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I never saw myself as someone who would work in a bank, but I knew I was good at delivering great service. I’d been working in customer service since the age of 14 – I had no idea I was gaining skills that would take me to where I am today.
At 22, I started a job in a traditional Scottish hotel, where I worked my way up to a manager role. I loved giving people a taste of our famous Glasgow hospitality and I really understood how to give customers a great experience. I stayed there for 17 years and after I left, I started volunteering, helping offenders rehabilitate. I loved the positive effect I could have on people’s lives.
I applied for a job with Barclays as a Customer Service Agent. Even during the competency-based interview I felt supported. The interviewer was brilliant and helped me understand the questions. I explained what I’d learnt about great customer service and talked about the things I most cared about. I couldn’t believe it when they offered me a contract – I thought I’d need particular qualifications and a good grasp of maths. It was actually my passion for making a difference that got me the job.
When I first started, I doubted my capabilities, and learning the language of banking was challenging. Then one day it clicked: I knew how to bring all my knowledge of giving great customer service into my role. I realised I had everything I needed to do an excellent job, including all the right values: I cared for customers, I cared for colleagues and I wanted to make a difference.
I take absolute pride in delivering a great service. For the first 2 years at Barclays I was on calls with global clients before our team moved over to support our Premier clients. I delivered outstanding service and it was always recognised by the business. When a new leader joined the department and encouraged me to step up into leadership, I jumped at the chance and went on to manage a wonderful team for just under 2 years. Career progression is something that our leaders encourage us to think about and my next move was to step out of my comfort zone and into a new team with new responsibilities.
I love my job here, not just because of the work I do with customers, but also the many ways I can positively impact people beyond our customers. My managers have enabled me to do lots of interesting things. Following a talk given by an asylum-seeker from Africa, I was inspired to put on a fundraising event during the Scottish Refugee Festival. We brought together a mix of musicians, artists, dancers, poets and chefs from different cultures to celebrate our differences whilst being together. It was an incredibly special event for me, bringing together my colleagues and different charities, and as a bonus I was delighted to win a Rising Star award for the event.
The Refugee Council contacted me shortly after the event to tell me that refugees were having problems opening accounts, I initially thought I couldn’t help. But as it played on my mind, I asked myself: what if I could do something? I reached out to people in my Barclays network, got them involved, and together we looked at improving the account opening process. Since then I have worked across the platform supporting people with employability skills and as a result I was awarded a Scottish Financial Services ‘Bright Future’ award. I couldn’t believe I won, and can’t believe I have achieved so much.
One of the reasons why I love my job so much is that we don’t just train people to take calls. We encourage colleagues to get to know the customer, to support them, and to do what’s right for them. We challenge processes to get the right outcomes for our customers and we do a lot of work to support vulnerable people in our communities. We want to be a bank that cares and nurtures people – people who will work hard to make banking more human.
I’m truly grateful to have been given the opportunity to work here, to be a leader, and to develop my team to care about the customer. I didn’t think I wanted to work in a bank, but I did want to make a difference to people’s lives. And now I’m doing all of that and more.