[Does Vanguard have a process for handling customer feedback?]

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CoastalWinds
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[Does Vanguard have a process for handling customer feedback?]

Post by CoastalWinds » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:25 am

[Edited thread title for clarity - moderator prudent]

I hear, read about, and experience first-hand increasingly frequent instances of poor customer service experiences. Long waits on the phone. Untrained staff. Incompetent responses. Errors. No preventative QC review or follow-up communications on yesterday’s major glitch.

And why... the classic excuse, because they are “growing too fast”?? C’mon. Don’t they want inflows of $ and investors?? Isn’t that what their business model seeks? Doesn’t their business model assume they will be successful and have a plan to deal with success? Or were they surprised. “Hey Jack, look! I guess people like this indexing thingy! Maybe we are onto something here.” “Well, what should we do now Fred?”. Long Silence.

How much longer do they get to use this excuse? At what point can we say “ya know, with all these new monies, you should be able to expand your operations, improve your processes, bring new staff on, train them, etc.”

If they can’t keep up, then they need to start closing more funds and/or stop taking new investors.

Or how about this excuse, which I’ve heard aplenty: “well, they’re a non-profit, so the trade-off for rock-bottom costs is diminished service.” Meanwhile, they are having no problem whatsoever keeping up with advertising their “active funds success” as the cover of their website. Or advertising their Personal Advisory Service.

Ok, so here’s my question: Does VG have a legitimate process in place for requesting feedback?

(Or are they like “naw, we’ve got this.”)
Last edited by CoastalWinds on Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:27 am, edited 6 times in total.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Isn’t it time to stop making excuses for VG?

Post by RickBoglehead » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:29 am

Unless you've had personal bad experiences with Vanguard, I'd suggest that if you conducted a study, done properly, of the top 5 or 10 firms you'd find issues with all of them. This forum is heavily tilted to Vanguard, so you see more Vanguard issues. I see huge issues for my F-150 on that forum. Also, people who have good experiences rarely post them on forums.

I left Fidelity (except for a very tiny HSA and my wife's retirement that can't be moved until she retires) because of a horrendous experience that even Abby Johnson's office couldn't fix (I eventually fixed by getting a 3-way call with them and the 3rd party retirement software company). Others have posted issues with NetBenefits (Fidelity's retirement wing) also.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

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CoastalWinds
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Re: Isn’t it time to stop making excuses for VG?

Post by CoastalWinds » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:39 am

(A) yes, bad personal experiences (plural). Consistent with the same bad experiences many others have noted.

(B) I don’t see Barron’s writing an article about Fidelity or Schwab on this debacle: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.barron ... 1565663400

My point is, it’s time to end all the excuses.

wilked
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Re: Isn’t it time to stop making excuses for VG?

Post by wilked » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:42 am

CoastalWinds wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:39 am
(A) yes, bad personal experiences (plural). Consistent with the same bad experiences many others have noted.

(B) I don’t see Barron’s writing an article about Fidelity or Schwab on this debacle: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.barron ... 1565663400

My point is, it’s time to end all the excuses.
why does this bother you so much?

Vote with your feet if unsatisfied, no?

mak1277
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Re: Isn’t it time to stop making excuses for VG?

Post by mak1277 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:42 am

I have no qualms with vanguard. In all the years I've used them, I've never needed to make a customer service phonecall. As such, they receive perfect marks from me.

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ThereAreNoGurus
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Re: Isn’t it time to stop making excuses for VG?

Post by ThereAreNoGurus » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:44 am

CoastalWinds wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:39 am
(A) yes, bad personal experiences (plural). Consistent with the same bad experiences many others have noted.

(B) I don’t see Barron’s writing an article about Fidelity or Schwab on this debacle: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.barron ... 1565663400

My point is, it’s time to end all the excuses.
That was an entertaining article. They saved the punchline 'til the end.... Anybody else notice the irony?
The Dow closed at 25,897.71 on Monday. An earlier version of this article had the incorrect closing value.

Big Dog
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Re: Isn’t it time to stop making excuses for VG?

Post by Big Dog » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:45 am

mak1277 wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:42 am
I have no qualms with vanguard. In all the years I've used them, I've never needed to make a customer service phonecall. As such, they receive perfect marks from me.
Ditto. I've been with Vanguard for over 30 years and have made less than 5 calls to them over that time. And the calls that I did make were handled well. They work for me, but perhaps not for you. Maybe consider Fido or Schwab?
Last edited by Big Dog on Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

AZAttorney11
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Re: Isn’t it time to stop making excuses for VG?

