Competitive Intelligence Report: Barclaycard Today Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2475 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business

4). This modest saving on operating expenses, though, carried some very high prices in terms of its effect on customer service. Some recent representative verbatim comments concerning Barclaycard's customer service are provided below (see Table 1 at Appendix A for more detailed commentary):

I've heard a rumour that the only way that Barclaycard accept complaints is written in blood on 200-year-old parchment.


I'm also having a nightmare with Barclaycard. I'm fuming after one call to an Italian call centre (apparently), two to India and a one to a Barclays call centre in Manchester. The Indian call centre people are something else.

Barclaycard, held for 30 years, suddenly [goes] off the rails, for reasons known only to themselves. Seems with Barclaycard its only one way traffic - they talk to you about their demands and ignore anything you might request of them. Barclaycard best advice: shred it!!!

Their customer services have lied, fobbed me off, hung up on me, taken additional payments from me stating that the extra payment would sort the whole thing out, which they haven't, have re-instated an old direct debit and taken money, illegally, from my mother's account causing her to be overdrawn and incur bank charges, have been sending threatening letters for months, despite the fact I've been ringing and writing almost weekly to try and sort things out, and paying the amount which was agreed by them last August!

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The worst thing is that when you phone "customer service" you have a 2 in 3 chance of going through to India, they cannot and will not put you through to the UK and are not interested in your problem and if you get assertive they cut you off.

Term Paper on Competitive Intelligence Report: Barclaycard Today, Assignment

When you do eventually get through to the UK (after going through all the options on the phone - at my cost), they fully understand your problem but are as useful as a chocolate teapot at resolving it. They will not give you a direct contact number for the UK, their extension number or e-mail address, they just expect you to play Russian roulette when you wish to phone again as to whether or not you get through to the UK. This all for going just £1.29 over limit! I am absolutely FUMING and contemplating my next move. Barclaycard must be making a packet out of the non-complainers.

Unfortunately, the consumer advocacy forums and blogs are replete with similar reports of the poor or nonexistent customer service provided by Barclaycard in recent years and it appears to be getting worse rather than better. Not surprisingly, and even taking the recent global economic miasma into account, the company's stock performance has tanked to unprecedented lows as shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1. Barclay's Stock Performance: Past 5 Years to Date.

Source: Yahoo! Finance UK:

Strategic Implications

The strategic implications of the foregoing findings are highly significant for both Barclaycard and its competitors. While it is reasonable to expect that any financial services company with 19 million customers will experience some degree of customer service complaints, this problem appears to be particularly significant and the company is either unable or unwilling to take the steps necessary to correct it. It is also apparent that the company has contributed in major ways to the current global financial crisis by virtue of its efforts to expand its operations into the sub-prime lending arena, and even its favored customers are seriously overcharged with noncompetitive interest rates. Moreover, by either ignoring or failing to act on the growing number of customer service complaints it has received in recent years, as well as its decision to largely outsource its telephonic customer service function to a third world country, the company has shot itself in the corporate foot. Notwithstanding the company's boasts concerning its health growth since its founding and its formation of strategic partnerships at home and abroad, it is abundantly clear that Barclaycard is on the rocks and a slight push today could well topple the entire organization into bankruptcy. This slight push, for example, could assume the form of a savvy competitor quickly advertising the fact that its customer service function is handled entirely by UK-based representatives and promoting a lower-interest rate credit card that directly competed with the Barclaycard. Absent such aggressive promotional efforts by a competitor or competitors, though, Barclaycard has the infrastructure and resources in place to perhaps weather the current economic storm long enough to survive. Therefore, time is of the essence in this regard and any competitor seeking to gain market share from Barclaycard must implement a UK-based customer service function within the next few months if one is not already in place and develop an interest rate regimen that is more competitive than the current offerings provided by the company.


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