TD Ameritrade Highest in Satisfaction among Women, T. Rowe Price Highest among Men

During December 2010 and January 2011, Prime Performance surveyed 2,359 clients who had recently spoken with a call center representative at one of nine major investment firms. The firms include: E*TRADE, Fidelity, JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, Schwab, T. Rowe Price, TD Ameritrade, Vanguard and Wells Fargo/Wachovia.


Satisfaction by Gender

Overall satisfaction is about the same between men and women, with men having a Net Satisfaction Score of 71% compared to women at 70%. Despite similar overall satisfaction scores, some firms have significantly different scores by gender. T. Rowe Price scored the highest with men, with a Net Satisfaction Score of 80%, and second among women with a similar score of 79%. TD Ameritrade ranks first with women, with a score of 83%, but has a much lower score of 67% with men. Vanguard’s Net Satisfaction Score of 78% puts them second among men, while their score of 74% ranks fourth with women. Fidelity ranked third with men at 77%, but seven points lower with women.


Satisfaction by Household Income

Satisfaction rises slightly with income, but this is likely more to do with generational differences than driven by income. Households with less than $50,000 in annual income are the least satisfied, with a Net Satisfaction Score of 67%, compared to an industry average of 71%. Households with income of $75,000 to $99,999, $100,000 to $149,999 and greater than $150,000 have Net Satisfaction Scores of around 72 to 73 percent. The lower level of satisfaction in the lower income categories appears to be driven more by the higher percentage of Gen Y clients in the category than by the influence of lower income. Looking at Boomers alone, there is a clear trend that satisfaction declines as household income increases, but the same trend does not appear, or is not as strong in the other generations. TD Ameritrade has the highest Net Satisfaction Score, 80%, among households with incomes of less than $75,000, followed by T. Rowe Price, 77% and Fidelity, 75%. T. Rowe Price leads among households with incomes of $75,000 or more, with a score of 81%, followed by E*TRADE, Vanguard and Charles Schwab, all with scores of 78%.


Satisfaction by Net Worth

Satisfaction tends to be lower at both ends of the net worth spectrum, while higher in the middle. Even after factoring for a higher proportion of younger clients in the lower net worth categories, this general trend still exists. The Net Satisfaction Score is 65% when net worth is less than $100,000, 72% between $100,000 and $249,999, 71% between $250,000 and $499,999, 74% between $500,000 and $999,999, and 69% for clients with net worth of $1,000,000 or more. Among clients with less than $500,000 in net worth, T. Rowe Price has the highest Net Satisfaction Score of 79%. Fidelity and TD Ameritrade follow with scores of 77% and 75%, respectively. Charles Schwab leads among clients with a net worth over $500,000, scoring 83%, followed by T. Rowe Price and Vanguard, both at 80%.


Using the Client’s Name

Clients want to feel like more than an account number, yet only 85% of clients recall the representative using their name during the call. Eight percent do not recall if their name was used and 7% said their name was not used. While not the most important element of a call, name usage has a strong correlation with satisfaction. Clients who recall their name being used, had a Net Satisfaction Score of 75%, but when they said their name was not used the score drops 38 points to 37%. Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo/Wachovia had the highest level of name usage at 89%, followed by E*TRADE at 87%.

Thanking the Client

The way an interaction ends sticks into a client’s memory. A simple thank you helps end the call with the client feeling appreciated. Every call should end with thanking the client, yet only 87% of clients recall being thanked. When clients are thanked, 78% are satisfied with the overall service on the call and 2% are dissatisfied, resulting in a Net Satisfaction Score of 76%. When they said they were not thanked, only 37% are satisfied and 22% are dissatisfied, for a Net Satisfaction Score of 15%. T. Rowe Price and Charles Schwab had the greatest percentage of clients recalling a “thank you” at 91% and 90%, respectively.

A review of data suggests investment call centers should focus on the client service basics. Simple behaviors such as using the client’s name, thanking the client, valuing the client’s time and showing a genuine interest in helping the client drive client satisfaction, loyalty and retention. The institutions which do not manage the basic, and controllable, behaviors will see their clients looking for service elsewhere. While quickly and accurately handling a transaction is crucial, most investment firms excel at this and it does not lead to a competitive advantage. Clients are also looking for a positive emotional experience and are disappointed when their emotional needs are not met.


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A detailed report summarizing the results from the Prime Performance 2011 Investment Call Center Satisfaction Survey is available for $3,995. Click here to review the table of contents from this 109-page detailed report.

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