Barclays revamps branches

Amanda Jarvis

February 3, 2006

The roll out will be completed by May 2006.

In an effort to make itself more accessible and to use language that is in common usage, Barclays will be redesigning over 1,500 branches nationwide to make them more appealing to customers. Gone will be that American acronym the ATM (Automated Teller Machine) to be replaced by the more colloquial ‘Hole in the Wall’.

Also outlawed will be black pens on chains, to be replaced by bright blue pens without chains which have messages to encourage customers to feel free not only to use them, but to take them home if they wish.

Jim Hytner, Barclays marketing director, said: “Banks have for a long time come across as unfriendly simply by the way they communicate to customers. The chain on the pen sums up the relationship banks have had with their customers for too long – basically we don’t trust you to leave this pen behind after you use it, yet we expect you to entrust us with your life savings. It’s about time we redressed the balance and made ourselves part of the twenty first century – and a free pen is a small gesture to show customers we value their custom.”

“Equally we will be using language that everyone knows and understands. Instead of having signs saying ‘Customer Service’, we will be replacing them with ones that simply say ‘Can I Help’. That awful acronym ATM will also go, to be replaced by words like ‘Hole in the Wall’, after all I don’t know anyone in Manchester who goes to an ATM to get money out, but I know a fair few who pop off to the Hole in the Wall. Overall, this use of simple, accessible language will complement our main work which involves offering great value for money to our customers.”  

Barclays has tested the use of its new language in five branches across the country, in Guildford, Bristol, Coventry, Bradford and Lewisham, and 93 per cent of customers agreed that the new style of communication showed far better that Barclays understands it’s customers.

The roll out of the new ‘tone of voice’ will begin in earnest in February 2006 and will be seen in around 1,500 Barclays branches across the UK by May 2006.

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