at least seven methods of contact:
  • Live Chat Box
  • Toll free numbers from multiple jurisdictions
  • Phone to different departments 
  • Email to different departments
  • Skype to different departments
  • ICQ to different departments
  • MSN to different departments
  • AOL IM to different departments
This array of contact methods shows that Instaforex is thinking of almost every option of contact out there. The glaring negative for instaforex is the fact that their call center working hours is between 0700-1600 (UTC + 00), which is between 0200-1100 EST (only 3 waking hours to call for East Coast clients) or 2100 to 0800 PST (forcing the West Coast clients to wake up early just to make contact). One would think that such a large organization as instaforex would at least have a 24 hour customer service. 

2. 24-hour Customer Support. 

The forex market is a global 24 hour market without a centralized location, so it is essential that the customer service is also 24 hours. Customers can come from multiple jurisdictions and time zones, and they want to be able to call and deal with their problems during the zones they are awake and trading.

There is nothing more frustrating to a client than to have to wake up early and wait for a two hour window every day in which he can make contact with his broker. I live in the West Coast of North America and it can be a pain for wake up early in order to call the broker from Australia or Asia that is only able to receive my calls from 0200-1600 UTC, or 2100-0800 PST, which means that I have to wake up extra early just to make contact with that broker. As I trade when such a broker is more or less "asleep", I will be in quite a predicament if I cannot solve my situation due during my own trading hours. 

3. Efficient Trouble Shooting

Whatever means you use to contact your broker, your broker should respond to your problems with speed and efficiency. You may have a problem with your trading platform, the data, the order and its execution, and you will be calling for some time sensitive assistance. You want the problem to be fixed and as fast as possible. The market is always moving, sometimes very rapidly, and you don't want to be left in the lurch, waiting for a problem to be solved while you are missing an opportunity, or worse yet, stuck in position or predicament that you want to be out from. Time is money, and in the hyper fast world of forex trading, this saying becomes an important truism: if the broker does not solve your problems in time, you will lose money. 

Also, bear in mind that the broker is a business and it the business of the broker to place the client first. You may be one of many hundreds or thousands of clients, but your problems should be given top priority, because your happiness as a client means that the broker wins more reputation points, and more reputation points means it can keep you as a client as well as win more clients in the future via word of mouth. If a broker is dismissive of your problem or concern, or procrastinates in solving your problem, you should be ready to take your business elsewhere. If the broker cannot readily solve the small problems then it will be slow to solve the bigger ones.

Note: if you have raised an important money issue with your broker, such as request for a withdraw, and it has not been addressed within one week, then it raises a red flag. If you then go on live chat, and the representative starts handing out programmed excuses along the lines of power outage, flooding conditions, then it raises a further red flag. When these red flags start popping up in the form of strange excuses, then you might be kissing your money good-bye. Go to broker review sites to see how customers have been quickly and honestly treated by their broker. 

4. Knowledge, Expertise and Patience

In the trading world you would expect at least a minimum of trading knowledge and forex expertise. They should at least know their forex vocabulary, and have some experience in conducting trades on their offered platforms. Don't expect deep trading experience from the lower level support staff. However, there should be one or more experienced traders within the firm that can be called in as consultants when needed. 

It is helpful if the knowledge you seek is accompanied by patience and respect. There might be others trying to call or chat, but if you have an agent's attention, he should be devoting his full attention to your problem. He should be clear and concise and be willing to repeat himself if he is not fully understood. Your questions, no matter how big or small, should not be dismissed as unimportant or irrelevant. The broker is a custodian of your money and therefore should treat you with the utmost of respect. Any sign of arrogance should not be tolerated. 

There are firms such as FXCM who hire professional traders and researchers to write articles on trading forex. You might find that they have interesting educational material within their website. What this often means is that these firms have the money to hire such a staff to add value to their product. It does not mean that you can call them and get a professional to help you with your trading strategy. 

Sometimes firms will offer to help with programming your strategy into expert advisors. This can be nice for it saves the hourly cost of having this hired out. However, be forewarned, that anything free like this is going to come with a hitch in the form of wait time. You will be standing in line, behind many others, waiting to have your strategy programmed by the few programmers available to do it. Ask when and how long it will take for them to program your strategy and if it is next month or longer, you might want to pay for a programmer, or better yet, learn how to do it yourself. 

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