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Barclays tops empathy table

Barclays, under the Woolwich brand, has scored top place in the Harding & Yorke mortgage lender league table on customer empathy.

Harding & Yorke launched a benchmark rating in 2004 called the Empathy Rating Index Company which measures how companies make their customers feel and balances this against how they are processed.

The research includes 14 mortgage providers – Abbey, Alliance & Leicester, Britannia, Barclays, Cheltenham & Gloucester, Direct Line, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Nationwide, NatWest, Northern Rock, Portman and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Despite a weak performance in mortgages in 2005 when its mortgage balances slipped 3% to 59.6bn, Barclays, via Woolwich, comes out top for both empathy with customers and how customers feel processed.

Andy Gray, head of mortgages for Barclays, says: “We are proud of gaining top place in the Harding & Yorke league table. This is an endorsement of the work we have done to ensure our customers have the right experience.”

First Direct, followed by A&L, Abbey and HSBC, complete the top five companies for empathy, while Nationwide comes bottom of the league.

A&L, Direct Line, HSBC and C&G also feature in the top five mortgage lenders when it comes to how customers are dealt with.

Jamie Lywood, managing director of Harding & Yorke, says: “Research suggests that simple satisfaction is not enough to win the hearts and minds of customers – this is a given. You also have to make them feel good about you and themselves if you are to secure and hang on to their purses.”

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