Barclays: Debt and Death

By Mark Long

BDRC Continental has been working with specialist operational teams in Barclays to evolve a more customer-centric approach to the bank’s handling of traumatic life events.

After an initial phase of qualitative work, a quantitative telephone survey was conducted with customer segments whose circumstances had proved discriminating, for example:

  • In the bereavement journey, those with probate status whose case processing was more involved, subject to greater intervention and typically took longer before the customer’s estate could be settled
  • In the recoveries journey, those whose degree of delinquency necessitated the involvement of a specialist debt collection agency to recover the outstanding monies

Effective fieldwork processes and a highly sensitive, considerate approach to data collection were central to the success of the study.

The outputs from the surveys were successfully delivered and resulted in a round of presentations to key stakeholders and senior management to debate the results and action the recommendations.

Our research has influenced a range of significant business decisions, including:

  • A move to restructure the commercial arrangements with the debt collection agencies retained by Barclays so that they are now partially remunerated on the basis of customer experience outcomes, rather than simply the value of pounds collected by their recoveries activity.
  • The investment in a set of tailored communications to guide next of kin through the journey of reporting the death of a customer, including branch and digital resources, complemented by a letter of condolence offering advice and guidance.

"The in-depth results provided by BDRC has enabled us to work closely with our suppliers to deliver a positive, customer focused approach through improving the quality of conversations and communications, ensuring the process of agreeing a repayment plan is a collaborative exercise that drives the right outcome for our customers."

Stewart Pickering, Barclays Business Analyst