Barclaycard and Capital One hire more customer service help ahead of holiday season

By , CardRatings contributor
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Barclaycard continues its North American expansion this fall with the announcement of an expansion to its operations center in Wilton, Maine.

"This is another step in our journey to enhance our customer experience," Patrick Wright, Barclaycard US chief operating officer, said in a written statement.

After years of proving white-label support for branded retail and airline credit cards, Barclaycard has increased its efforts to lure new customers to its Ring, Arrival and Rewards credit cards.

By the end of 2014, 200 new employees will join Barclaycard's Wilton customer contact facility, bringing the total number of team members at that location to 350. That team will work in tandem with colleagues at Barclaycard's headquarters in Newark, Delaware. Both facilities have earned honors in regional "Best Places to Work" polls, citing strong community involvement and generous benefits.

The move follows a broader trend among credit-card issuers to differentiate themselves by emphasizing customer-service operations staffed by American workers instead of relying on offshore teams or automated solutions. After acquiring the former credit card brands operated in the United States by HSBC, Capital One also inherited the South Dakota call center that previously serviced calls for Household Bank and Orchard Bank customers.

Instead of slashing or automating the operation, Capital One grew its Sioux Falls presence to nearly triple that of its predecessor. According to local news reports, a surge of hiring will bring Capital One's headcount in the city to nearly 1,075 customer-service agents and processing specialists. Access to experienced professionals played a role in the decision, since Citi, Wells Fargo and First Premier Bank also maintain major service centers in the region.

Throughout 2013, Discover promoted its latest rewards credit card by emphasizing quick access to live agents based in the United States. The issuer scaled its customer service operation by hiring members of military families and outfitting them with flexible home-office technology. Using Dover Air Force Base as a recruitment center, Discover managers have hired and trained new agents with the expectation that they can continue in their jobs after a military transfer away from Discover's Delaware headquarters.

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