Customer Support Zen
Image: Happiness is a matter of choice independent of any externalities !!1
Once upon a time, people said: “Enough is enough!” and started leaving Poloniex because of their unresponsive customer support.
In 2017, we have nowhere left to run.
Poloniex, Bittrex, Bitfinex - all the places where the action happens: once you get screwed over in lending because of a glitch, once your deposit doesn’t go through or your withdrawal gets stuck, you are in for weeks or months of waiting while in the meantime you are losing the opportunity for which you were moving the money in the first place. While you typically get your money eventually, nobody’s going to pay you for the lost opportunity.
With the full scale mania and the heat of crypto’s main season approaching, don’t you think things are going to get better any time soon.
So what do you do when support isn’t responding?
The most popular way to go about unresponsive exchange support seems to be the digital version of screaming: trying to get your ticket comments number to three digits. This isn’t completely unreasonable - Bittrex for one will automatically close your ticket if you behave like a good boy with manners and only open your ticket with all the necessary information, not updating it for several days, politely waiting for an exchange rep to respond.
Exchanges use support ticket system where you comment on your tickets by sending responses to your ticket email. I personally can manually dispatch about 77 emails per minute but be careful, some email clients could flag your account for spamming. You’re not spamming, right? You are seeking the attention you deserve, I know - there there. It’s not safe to fire the missiles at them like this though.
But as soon as you’ve got your initial comment count boost, do something truly productive. One important thing you need to realize is that there is a human being on the other side of your support ticket. So go ahead and take up morning pages! Make it your daily routine to share your mood of the day with your lovely customer support friend!
Focus on positivity and mindfulness, though!
As we move towards our dreams, we move towards our divinity!
Happiness is a state of mind!
It does not depend on external events!
Ok - bad jokes aside - cryptocurrency exchanges are businesses, they don’t have feelings or families or guilt trips and ideally should get their shit together to remain competitive but as of now, there isn’t enough competition to force them to. (Wild guess, the dollar values of crypto will be way up north some day when that kind of competition will be in place.)
From an executive’s point of view, it probably actually ain’t even broke - hence no reason to fix it.
In a situation like this, here’s what you can actually do: Not much.
What’s the real deal
The customer support people have access to account balances and trading histories, of course, but it’s not like they’d see your monthly volume next to your new ticket. That’s at least what they say: they have to look for it when they need to get that information but generally it’s not something they get to see. So unless you are someone they deal with often you won’t have a special place in their hearts just because you are a trading demigod. As long as you are someone who likes to keep a low profile, which is generally not a bad idea in crypto, even if you’re a whale it won’t mean jack.
Here’s one proven thing that works though, and someone should make it a fiverr service: When you are writing your support ticket, write a catchy title. If you really are a whale, you will need to let them know in the ticket title. If you aren’t a whale…well, you’ll have to be more resourceful than your average Joe Smallfish Cryptotrader.
I didn’t care to know, Reddit told me anyway, I gave it a go – it bloody works.
If you already have an old support ticket that nobody has responded to for over two weeks, forget it and open a second one (ideally for a new glitch which frankly won’t be a problem) and refer to the old ticket in the description. It has to be a targeted effort - don’t open new tickets with generic titles every day, that’s gonna get you nowhere.
It’s funny in a sad way but anyway - catchy titles will stop working the moment everyone does it, milk it while you can and consider yourself lucky if you are having issues now when this strategy isn’t being overused yet.
Oh and also - keep checking for new known issues with exchanges, like the Bitfinex issue with ETH from smart contracts.
Why are the customer people so overloaded though?
Obviously this is an issue that breeds many conspiracies. Customer support is the only “face” common people can pin to the exchange and if the customer support sucks, a couple more suspicious issues (such as broken banking relationships) is enough for people to go full scale panic.
I am not advocating a careless approach when it comes to cryptocurrency exchanges - on the contrary. But making up stories that fit a conspiracy narrative won’t help anyone. Pretty much nobody really knows what’s going on and most claims cannot be verified anyway.
If you execute trades that are planned and only keep your money on an exchange for as long as you need to do that trade, you are minimizing your risk of being caught up in a hack or company flop quite enough. And what would you care about the state of the company if you are not treating them like a cold storage - or like a bank?
Of course we know that most people are leaving money on exchange so that they can trade them at any time, probably not even aware of their suicidal tendencies. Is it the same crop of people that fret about “OMG ALL EXCHANGES GOING BANKRUPT !!11”? It would be only natural.
Here are some points that people bring up a lot, and they may have some relevance for your decisions but in my opinion, they are not a reason for panic.
Fiat routes becoming problematic
Everyone’s favorite exchange Kraken, thanks to its reliability and high availability (that was sarcasm, just in case you’re new here) started having issues with SEPA. During the last week similar issues also appeared on Bitstamp - SEPA deposits are delayed, especially if you are new. There are speculations the AML/KYC for Euro has been strenghtened and soon retail deposits might become too expensive to handle even with SEPA - the situation we know from Bitfinex which led them to suspend banking relationships for small traders.
Problems with USD on Kraken have been reported too.
If this turns out to be true it would be a big drawback for people who dollar cost average and also for small traders because deposits and withdrawals below mid-5 figures would eventually be stopped on most exchanges. The retail traders would be left with localbitcoins and ATMs only, which is more tedious and also more expensive in terms of dollar price per coin.
Finex dodging something with Tethers
And of course, the Tether controversy is still alive. In the spirit of general mistrust some people are imagining exchanges might be withholding customer funds to trade with them. Nobody knows whats the truth, if Bitfinex is actually doing something wrong, nobody should be blamed for inquiring but it’s nonsense to spread FUD as if any plausible explanation had to be the truth.
The optimistic outlook on the situation is entities like Bitfinex or Bittrex are running a big exchange with new altcoins being listed regularly without much noticeable downtime. In live deployments like this, there will be technical glitches the support team cannot resolve – no matter how many new people the exchange hires.
Come what may, the best thing a retail trader can do is tightening his security practices, getting secure wallets and stop leaving money on an exchange - not even overnight.
Read about our content policy.
About the author
Written by KarlVonBahnhof
KarlVonBahnhof also on Reddit, Chris belongs to the crypto trader class of 2013. Located in the Americas most of the time, you're most likely to meet at r/BitcoinMarkets though.
Opinions are author's own.