For the first time Barclays has declared complaints figures on a quarterly basis, twice the frequency required by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

At the same time, as part of Barclays drive to improve transparency and customer service, the bank has also published its first Spotlight Report to demonstrate how it is listening and changing.

Barclays has published complaints figures for the third quarter (Q3) of 2013 today which show:

  • Total Barclays complaints excluding PPI are down 42% to 47,462 (Q3 2012 82,504);
  • Complaints including PPI are also down 32% to 162,360 (Q3 2012 237,399);
  • Banking complaints are down 44% to 42,474 (Q3 2012 76,369).

Each Spotlight Report will focus on an issue that has drawn a number of complaints and will highlight the bank’s action plan for improving customers’ experience in that area. Barclays will also explain how it is working to improve service for key products such as mortgages, savings and current accounts.

This quarter’s Spotlight Report examines current account security, including lost and stolen cards, debit card fraud and disputes.

Keeping customers’ money safe and secure is a fundamental responsibility of a bank but also an increasingly difficult challenge with ever evolving technology and ways of accessing money.

Barclays has an excellent track record of protecting its customers’ accounts, but some of the measures we have put in place do not always make our customers’ lives as easy as they should

The Spotlight Report highlights how Barclays is working to constantly adapt, improve and strengthen its processes, outlining the changes that have already been made and those that will be implemented in 2014.

Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays Retail and Business Banking, said: "Our increased openness and transparency about complaints and what we are doing to fix the root causes is an important part of our journey to put customers back at the heart of our business. We’ve reduced banking complaints from 1,000 per day to well under 500 but we know there’s much more we can do to improve. We are working hard to make that happen."

Matt Hammerstein, managing director of Customer, said: "There was a time when bank managers knew all their customers by sight. The expectation that we know and value our customers as individuals hasn’t changed, so it’s critical that we deliver a responsive and personal service for customers when things go wrong."

In summary:

Lost and stolen debit cards: Reporting a lost or stolen card is a stressful event for customers and they need our processes to be fast, straightforward and supportive. We recognise that we sometimes fall short, and that improving the experience is a key priority. So, we’re working towards letting our customers report their card lost or stolen in the way which best suits them whether it be by phone, text, online or in-branch, this year we have made this possible in branch on top of our existing telephone service. So far we have stopped and replaced 243,977 debit cards through our branch network and 104,044 by phone (as at September 2013) In addition, 267 branches are now equipped to deliver same-day card replacement.

Debit card fraud alerts: One of the ways we protect customers’ account security is to ask customers to confirm whether certain transactions are genuine. If we do not hear back, we may block the transaction. Sometimes this can cause inconvenience, distress and embarrassment so we’re fine tuning our processes to ensure, for instance, that routine purchases at customers’ favourite shops and restaurants will never be blocked. We’ve also introduced a 24/7 text alert service that gives customers the ability to let us know if a transaction is genuine or fraudulent, and we will take appropriate action within 15 minutes. In the unfortunate incidence of fraud, customers can expect a personal phone call with reassurance and next steps.

Debit card disputes: When customers want to dispute a transaction they expect us to resolve the issue quickly, either clarifying a genuine payment or confirming and rectifying mistakes or fraud. From complaints and feedback we know that we need to speed processes up and increase transparency to reassure customers. We are working to give customers better visibility of the dispute process using phone, online and branch. We are also rolling out an automated decision process to resolve the most common and simple disputes, freeing up our colleagues to prioritise more complex cases. Finally are also working to speed up the time it takes to process disputes aiming to reduce the average time taken to process a claim from around 28 days to less than 5 days.

Your Bank: As well as doing more to tackle complaints, we are also doing more to make it easier for our customers to communicate effectively with us, with the launch of Your Bank in September. This online platform enables us to listen, understand, anticipate and learn from what our customers tell us. Following the launch of Your Bank we have already received over 370,000 comments generating more than 2,600 ideas on how the bank can make everyday banking easier for customers. We have already committed to eight solutions in response to the top ideas shared by consumers including a formal review of overdrafts, extending Pingit to under 16s and expanding mobile banking services to include mortgage accounts.