Do great customer service and low-paid staff go together?

If we are trying to create a great customer experience and service are we paying our front-line people enough?

Does the public know something about pay and customer service that the business community has missed? Does the business community and organisations have the balance wrong?

The BBC conducted a survey last month on pay levels and reported it on their website: Pay survey: What people think we should really earn. Of the 1,000 people surveyed they were not told what the real pay levels were in those professions. However, whilst the survey kicked up some interesting results about the ranking of highly-paid professionals and who should be payed less, one of the things that I noticed was that, of the 15 professions that people were asked about the bottom six are all effectively ‘front-line’ or service staff. And, of all of these professions the public thought that they should be paid more.

Interesting! Could that be because these people are the public faces of their respective businesses and we expect them to be paid more?


Is it that we want more from them?

Take a look at the professions in the table below from the BBC article and see what you think.

BBC pay survey table Sept 2010
Now, maybe the level of pay reflects the quality of the people that we employ in these service positions or the orientation of the businesses that we run but it does throw up a few interesting questions:

  1. If we want to create really great customer service and customer-focused then can we afford to keep treating our ‘front-line’ people as low value roles? Especially when these positions are often the first point of contact for our customers when attending to a need or a complaint?
  2. Does the public recognise this better than business and it is their indication that we should be paying our ‘front-line’ service staff more or hiring better people to provide better the great customer service that we desire?

What do you think? Should we be placing more importance on our front-line staff, paying them and training them more, expecting more of them and hiring more skilled people?

Thanks to procsilas for the image.

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