Pay waiting staff properly

02 December 2011
Pay waiting staff properly

Waiting staff are not paid enough, argues customer service expert Mario Dolcezza, who suggests abolishing tips in favour of more skill recognition

I have a suggestion: Let's abolish tipping. I can already hear the anguished cries of tens of thousands of individuals who work really hard for their tips, without which life would be much harder, but hear me out…

For me, the problems are straightforward. For starters, waiting staff are just not paid enough for the work they do. This in itself denigrates the value of their role and gives the impression that waiting staff are not valued as individuals or professionals.

This seems to be complete madness to me. These people are the face of the company, the individuals with whom we as customers have a direct relationship and on whom we base much of our experience with the company. Yet still we seek to employ low-skilled individuals for this job on the lowest of rewards.

It's hardly surprising then that many waiting or service staff are discontented with their job and often treat it as a stop gap or temporary arrangement, constantly on the lookout for alternative employment. Hardly the level of loyalty companies look for in their most important resource - their staff.

And it's this denigration of the service role that leads all individuals, both employers and employees, to treat it with contempt. Enthusiasm for giving good customer service at the coal face is often driven by process more than by desire, or stick rather than carrot if you prefer.

The lack of respect for waiting and service staff is driven by the mistaken belief that no special skills are required to hold down such a role - this is wrong. However, it seems to be the norm to provide very little training to new recruits other than functional, by which I mean how to work the till, how to set the tables or how to write down an order. Generally, these functions are undertaken adequately but don't contribute much to the overall customer experience.

how to be great at customer service

This opinion piece is an excerpt from customer service guru Mario Dolcezza's book, How to be great at customer service.

The book takes a passionate look at customer experience with uncomplicated advice for great delivery, alongside some true life examples that prove even the best companies can get it wrong.

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