Online broking services arm of Quicken.com.au, Quick.Broker.com, has launched an instant messaging facility to cut response times to customer queries and boost operator staff productivity.
The accounting software developer partnered with e-commerce outsourcing services outfit for the finance sector, JVD, to develop the real-time communication facility for the Quick.Broker site.
The JVD facility is believed to be the first of its kind in Australia's online financial services industry, according to Mark Johnston, online brokerage analyst with www.consult.
It offers a more personalised alternative to resolving the time-poor trader's information queries than call centre or traditional e-mail service options, thus reducing transmission anxiety associated with e-mailed queries, said Tim Moore, chief executive officer of JVD.
Moreover, customer care by instant messaging would increase help-desk staff productivity, allowing them to deal with several queries simultaneously.
Citing www.consult research among online broking businesses, Johnston said 81 per cent of companies responded with "quality" answers to the analyst firm's anonymous e-mail queries.
Some 60 per cent of online brokers responded within half a day while 51 per cent responded within 24 hours, he said.
Johnston added that discount brokers by virtue of their cheap service should not assume users expected a service level commensurate with the "discount" tag. "These customers still have high expectations, and expect an answer pretty quickly --- within 24 hours, not a week," he said.
However, he stressed speed of response was not the only benchmark for quality service in the online finance space, but also accuracy. "Two online firms we've spoken to made [definitional] mistakes in the answers they gave to our simple queries," he recalled. "The trick to getting it right is the respondent needs to be really up to speed with the answers. Sure, you can't expect advisors to sit in the call centres, but the operators should have good, basic knowledge of their services."