Post by AZAttorney11 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:45 am

Vanguard offers superior products. Vanguard’s technology is horrendous. You are not required to purchase Vanguard products through Vanguard. Why not use Fidelity, Schwab, Merrill Edge, etc. and hold Vanguard securities?

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Isn’t it time to stop making excuses for VG?

Post by RickBoglehead » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:47 am

To answer your question:

"Does VG have a legitimate process in place for requesting feedback?"

Yes, they do. I often send my Flagship Rep comments and he escalates them. Might be called "Voice of the Customer", can't recall. Don't know what the feedback process is for non-Flagship.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

StandingRock
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Re: Isn’t it time to stop making excuses for VG?

Post by StandingRock » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:50 am

No excuses from me, people need to realize that it is what it is, if you want cheap investment options then you can't expect top flight service.

jebmke
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Re: Isn’t it time to stop making excuses for VG?

Post by jebmke » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:54 am

Is there a question or a recommendation or is this just a rant? it isn't like they are the only game in town.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

rich126
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Re: Isn’t it time to stop making excuses for VG?

Post by rich126 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:56 am

I have to say I haven't been impressed with Vanguard (web site, technical support, customer service). My original thoughts in moving some money to Vanguard was to diversify and gain access to some of their funds. Over the years my other accounts all got acquired by TD. I like TD (or actually the original ThinkOrSwim account) for buying stocks, options (infrequently) and futures (very, very infrequently).

Vanguard gave me access to Wellington, Wellesley and the moderate growth lifestyle funds (maybe I could have gotten access via other means or for a fee).

More recently, due to a job change, I've had to deal with Fidelity and so far, they seem much better to deal with (almost reminds me of that commercial where the company is trying harder since they aren't number 1, although I have no idea as to the sizes/profits of brokerage companies).

Just their response to yesterday's pricing issues seemed to take forever. I wasn't one complaining, or even aware of the issue until I looked at this forum. As I've mentioned before, I would never keep all my money in any one place, as yesterday's issues should be a wakeup call for people. I've lived through experiences where people who had all their money tied up in one place were denied access to it for a period of time. It isn't fun.

I realize some people won't or are reluctant to criticize Vanguard since they helped to bring down fees which helped people but they have issues and they really need to be addressed and fixed. You can't use the excuse "Well due to the low fees we can't expect quality customer service and reliable technology". That doesn't fly.

nordsteve
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Re: [Does Vanguard have a process for handling customer feedback?]

Post by nordsteve » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:00 am

My anecdotes:

1. Never had a customer service problem with Vanguard or Fidelity, as a customer of V for 25 years and F for 15. Nearly all of my activity has been in mutual fund transactions.
2. Vanguard's iOS app is head and shoulders over the Fidelity app.
3. Web sites seem roughly equal in capability.

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CoastalWinds
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Re: Isn’t it time to stop making excuses for VG?

Post by CoastalWinds » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:15 am

jebmke wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:54 am
Is there a question or a recommendation or is this just a rant? it isn't like they are the only game in town.
Yes, there are both a question and recommendations.

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mhc
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Re: [Does Vanguard have a process for handling customer feedback?]

Post by mhc » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:15 am

I have no issues with Vanguard. I use both Vanguard (~15 years) and Fidelity (~25 years). I prefer Vanguard's website over Fidelity's. I have not had any real issues with either company. They both do a fine job.

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CoastalWinds
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Re: [Does Vanguard have a process for handling customer feedback?]

Post by CoastalWinds » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:16 am

I love the responses that say “VGs customer service is great, I’ve never called them.” Where I went to school, that would be called “n/a”.

I also love the responses “well, I had a good experience with VG when I called, so they’re doing fine.” It’s like someone saying to Dr. Christine Ford that “Bart O’K never assaulted me, so he’s an upstanding guy.”
Last edited by CoastalWinds on Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:31 am, edited 6 times in total.

jebmke
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Re: [Does Vanguard have a process for handling customer feedback?]

Post by jebmke » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:20 am

They have an confidential email system. I have used it multiple times. I always get a reply. It has been a while since I needed to deal with anyone in person and that experience was quite good. It was a bit complicated relating to an inherited IRA issue and they connected me with their IRA specialist and the matter was handled.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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CoastalWinds
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Re: Isn’t it time to stop making excuses for VG?

Post by CoastalWinds » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:29 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:47 am
To answer your question:

"Does VG have a legitimate process in place for requesting feedback?"

