Featured article

Is the Future of
Cryptocurrency a Customer Service Nightmare?

By Etie Hertz

June 24, 2021

5

To say that cryptocurrency has entered the mainstream should not be a shocking statement to anyone. Over the past nine months, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many other altcoins have boomed as interest among the general population has grown.

Even celebrities have hopped on the crypto bandwagon. Cue Elon Musk hosting Saturday Night live and mocking his own influence on the cryptocurrency Dogecoin. Or Tom Brady’s presence as a panelist at Consensus 2021, a popular annual blockchain conference, where he mentioned that he is a big believer in cryptocurrencies.

This boom in interest has caused a rapid uptick in the number of people who have opened an account on a crypto exchange (ex. Coinbase, Gemini, Binance, and even Robinhood). Coinbase, the largest U.S.-based exchange, reported in April 2021 that they had an estimated 56 million verified customers in Q1 2021—that’s an additional 13 million users since Q4 2020. Coinbase also saw a 117% quarterly increase in monthly transacting users in Q1 2021. That’s impressive growth for any industry. And with additional coins consistently being released, the future of cryptocurrencies looks promising, except for one thing: crypto customer service.

Exchange Technology Is Struggling Under the Demand

With any hockey stick growth comes the inevitable test. The great leap forward recently experienced by cryptocurrency exchanges is straining these companies, some to the point of crashing. In the spring of 2021, several leading crypto exchanges, including  Binance, reported outages due to network congestion. Binance had to stop the withdrawals of Ethereum (the second leading cryptocurrency by market cap) as they worked to improve their platform’s ability to handle the extra traffic and transactions.

Angry Customer

According to the New York Times, these crashes frustrated many customers, many of which then vented their concerns on social media. A sampling of issues that were mentioned numerous times included: “I tried to get help on your support site and I didn’t receive any response” or “Your customer service is pathetic. I have waited a month to get my account verified. I have raised multiple tickets, yet still no response.”

Not to beat a dead horse, but the monthly search volume for “coinbase contact” increased 60% from May 2020 to May 2021. That’s a telling statistic for the status of customer service in the crypto space.

Crypto exchanges are playing a dangerous game with their customer service.

Typically, as industries mature, customers tend to gravitate towards the companies that provide an amazing customer experience. Unfortunately, in this space, there is no one clear winner. The people who are paying in this situation are those whose money is most at stake—investors with minimal blockchain knowledge and cryptocurrency experience.

With Crypto’s Great Growth Come Greater Responsibility

As impactful for investors as crypto is, it is also a difficult concept to grasp. For every one person who understands the concept of blockchain, there are thousands of people who know next to nothing about how blockchain works and the ins and outs of crypto investing. But regardless of the lack of knowledge, people are still in the game. Millions of individuals are investing—across platforms and coins—in crypto, with a bare minimum of education in the space.

We’ve already seen what can happen when people unfamiliar with minimal knowledge of investing invest on a whim without the appropriate know-how.

So where does that leave technology, the customer service space, and above all, crypto’s responsibility to society as a whole?

It leaves us with an ever-widening gap between those who understand the market and have the ability to leverage its fruit, and those with the drive and interest but who lack the proper education in the space. Nevertheless, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and incredible opportunity.

The Opportunity in the Future of Cryptocurrency

This industry-wide dysfunction means that most crypto exchanges currently have with their customer experience represents a massive opportunity for the exchanges that get customer service right. Below are a few solutions to the challenges currently overwhelming the industry.

Lack of Customer Support Software for crypto platforms

Solution: Exchanges need to implement customer support technology that allows for the seamless tracking of support tickets. Modern platforms can also help prioritize tickets so that more urgent requests are dealt with sooner.

 

Too Small Customer Service Teams

Solution: Exchanges should leverage A.I.-powered technology that can drive efficiency, help agents be as effective as possible and relieve some of the demand. Additionally, creating a well-documented FAQ page can help improve customer self service.

 

Slow Response and Ticket Resolution Times

Solution: To solve this, exchanges should explore how to enable customer service representatives to better understand customers’ concerns and determine quick and efficient ways to solve the issue. For example, conversational-based coaching solutions will improve chat-based conversations. They also recognize the emotional nature of conversations that revolve around money and investing one’s livelihood.

Crypto and blockchain technologies are still early in their journey of transforming how money and currencies are transacted. As with any technological innovation that involves money, there’s a necessity for education and adequate (if not exceptional) customer service. The exchanges that figure out how to provide an excellent customer experience are well-positioned to dominate the market in the future.

If you’re a crypto platform looking to improve and expand your customer service, try Loris. We help companies navigate difficult conversations with enterprise software that helps companies boost their empathy and bottom line.