Brokerage firms that provide clients with online trading platforms face stiff competition. Some try to attract investors by waiving fees on trades, others offer access to premium research or innovative strategy tools, and some firms advertise unique products. In fact, the range of features, products and services provided by trading facilities is manifold. However, while attracting and winning new clients is key, it’s no less important to retain existing clients – especially when considering how hard it can be to win them in the first place.
In principle, every company should have a customer retention strategy in place. The faster it moves, the more competitive and innovation-driven is the environment in which it operates, but the more important this strategy becomes. In other words, for any online trading platform provider it is inevitable. The following should be part of any appropriate customer retention game plan:
Getting to know the investor
Brokers need to have a clear understanding of customer needs, goals and expectations:
What kind of tools do they find useful?
What information are they looking for in order to make an investment decision?
What products are they interested in?
On which device and at what times do they usually access their platform?
The data generated by the above issues should be analyzed and compared to the actual experience or customer journey using the trading platform, products and services. By necessity, this includes the onboarding process.
Gathering feedback from the investor
Obtaining the above data requires a proven and optimized feedback process. A common method of gathering information is a form-based survey. These are usually sent to clients via email but can also be conducted over the phone (the latter can be significantly more time-consuming for both parties). Form-based surveys should not include more than ten questions, so that they can be answered in a reasonable time.
Shorter surveys can be conducted via the trading platform’s app. They can, for example, be automatically prompted right after the investor has used a specific feature on the app or placed an order for a particular product for the very first time. In-app surveys ensure direct and quick feedback.
As when collecting information about investors’ needs, goals and expectations, their feedback should be analyzed and implemented where possible and meaningful. It is essential that investors are informed accordingly. Interestingly, numerous consumer psychology studies have shown that being asked for feedback improves the clients’ perception of the company. The request in itself – even if they don’t provide any answers – often makes clients feel more valued and therefore more likely to stay with the company. Even a simple satisfaction survey can help increase investors’ awareness of certain features, products or services of the relevant trading platform.
Being accessible to the investor
When trading, investors can face all kinds of challenges and issues – whether perceived or real. In such cases the trading platform needs to be immediately available and accessible online or over the phone, so that clients have a chance to address their problems and ask for support. Obviously, in an ideal world, any problem can be solved quickly. However, if this is not possible, investors must be sure that their requirements will be treated with high priority. This is particularly important in trading businesses , where some errors (for example, due to technical failures) can determine success or failure.
Communicating with the investor
Typically, ongoing communication with customers is key to strengthening the partnership. As mentioned above, asking for feedback isn’t the only good reason to make contact. Providing support, helpful hints, training and trading platform news – all of these and other information of value can be placed in regular newsletters and distributed via automated emails. Depending on the facility’s individual communication strategy, social media can also be an option for distributing certain information.
When investors reach specified milestones, such as their first anniversary with the trading platform, a specific number of trades, or significant profits, a more personalized approach should be considered. These are ideal opportunities for the platform to show its appreciation and to celebrate the relationship.
Obviously, a vital part of the communication with investors should be the introduction of new features, products or services. After all, clients need to learn about alterations and improvements, so that the facility stays competitive and differentiates itself.
Thanking the investor
At a time when investors can compare online trading platforms quickly and easily with a few clicks and are often stimulated by specific features or cost savings, loyalty programmes can be a pivotal tactic to promote clients’ loyalty. For example, such a plan can be designed to express gratitude for more transactions, increased investment, or recruiting new investors. There are numerous ways in which participating clients can be thanked – from offering access to an exclusive webinar series to an invitation to a training course.
Loyalty programmes usually allow for more frequent communication between the trading platform and the investor which, in turn, is helpful when it comes to getting to know the investor as well as gathering feedback, as discussed above.
In reality, some elements of the above processes have become mandatory in a stricter regulatory system. Here, the establishment of a complaints handling mechanism (and publishing an accompanying policy) or the avoidance of any misleading, unfair or unclear communication with clients could be cited. However, a consistent retention strategy can not only prevent misconduct (which customers can only determine where the service provider is subject to regulatory oversight). From the outset, a firm commitment is required in order to avoid alienating or excluding customers.
Spectrum is a regulated trading venue designed to meet the needs, goals and expectations of today’s demanding investor base. The trading venue provides cost-efficient, seamless market access with the ability to trade a range of highly liquid indices, currency pairs and commodities continuously – literally day or night, five days a week, based on a frictionless operating infrastructure that has proved resilient even in turbulent times and coming with nonstop, time-zone-spanning support. Get in touch today to discuss how we can help to grow your retail client business.