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GROUP

My Working Day: Lesleyann Theadorus

19 November 2018

Lesleyann Theadorus is a Specialist Support Advisor at Barclaycard based in Kirkby, UK. She tells us why she loves her “very intense” job helping the bank’s most vulnerable customers find solutions to their financial problems – and how a country walk and Sunday roast are the perfect weekend antidote.

My alarm goes off… at 6.30am every day. It just gives me time to relax and not rush. I usually start my day by switching the kettle on, having a coffee and a bit of fruit and watching some morning telly on the couch. Then I jump in the shower and get myself ready before I wake my son up. I tend to take the scenic route to work, because I think it mentally prepares me for the day ahead.

My job involves… engaging with our most vulnerable customers. I’m part of the Specialist Support team, which is there to listen to our customers who are experiencing financial difficulty, help them prioritise their payments and guide them to internal and external support services.

Before doing this… I was a Repayment Advisor for Barclaycard, which required me to work with customers whose accounts were in arrears and help them figure out a repayment plan. We then developed the Specialist Support team. When the roles were advertised, I felt the need to apply because I have quite a charitable nature – I really enjoy helping people.

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My working day… varies because I’m involved with three different roles. When I’m working in the Specialist Support team, I deal with vulnerable customers in difficult financial situations and try to help them find a solution. It can be very intense. On a typical day I’ll come in at nine and not have a break until five – and calls can last anywhere from an hour to four hours. On my break I usually go to Costa for a coffee and a breather.

Every Wednesday, I work with the Citizenship team – which involves liaising with our charities, attending offsite events and organising in-house citizenship activities. I also work with the ‘magic moments’ team. We try and encourage colleagues to acknowledge sensitive or personal moments in a customer’s life – and send a gift according to that situation.

My proudest day at work… was when I helped a customer whose 14-year-old son was suffering from a very rare brain tumour. She had spent most of her time with him in hospital, wasn’t sure when she was going to go back to work and was worried she couldn’t afford her card payments. Aside from coming to a financial solution on the phone, I decided to send her some sports vouchers to give to her son. She posted on social media to thank me personally and couldn’t believe a bank would do something like that, when she was the one who owed us money. Her son used the vouchers to buy baseball caps, because he’d lost all of his hair during chemo. We still chat from time to time.

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The most difficult thing about my job… is listening to the heart-wrenching situations that customers are in. It’s very hard to remain professional and not to feel emotionally attached. I helped one woman last Christmas who didn’t owe us a lot of money, but just needed a shoulder to cry on. The call lasted for four hours. She had lost her daughter, recently moved away from all her family and indicated she had felt suicidal. She was unable to claim any benefits at this time, and so was facing the prospect of spending Christmas alone as she had no money for a train fare to see her family.

I pointed her in the direction of the Samaritans, and groups like Christians Against Poverty, but I also released some money on to her card – so that she could catch the train to be with her family at Christmas. I was thinking of her on Christmas day, hoping she was enjoying time with her family.

The thing I enjoy most about my job is… when the customers personally thank you for really making a difference to their lives. That could be from a financial perspective or just for offering an ear to listen. You can hear the positivity in their voices and that’s what I love about what I do.

Outside of work… I like to eat out, have a nice glass of wine, and then go home and watch a film with my son and my partner. Weekends tend to be full of outdoor activities – we do a lot of walking in the countryside, usually followed by a Sunday roast.