In any evaluation of customer service, a single interaction is not enough to make a true assessment. To accurately assess the value of support, we carried out multiple tests across phone, email and live chat. We have weighted phone support the heaviest in our evaluation criteria, allowing it to account for over half of the total score, with email and live chat weighted relatively lower. If a broker did not have a live chat facility, then phone and email were both weighted proportionately higher.
The quality of customer service provided across the top five brokers in our review (Halifax, Hargreaves Lansdown, Alliance Trust Savings, Fidelity and TD Direct Investing) was impressive.
Halifax hit the overall top spot in our first review of customer support and service, just edging out Hargreaves Lansdown (second) and Alliance Trust Savings (third). The quality of customer service provided across the top five brokers in our review (Halifax, Hargreaves Lansdown, Alliance Trust Savings, Fidelity and TD Direct Investing) was impressive. For the top three, the difference in evaluation results was extremely tight.
For phone support, Halifax ranked best, with all calls answered within one minute (66% of phone tests connected to a rep within one minute). In our testing, only the reps at Halifax and Fidelity regularly asked for the caller’s name, personalizing the experience.
For email support, IG was a clear winner, consistently responding to requests within two to four hours, while several of the company’s competitors took from one to a few days to respond, on average. Furthermore, the information the IG support reps provided was thorough and clear, often exceeding our expectations.
Finally, of all the brokers included in our review, live chat was offered by IG, TD Direct Investing and Halifax. We found both the TD Direct Investing and Halifax services very positive, thanks to quick response times, free-flowing conversations and ensuring all our questions were answered. TD Direct Investing was a standout, offering extra information to assist us with our inquiries. Winner aside, we were disappointed with the IG chat service as we were never able to get connected successfully, and thus no tests were filed.
Halifax was a worthy winner as it placed highest overall for phone support, fourth for email, and it provided a very good live chat service. We found the connection time to be quick and the support team to be highly knowledgeable and efficient. They were also very friendly, which was most welcome in an industry characterized by risky decisions and potential losses.