In part 1 of this series, we took a brief look at how self-directed investors typically access information about discount brokerage customer service and introduced Dalbar Canada’s research in this area. Specifically, Dalbar’s Direct Brokerage Sales Effectiveness (DBSE) program measures the performance of client service teams at discount brokerages.
In this part of our series, we take a closer look at the evaluation itself to see how Dalbar measures quality customer service, how the evaluations are conducted and what the implications are for self-directed investors when comparing customer service at discount brokerages.
Knowing what counts
Given the number of evaluations being conducted to try and find ‘the best’ Canadian discount brokerage, it is increasingly important that self-directed investors be clear on exactly how a measurement of a discount brokerage is structured. To avoid falling victim to clever marketing, whenever Canadian investors see a discount brokerage ranking, the following three questions are worth keeping in mind:
- What is being measured (ranked)?
- How was it measured?
- Does the measure actually measure what it says it does?
In the case of Dalbar Canada’s Direct Brokerage Service Award, what is being measured is “quality” of the customer experience when interacting with a particular discount brokerage’s customer service agents. Of course, how “quality” is defined can be highly subjective so readers should keep this in mind when considering the explanations below.