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Barclays follows Co-op in sales incentives reform

Barclays Rain 480

Barclays has announced a new incentive scheme for its 18,000 frontline staff based on customer service.

The incentive structure will come in from 1 December and will apply to all of Barclays’ branch and call centre staff. From this date frontline retail staff will not receive any commission or incentive based on products sold.

The bank’s existing incentive scheme, introduced last year, awarded incentive payments based on a combination of meeting sales targets and customer service performance.

Incentives will be paid based on customer service for branches and areas rather than on individual performance.

The bank will also publish a commitment to customers which will appear in branches.

Barclays chief executive of retail and business banking Ashok Vaswani says: “At Barclays we have gone a long way over the past 18 months to place the emphasis of our incentives programme on customer satisfaction.

“We are now taking the next step and basing variable remuneration purely on service.  We believe customers will welcome the reassurance, that our people have no incentive to sell them a product.” 

Co-operative Bank announced yesterday it had banned sales incentives in branch as of last week and had introduced an incentive scheme based on customer service instead. Co-op will roll out its new incentive structure to call centre staff next year.

Last month, the FSA launched a crackdown on sales incentives after a year-long investigation. It is investigating Lloyds Banking Group over its practices.


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There are 13 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Philip Whitworth 10th October 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Whilst the sales incentives have been removed has the sales pressure been removed from the branch staff also? Its is this unrelenting pressure that is causing the problem. Fear of losing your job and being managed out is far more powerful than a £X bonus!

  2. Consumer need sold to – they simply just dont buy life, CI Pensions etc. Employ compliance managers to oversee compliant sales are made and incentify these managers on the number of corrections needing to be made to ensure the sale is compliant. Never thought I would feel sorry for the banks but there you go. Mind yiou it is probably the staff I feel sorry for. Anyway thats my tuppence worth today chaps (for those of us who remember this amount of money)

  3. SO the question begs itself to be asked – Exactly what is the bank going to sell to customers if their sales staff are not being paid on performance.

  4. At Halifax plc I was incentivised with a big stick. No money, just a big stick!

  5. Although this is how it should have been from the very beginning and i completely agree with what they are now putting in to place, how is this going to work for the staff, they will still have targets for sales, if they now ask a customer if they would like a certain product, a customer would now turn round and say you should not be asking me this, so yes its great for the customer i agree but the staff should no longer be targeted on sales.

  6. Yeah right!

    And what about the 3 calls a day from one’s supervisor, wanting to know how many more appointments you’ve made, why didn’t you complete more than x % of the ones you have seen, do you want to work here? etc.?

  7. Incentives aren’t the problem, the bullying is ! How would you like to be rung 3 times a day by some short bald bloke with a limp leaving you in no doubt that if your target isn’t reached you will be on a ‘performance improvement plan’.

    Until the targetting and bullying in the industry is exposed and dealt with nothing will change.

  8. I feel sorry for the staff. They will still be under presssure to sell – ‘Can you pledge me what you will sell this week’. No there will be no incentives apart from avoiding going on a performance improvment plan. The sales targets will remain. The greedy bosses will reap the rewards whilst the staff become more stressed.

    I’ve just taken redundancy from working in a Bank – happiest day of my life.

    P.S. How do we know Barlcays are telling the truth? Silly question, of course we can trust them!

  9. Every time I go to the bank they try to flog me home insurance, they just will not take no for an answer so are they doing it for fun these days??

  10. I amplify some of the previous posters – will they still manage with the Big Stick and Fear.

    I was harassed for sales by management when I worked for a Bank when they also removed incentives. No bonus, removed company mobile phone etc but heaped on the pressure.

    Less pay, longer hours and loads more pressure.

    Tell the truth Banks and be opaque, decent as well as operating with honour.

  11. I was offered a large sum of money to leave my job in Barclays as a Retail Sales Manager in 2000 – and I couldn’t be more please now as I was then.

    The only difference now is that I feel dirty and ashamed for having worked for them so long. After 26 years, however, I could speak “Head Office Language” quite well. The translation for “This is not a cost cutting exercise” is “This IS a cost cutting exercise”. Similarly, “There will be no sales incentives for staff” will proably translate to “There will still be sales incentives for staff but we’ll be sneaky about it” or “There will be disincetives for staff not selling”.

    The other ramification is that this could also mean they will use it as an excuse to reduce staff numbers and thereby reduce service levels.

    They have a knack for getting their own way – they always have and they always will.

  12. The problem is the short sighted approach banks and many large corporations have towards their customers. Rather than looking at the lifetime value of a customer, many would rather get as much out of them as possible at the first attempt thinking that there is no customer loyalty anymore. Somehow they don’t realise this creates the disloyalty in the first place and is self perpetuating.
    Success and incentives should be linked to and measured on how well customers are looked after over a period of time.

  13. What is being championed by the FSA/FCA is a naive and short term view. This is an easy/topical bandwagon to jump on however what is not being recognised is the inevitable reduction in product take up where the need is always fulfilled through sold to scenarios i.e. Life, CIC etc due to customers procrastination of recognising the need.

    What is required is not a removal of product orientated incentives but stronger controls to manage the right customer outcomes. This is what the FSA/FCA should be championing for the interest of the consumer. This is another example of the banks/lenders reacting to what they feel is a requirement from the regulator.

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