WILTON – Barclays, a major global financial services provider, has selected this small town as the location for its newest customer care center. This will create 50 new jobs initially, in the area, with a total projected work force of 200 jobs, over the next 10 years.
While there are those who have been critical of another call center coming to Maine, Barclays’ Customer Care Center is much more than your typical call center. Many in the area view this as a positive development.
Jen McEntee, a native Mainer, and a resident of Wilton, has been selected as the director of the center. McEntee brings over 15 years of customer care experience to her position, as well as an appreciation for skills and abilities that Franklin County’s work force brings to Barclays, the Delaware-based financial services firm.
Because of her experience in the industry, McEntee understands the connotation about call centers, telemarketing, and the negatives people sometimes associate with them.
“What Barclays is doing is trying to get away from the ‘typical’ call center that people immediately think of,” said McEntee. “For one thing, all our calls are inbound. We do not make outbound telemarketing calls.”
While many large corporations have gone off shore, much of their entire customer care operations and experiences have been mixed. While some calls, and customer contact can be done by unskilled workers outside the U.S., consumers are becoming increasingly sensitive about handing private and personal information out.
“There is a much to be said for keeping jobs in the U.S.,” said McEntee. “Customers have become very sensitive, particularly in light of the recent Hannaford’s supermarket situation, and others, where personal information was compromised. I think people feel much better speaking with a representative that is conscious of the needs of the customer, and the situation they are handling, as well as knowing the cultural issues.”
The Franklin County work force has solid experience in the area of customer care, from prior employment opportunities at MBNA, in Farmington, as well as L.L. Bean, Affiliated Computer Services, in Lewiston, and a number of people who have worked at Access Worldwide, in Augusta, or T-Mobile, in Oakland.
Barclays’ focus is service, and the employees they are looking to hire will be those who understand, and appreciate that commitment.
“Customers today are increasingly savvy,” said McEntee. “They are conscious of who they are dealing with, and expect a certain level of sophistication.”
McEntee has been impressed by the level of applicants that have visited the Wilton CareerCenter for information sessions, job fairs, and several informal events that have been set up by Patty Ladd, the Wilton CareerCenter manager.
“The CareerCenter’s been a great partner,” said McEntee. “They’ve allowed us to utilize their space, and we had over 200 people come through the week after the article came out in the newspaper.”
McEntee indicated that Barclays pays competitive wages, with full benefits. These benefits include vacation, dental, a 401K option, as well as an opportunity to earn monthly incentive bonuses. Additionally, Barclays allows employees to participate in community service projects, while being paid by the company.
While it appears that Barclays has shown a good faith commitment to the community, McEntee expressed that they also are looking for reciprocal support from the area.
“We depend on our communities to support us, also. We want to know how we can help out, in a variety of ways,” she said.
The company’s first new hires are currently undergoing three weeks of intensive training, in preparation for going live on the phones. After the training is finished, these graduates will begin offering Barclays’ clients world class customer care.
Wilton’s newest business is a win-win for Franklin County.
For more information about employment opportunities at Barclays, contact the Wilton CareerCenter, at 645-5800