Investing in Customer Service

Matthew Lewis, head of CMC Markets Asia Pacific, explains the commercial importance of investing in customer service.

Since the Global Financial Crisis consumers’ buying power has continued to increased and so too have their customer service expectations.

Companies now need to try harder than ever before to meet the needs of customers, with recent research from Harvard Business Review finding that on average, 40 per cent of customers who suffer through bad experiences stop doing business with the offending company.

Add to that the brand impact of bad experiences, which can now be easily shared on social media, and it′s plain to see why placing customer service at the heart of your business strategy is an essential component to success.

Following the successful implementation of its customer service strategy, CMC Markets, a leading independent financial services provider, has been recognised as an ABA100 winner for Service Excellence in The Australian Business Awards 2015.

CMC Markets has also received CANSTAR recognition for five consecutive years for its stockbroking arm, which secured the CANSTAR′s national award (2011–2015), and CANSTAR′s five star rating for each investor category (casual investor, active investor and trader) (2014-2015).

CANSTAR researchers said CMC Markets Stockbroking continues to lead from the front. Striking the perfect balance between low costs, an online trading platform that offers in-depth features and impressive functionality, the online platform stands out from the crowd for a hugely impressive fifth year in succession.

It is my belief that we have achieved these awards because we have built our business and service offering around delivering what our diverse range of clients need from a broker and trading provider.

Ultimately, good service is good for business. CMC Markets has a high-performance culture, which has fostered a genuinely passionate team who are knowledgeable and empowered to make good decisions and to do their best work. Our customers really feel that passion when they engage with us.

I believe the key ingredients to successfully looking after our customers mostly fall into these three categories:

  • Warm, knowledgeable staff who can listen and engage with customers in a genuine way.
  • Empowering staff to make decisions, so customers are more likely to have their questions answered and issues resolved on the first call with one member of our team.
  • Being flexible, to cater to customer needs and solve problems, which results in a personalised service for our entire customer base.

CMC Markets provides award-winning education, across a range of formats, on our product range and how it can be utilised by investors to identify trading opportunities.

As an online business, our customer needs often change with advances in technology. Therefore, we consistently reshape our offering around those evolving needs.

The business outcomes of those positive customer experiences drive solid revenues and breed client loyalty, which enable us to continuously invest in, and improve, our technology that customers benefit from. It′s all about win-win.

A good example of how traders are benefiting from our investments in service and technology is how the company is harnessing the growing trend for traders to use tablets and smartphones to initiate or track trades through the day.

Further investment in mobile technology, has resulted in 50 per cent of our global trades being executed via mobile, naturally we ensure that the product knowledge of our front line customer service staff must also keep step with technological advancements so they can assist customers on their first call.

Another example where we have responded to the needs of a key group within our customer base is the establishment of our sales trading team, who assist high net worth clients via a ′bespoke′ service. As an online value-based trading company this was a significant move for us, and one that has successfully met the distinct needs of these important customers.

Since our strategic review and suite of improvements, the business is in great shape when industry trackers shine a spotlight on our offering. In the most recent Investment Trends industry tracker report customers gave us a large increase of 17 per cent in our net promoter score or advocacy rating. We have also seen a significant reduction in the number of clients switching to another provider, assisting us to maintain our strong market share position. This is another example of a win-win business approach working well.

Today, as a business, we are confident that our clients are happy with the service we offer -and the recent positive results speak for themselves. As a business leader, I am focused on our diverse set of clients′ ever-changing needs, so we can continue to go above and beyond their expectations and deliver service excellence.

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