This is one of the downsides of apps that make it easy to order food or buy stocks and cryptocurrencies: What happens when something goes wrong?
It’s often a frustrating pursuit, typing menu after menu in the hope of reaching someone to fix the problem. It’s also something that upstart companies shaking up the investment and trading industry are increasingly recognizing.
Robinhood, the app that helps more than 22 million people trade stocks and cryptocurrencies, announced on Tuesday that it offers 24/7 phone support to its customers to cover almost any issue. It follows an announcement from Coinbase, the cryptocurrency trading platform which announced last month that it would launch a 24/7 phone service by the end of the year for many customers. .
Before its own stocks first started trading on the public market, Robinhood cited “concerns about limited customer support” as one of its challenges. Earlier this year, Robinhood also settled a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a 20-year-old alleging he had committed suicide after his emails to the company’s customer service regarding a negative balance of $ 730,000 on his account received only auto-generated responses.
Reaching Robinhood’s customer support in its early days required communication primarily through email, but it has added more live phone support in recent months.
“It takes time to build a great support organization, especially in a highly regulated business,” said Gretchen Howard, COO of Robinhood Market Inc. Agents need to be licensed, for example, and Robinhood more than tripled its number of customer support employees between March 2020 and June 2021 to nearly 2,700.
With so many first-time investors forming its base, most of the client questions Robinhood have about setting up a bank account or filing for tax for the first time. But demand can vary wildly from day to day.
“If someone famous tweets about crypto, our crypto volumes can be multiplied by 10” in an instant, Howard said.
Customers logged into the Robinhood app can now request to be called back by a representative. Throughout the process, the app will also try to help customers resolve the issue on their own, if possible. The Menlo Park, Calif., Based company is still working on how to offer live phone service to customers who can’t log into their accounts.
William Van Horn II, 30 from Pensacola, Florida, has experienced Robinhood customer service on several occasions. He was not always happy.
He said he accidentally deposited $ 1,000 instead of $ 100 into his account. Soon after, he emailed customer service, hoping to cancel the deposit. He eventually got a representative on the phone who tried to walk him through several steps. But Van Horn said he was never able to cancel the $ 1,000 deposit, or at least get the extra $ 900 back.
Van Horn has other complaints about Robinhood’s customer service, but it wasn’t enough to stop him from using the app.
“Customer service is lacking,” he said, “but the interface is still about the best for mobile use.”