Yes, they do. I often send my Flagship Rep comments and he escalates them. Might be called "Voice of the Customer", can't recall. Don't know what the feedback process is for non-Flagship.
From what I understand, they are getting rid of Personal Reps for Flagship clients. So maybe they don’t want feedback after all 😂

runner3081
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Re: Isn’t it time to stop making excuses for VG?

Post by runner3081 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:01 pm

mak1277 wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:42 am
I have no qualms with vanguard. In all the years I've used them, I've never needed to make a customer service phonecall. As such, they receive perfect marks from me.
Same here, been with VG for a long time and have not called them once.

Also, I only log into the site once-per-month to make ETF purchases.

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Eagle33
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Re: Isn’t it time to stop making excuses for VG?

Post by Eagle33 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:56 pm

CoastalWinds wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:29 am
From what I understand, they are getting rid of Personal Reps for Flagship clients. So maybe they don’t want feedback after all 😂
Spoke with my Flagship Rep last week and she said VG CS is going to multiple teams. Each team specializes in a specific area. She gave me 2 team examples - wire transactions and Roth conversions.

Well, I guess we will be seeing more rants in Sept when VG rollout the CS change.
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Re: [Does Vanguard have a process for handling customer feedback?]

Post by fourwheelcycle » Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:44 pm

My wife and I have had 100% of our taxable savings and rollover IRAs at Vanguard for over thirty-five years. We have had excellent service overall and currently we have a fantastic personal representative who facilitates our interaction with other Vanguard specialists and advocates for us whenever necessary.

We have had employer-based savings experience with TIAA and Fidelity. We experienced professionally questionable service from TIAA. Although we used to experience very high (.56%) fund ERs at Fidelity we are now in the Vanguard Institutional Index 500 fund with a .035% ER and we are very happy with their customer service.

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Re: [Does Vanguard have a process for handling customer feedback?]

Post by Dale_G » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:32 pm

Well, I've called quite a few times since stumbling onto Vanguard in June of 1982. In the ancient days before the internet, all business was conducted either on the phone or via snail mail. I recall one error by Vanguard in the past 37 years. It was a misunderstood phone transaction - and it was quickly corrected, thanks to the recorded call.

So only 37 years, and maybe too short a time to draw conclusions. :P

Feedback: Before I noticed this thread this evening, I received an emailed request from Vanguard to fill out a survey. I filled it out. There was a provision for making comments, and also a checkbox giving Vanguard permission to call me about the comments/concerns. I'd be pretty sure they are aware of falling short in some areas, some of the time. I think they probably do pay attention to the feedback.

Maybe someone who never makes mistakes, always communicates with perfection, or works for an institution with similar attributes can offer to help them.

Dale
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Brianmcg321
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Re: Isn’t it time to stop making excuses for VG?

Post by Brianmcg321 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:35 am

ThereAreNoGurus wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:44 am
CoastalWinds wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:39 am
(A) yes, bad personal experiences (plural). Consistent with the same bad experiences many others have noted.

(B) I don’t see Barron’s writing an article about Fidelity or Schwab on this debacle: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.barron ... 1565663400

My point is, it’s time to end all the excuses.
That was an entertaining article. They saved the punchline 'til the end.... Anybody else notice the irony?
The Dow closed at 25,897.71 on Monday. An earlier version of this article had the incorrect closing value.

Lol. That was funny. Not really sure how the article would be about customer service though. Just sounds like a computing error that was quickly fixed.

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Dale_G
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Re: [Does Vanguard have a process for handling customer feedback?]

Post by Dale_G » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:43 pm

As noted above on 08/13/2019 I responded to a Vanguard survey.

Yesterday I received a secure message from my still existing rep:
I'm writing to send you a quick note of thanks for completing a recent
survey. I'm glad to see that you had a positive experience. Please let us know if we may be of any other assistance.
So, at least someone does look at the feedback. My responses were positive, so not a test of whether Vanguard responds to negative feedback.

Dale
Volatility is my friend

sawhorse
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Re: [Does Vanguard have a process for handling customer feedback?]

Post by sawhorse » Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:56 pm

I've had multiple bad experiences with Vanguard. Not rudeness but complete incompetence and disorganization. One of the problems took over a month to resolve. I'm far from Flagship; maybe Flagship customers have it better.

I hold Wellesley and Wellington at Vanguard because they are great funds, so I'm willing to tolerate the bad customer service. The rest of my money I hold elsewhere.

I figure that Vanguard probably isn't that concerned about the problems with non-Flagship individual customer service. Most of their money is from institutional customers, and those are the important ones to satisfy. It might not make financial sense for them to invest more in non-Flagship customer service.

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