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TD Ameritrade taps in-app chat to offer traders live support

Brokerage firm TD Ameritrade is following up on the 124 percent uptick in trading on mobile devices by offering users of its Mobile Trader application the ability to connect to a service representative and text for help without leaving the app.

The brand’s In-App Chat enables users to share screens with representatives and benefit from live support without having to switch to another app or site, a feature it claims is the first of its kind for a financial services firm. Consumers who use Mobile Trader and encounter difficulties will be much more likely to stay in the app if support is on standby, thereby leading to greater app engagement and less likelihood of deleting the app from their smartphones.

“Our clients are using mobile technology to stay connected to the markets and what better way to meet the needs of this fast-growing investor segment, then by giving them a way to get the support they need, when they need it,” said Nicole Sherrod, managing director of trading at TD Ameritrade, Omaha, NE. “With mobile trading, service matters more now, than ever before.

“Our In-App Chat feature makes it easier for our clients to engage with support by reducing the effort they need to do business with us. It allows them to receive service in the channel of their choosing ­ whether it’s in their office or on their phone.”

Immediate assistance
If clients are in need of troubleshooting, fixing issues or answering questions, they may seamlessly connect with a TD Ameritrade employee to have their questions responded to directly in the app. This enables the client to continue with their trading efforts in a seamless manner.

“As generations mature, companies need to adapt their communication and interactions to the new generations entering the workforce,” said Thad Peterson, senior analyst at Aite Group, Atlanta. “While PC and phone was appropriate and sufficient for boomers and gen X, the millennials are about mobile devices and any organization that wants to attract and retain a millennial customer needs to have the technology to do so.

“With an in-app customer service capability, TD Ameritrade is positioned to capture those customers.”

Customers can also choose to text with a representative if they prefer not to speak on the phone, and can tour the app’s features and offer feedback for future updates.

Consumers appreciate having the in-app support to save time

Users having difficulty navigating a particular page can share their mobile screen with an expert to point out the issues, a tool that many find useful. The representative can then highlight various touchpoints for the user to follow along with to rectify the problem.

“We have an incredibly tech-savvy client base, and a growing number of our customers are accessing their accounts through mobile exclusively,” TD Ameritrade’s Ms. Sherrod said. “We also spend a lot of time thinking about how we can create tools that allow our clients to improve their trading acumen.

“We believe that mobile is a solution that every investor should take advantage of because it allows you to stay more informed on the markets no matter where you are,” she said. “However, not everyone is ready to embrace it and the number one reason for this is intimidation.

“By allowing our service associates a means to interact directly with clients through the app, they can help clients learn the technology and customize it to suit their needs.”

TD Ameritrade has also expanded its multichannel user experience onto the Apple Watch to create a seamless experience for its customers and help them get the most out the company’s mobile services (see story).

Trading on mobile
As trading on mobile becomes more prevalent, brokerage firms will need to offer similar in-app chat features for newbies or those who are not used to tapping their mobile device for financial services.

Clients using the Mobile Trader app can also go to different chat rooms and view the information and conversations available via the thinkorswim platform.

TD Ameritrade is currently offering this feature to all iOS users, with an Android rollout expected this fall.

It is also imperative for brokerage companies to gain customer feedback when developing these types of in-app tools, so as to cater to users’ needs implicitly.

“Clients love the app screen sharing capability the most,” Ms. Sherrod said. “TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader is one of the highest ranked trading apps in the iTunes store.

“Our customers like being able to have a service associate guide them through exactly where to tap to customize the app to meet their precise trading needs,” she said. “Your front-end technology is your lens into the markets.

“This new feature is making it easier for clients to look at only what they want to look at and more easily filter out the noise.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York