‘Barclays boss must rebuild customer relationships’

Barclays’ new chief executive Antony Jenkins must make repairing “frayed and challenged” relationships with customers a priority, according to Barclays’ former marketing chief.

barclays

Speaking to Marketing Week as part of a wide-ranging interview, former Barclays and Barclaycard CMO Libby Chambers supports Jenkins, saying the new Barclays CEO should focus on the bank’s relationship with customers and ensure it “stays at a high level of service and responsiveness”, particularly for corporate clients and small businesses.

Chambers, now chief marketing and business development director at law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, predicts the bank will spend time “building and rebuilding relationships there that may have been frayed and challenged over time”.

Barclays suffered from a deluge of negative press coverage in the wake of the Libor interest rate rigging scandal, which led to chief executive Bob Diamond and chairman Marcus Agius resigning.

Former retail boss Jenkins was named CEO last month with a promise to restore Barclays’ reputation.

Chambers, who left Barclays in 2009, says that the negative headlines would have an impact on customers’ perception of the brand. “If your customers are reading bad things about you in the newspaper and the customer experience they are having is weak, that is when you are really at risk,” she adds.

She says Barclays’ focus is now in the right place to rebuild the brand, and that she believes customer satisfaction is likely to be “stable and solid”. She also defends staff at the troubled bank, whose reputation has been tarnished by the financial crisis and the Libor scandal.

“The thing that is sad about all this stuff that has happened is that it distracts everybody, when mostly everybody is trying to do the right thing.”

This is true of “90 per cent” of staff at the bank, she says.

Chambers adds that despite the need to repair its relationship with customers, rebuilding trust with regulators the Financial Services Authority and the Bank of England should be Barclays’ first priority.

“If he is sitting there with his to-do list and he has all these different stakeholders, the regulator has to be his first port of call,” she says.

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