Barclays' live chat mortgage service has come under fire after one adviser spent 70 minutes on it only to end up with misinformation.
Transcripts shown to FTAdviser by at least three brokers over the past year have shown the bank's live chat operators ask the same questions twice, such as the name of the client or the case reference number, after at least a 30-minute wait time.
The latest broker to share his live chat experience was Mortgage Pod founder Steve Humphrey, who took to LinkedIn last week (August 11) to ask the high street bank for help after he spent more than an hour speaking to an online agent.
In Humphrey’s case, his client had first and second charge mortgages on their property and wanted to take out a new mortgage with Barclays to pay them both off.
“Legally, both have to be paid off at the same time. But I was wondering if we could stagger completion of the two charges. Live chat said it could definitively be done.”
But Humphrey later found out that the exact opposite was the case.
“We get this live chat service, spend 70 minutes on it, and get the wrong answer,” he told FTAdviser.
Barclays said brokers without assigned BDMs could contact its trained staff in multiple ways, including by phone or on live chat.
Humphrey said if he operated with the customer services levels the bank considered acceptable it would not be long before he would have to change industries.
Not all small brokers get a BDM
FTAdviser understands a BDM was assigned to Humphrey in July, though he did not realise this when he used the live chat function.
A day after Humphrey’s LinkedIn post last week, Barclays’ head of BDM support called him and introduced him to his BDM.
“Many small brokers still don't have BDMs with Barclays and are not getting the support because they’re not happy to speak up,” he said.
A Barclays spokesperson said the bank worked hard to ensure intermediaries of all sizes were able to process applications smoothly and effectively.
"Brokers without assigned BDMs can get in touch via telephony or live chat, and the colleagues who staff these channels are trained to handle a wide variety of enquiries," it explained.
"For more complex issues that can’t be resolved immediately, these can be escalated via the broker chat lines, or by the telephony BDM support team.”
But Humphrey argued a model where not every broker has a BDM and had to rely on live chat was a "broken" one.
“The lack of a BDM is killing some smaller brokers at the moment, with all the [product and rate] changes," he explained.
“If you don't do enough business or part of a big enough firm you don't get any access to a BDM. Their only resource is to discuss new or ongoing cases is with live chat.”