Buying tickets online is relatively easy, even if the website is terrible to use on a mobile device. Advance tickets are also great value, but why do they stop offering them over peak times, like Christmas? There's a quota system anyway, so if they're sold out, they're sold out - what's the difference. Holiday travel may be a money spinner, but I think this is just a little unnecessary.
Oh, and those advanced tickets ... really, train guards need to accept them on later and alternative trains whenever there's a cancellation or delay. Making someone buy a new ticket as they're travelling on a different train by necessity is just plain mean.
If you've got a query, head to your branch or call them directly. Calling customer services is like entering a labyrinth - you never know where each 'I'll transfer you to a colleague' will take you.
Tried emailing for a general query as I was overseas and knew it would eat up my money and time to call (if the information - on international transfer charges - is on the website, it's really well hidden). What followed would have been funny if I hadn't been looking for a relatively fast response.
The first email was an irrelevant template. There's no dedicated advisor so your reply goes right back into the general system. The second email was an acknowledgement of my complaint and a reassurance that they were taking my concerns very seriously (I didn't complain!) and still no information on the topic I was asking about. They also said that they would have to investigate this and respond in writing - a waste of manpower and paper for a complaint that does not exist. The third email was the same template that I received in Email 1.
In the end, I jumped on the phone to the number they suggested and after three different advisors in two departments, two of which couldn't say for sure what the answer was and gave me different numbers, I think I got the information I was looking for.
Sigh. First Direct could teach you a think or two (or ten).
Edited to add, complaints procedure handled very efficiently, which is great, but doesn't solve the problems at the beginning of the customer service experience. I would still warn people away from Barclays until customer service has been improved.
I enjoy calling my bank. Not something I've ever said before. Queries dealt with quickly and easily by incredibly friendly staff. Minimalist setup, easy online banking interface, information clearly available on the website, and a cracking regular savings account. So they don't have branches ... Do you really need one? With online banking and an advisor barely two rings of the phone away, I don't think so. I only hope they don't change as they become more popular!
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