Today I was bored and researching the boring, yet vital, world of financing yourself through your degree when I happened upon Barclays’ web chat service which allows you to speak to one of their advisers via a pop-up messenger style application. Why not take this opportunity to question Barclays on what their financial practices?
Below is the transcript of this conversation. I got some things wrong I’m sure and I can’t say how productive of an ‘activist’ activity this was, nor whether it was actually the right thing to do (Should I have wasted this adviser’s time?). Decide for yourself below.
(P.S. I adopted the name Ursula Cut as I wanted it to sound like Uncut. I later thought Una Cut would have been better.)
Never give out your password or credit card number in an instant message conversation. Please wait while we find an agent to assist you…
You have been connected to Jason AM.
Jason AM: Thank you for using Barclays Webchat Service. My name is Jason, may I take your name?
Customer: Ursula Cut
Jason AM: Hi, how are you doing Ursula?
Ursula Cut: I’m fine thnks
Ursula Cut: I’d like to ask a few questions
Jason AM: Yes, please go ahead with the questions.
Ursula Cut: I’ve heard rumours that Bob Diamond walked aay with a pay packet of £11.3 million when he became boss. That’s 1000 times more than the average cashier! Is Barclays the kind of company I want to bank with!?
Jason AM: Ursula, we’ve been in banking industry for over 300 years now. And banking with Barclays mean, peace of mind and reliable banking indeed.
Jason AM: I guess, you’re looking at switching your accounts over to us.
Jason AM: Aren’t you?
Ursula Cut: Yes, it’s a possibility.
Jason AM: Great! Would you like me to discuss the options on offer?
Ursula Cut: What share of the £2.3 billion bonus did you get last year? I think the answer would influence whether I choose to bank with you!
Jason AM: I’m not a share holder, instead am a salaried employee. A Barclays Webchat Advisor.
Ursula Cut: So your company doesn’t pay you a bonus, whilst Mr Diamond walks away with millions. This is after he (and the company of course – but not you individualy (you’re nice)) helped create the global finanical crisis of 2007.
Ursula Cut: Barclays are still involved in speculating on world food prices – a contributor to the Arab spring revolutions. If you guys stop this, I could consider banking with you!
Jason AM: Ursula, I wish the major decisions were in my hands. And honestly, you’re much knowledgeable than I am. Because, even I didn’t know all that. So, I cannot comment on anything because, I have no knowledge and could barely understand what you’re talking about.
Jason AM: Ursula, it’s advisable for you to visit a Barclays branch and have a word with a personal banker.
Jason AM: He/she will be able to assist you accordingly.
Jason AM: Please carry two forms of your ID to confirm who you are and where you live when you visit the branch.
Ursula Cut: Thank you. Despite your limited knowledge, you have been very helpful. It may be of benefit to you to look up the financial details of the company you work with. You may decide to think twice about who you work with. But of course a pay check is a pay check and I can’t blame you for living. (Perhaps if you were likeJohn Lewis and all employees were stakeholders you would have more say and make Barclays an ethical company!) Thank you!
Ursula Cut: By the way, I don’t think I can bank with Barlcays with a clear conscience at the moment.
Ursula Cut: I may reconsider when the company pays UK tax on it’s billions in profits. And stops speculating on global food prices which is simillar to the American housing crisis speculation.
Ursula Cut: Please share with your colleagues!
Ursula Cut: Workers and Students! Unite and Strike!
Jason AM: Ursula, I could see your frustration on such things. But, Barclays have prove themselves best in the market, we offer best and competitive products (in banking) and you may like to discuss about global food prices with a manager. They will be able to give you a better explanation how these things work and may OR may not affect market.
Jason AM: If you wish to make a complaint, please follow the attached link.
The agent is sending you to http://www.personal.barclays.co.uk/BRC1/jsp/brccontrol?task=articlegroup&site=pfs&value=3657&menu=3134.
Jason AM: And yes, will share your thoughts with colleagues around.
Ursula Cut: Thank you very much Jason!
Ursula Cut: Wish we could debate further on the issue of financial speculations and the evils of capitalism!
Jason AM: It’s been lovely chatting to you (an extra ordinary and brilliant person), Ursula.
Ursula Cut: But alas if you could pass me on to a manager that would be great!
Ursula Cut: And the same to you Jason!
Jason AM: Ursula, you can leave your comments on the feedback e-mail page (the page is tagged on the link given above).
Ursula Cut: Okay!
Ursula Cut: Thank you and goodbye!
Jason AM: People around me are just salaried employees, just like myself. But, if you wish to book an appointment with a manager at a Barclays branch, you can contact our Customer Services Team.
Jason AM: Would you like me to forward you their number?
Ursula Cut: No thank you. But I do sympathise with salaried employees!
Ursula Cut: I’m sure many of you strugle while there are people at the top screwing us al lover!
Jason AM: Ursula, I understand. But, honestly, have enjoyed working with Barclays as of now. And work place is quite employee friendly and yes, good.
Jason AM: It’s been three and a half years, I’ve been working for Barclays. So, overall experience was good working with Barclays.
Ursula Cut: Ahh, it is all part of their money making schemes. I’m sure you as employees are treated moderately kindly. But as a worker who is part of the global movement, they are putting in place mechanisms which effect us profoundly on class boundries whilst the UK government protect Mr Diamond’s interests.
Jason AM: That’s called an ideal business strategy, isn’t it? Most people involved in business would treat their employees and customers fairly kindly to retain their clients and loyalty of their employees.
Jason AM: Indeed, I don’t have much idea about global movements and all that. But, when we research in depth, we may find it helpful in market improvements in some or the other way.
Jason AM: That’s one of the possibilities.
Ursula Cut: Indeed. Whilst putting in place an economy which is prone to the failures we have recetly seen.
Ursula Cut: We face austerity because of the practices of business’ such as Barclays
Ursula Cut: I can’t see a benefit to being one of the largest investors in the arms industry.
Ursula Cut: I think even as employee of Barclays you would think that funding weapons that are used for internal agression and opression of states such as Palestine is not a good thing.
Jason AM: Yes, I understand. But, like I said above, I don’t have much knowledge about that. So, won’t be able to comment anything on that.
Ursula Cut: I understand.
Ursula Cut: I wouldnt want you to jeapordise your positino either.
Jason AM: Thanks.
Jason AM: Ursula, like I said above, you may reconsider Barclays as a bank to bank with. We’ve been in banking industry for over 300 years now, offer best deals in market and are well-known for their best level of customer service.
Jason AM: Are there any other questions for me?
Ursula Cut: No thank you. This has been iluminating. I have learnt a lot about Barclays business practice!
Ursula Cut: Good bye.
Jason AM: It’s been great chatting to you and wish you well, Ursula.
Jason AM: Thank you for using Barclays Webchat Service. You’ve a lovely evening!
Jason AM: Take care. Bye.