Small Business Customer Service and the Minimum Wage


shutterstock_295923083Conservative and progressive economists continue to debate the impact on small businesses of increasing the minimum wage.

Conservative and progressive politicians continue to argue the issue to chart their political futures.

While they all drone on, a significant number of low wage employees struggle to make ends meet while being asked to bring a positive attitude to the workplace, engage in teamwork with their co-workers, and always serve customers with a smile.

Yet, if those employees earning the current minimum wage are struggling to make ends meet, the stresses have to impact their ability to provide the highest levels of service, both to the company’s paying customers and to their co-workers.

There is no doubt a lot of factors go into employees’ abilities to show up with the right mindset to fulfill their job requirements at the highest levels.

But research continues to show employee engagement is at significantly low levels.

This means there is a disconnect between an employee and their desire to fulfill job requirements at the highest levels and look for ways to contribute beyond the basics.

In a lot of situations this may not be due to a lack of caring or desire, and may be an issue of focus and distraction.

If employees are stressing over making ends meet and need a second or third job to fulfill their financial obligations, how engaged can an employee be in any moment on a job?

Billions of dollars are spent on customer service training each year.

Yet, for employees who do not feel positive about the company they work for, or if they do not have a minimum level of certainty about being able to make financial ends meet, customer service training is a waste of resources.

It is also very disingenuous.

Employees will see through the hypocrisy of spending resources for customer service training, and asking employees to serve company customers at ever higher levels, yet, do not feel the company is serving them at the highest levels.

For small business owners paying minimum wage, expecting anything more than minimum performance is a fantasy.

A small business’ most important customers are their employees. Take care of the employees and the employees will take care of the business.

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Apple wage fixing plaintiff accuses execs of hypocrisy over discriminatory labor policy


techtopusCritics — including Pando — have used various words to describe Apple’s now-overturned ban of employing accused felons from construction work on their new campus. Words like discriminatory and illegal.

Now we can add one more word: Hypocritical. At least according to Michael Devine, one of the plaintiffs in the landmark wage-fixing lawsuit against Big Tech firms like Apple, Google, Intel and Intuit.

Speaking to Pando yesterday, Devine argued that Apple’s ban on hiring suspected felons is at the very least ironic given the suit brought by him and his fellow plaintiffs “revealed clear and ample evidence that multiple current and former Apple executives committed felonies in their conspiracy to suppress competition for tech talent.”

Devine has long been outspoken in his criticism of Apple. He was one of the major dissenting voices over the  original settlement figure; it was thanks to Devine’s dissent that the companies had to come back with a higher offer, adding $ 90 million to the final settlement, which now stands at $ 415 million. Devine’s class action wage-theft lawsuit against the Big Tech firms grew out of a Department of Justice antitrust division investigation into the Techtopus — the Big Tech and Hollywood firms’ wage-fixing conspiracy in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, which can carry both civil and criminal penalties. Ultimately the DOJ settled with the firms, paving the way for what turned out to be the first ever successful wage-theft class action lawsuit under the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Apple announced at the end of last week that it had rescinded its hiring ban on felons and those with pending felony charges, which as we reported was not only horrible policy but also quite possibly illegal and in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, according to legal experts and sources in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission I spoke to last week.

Here’s what Devine told me yesterday:

I was especially outraged at the hypocrisy of Apple’s discrimination against convicted felons given that we revealed clear and ample evidence that multiple current and former Apple executives committed felonies in their conspiracy to suppress competition for tech talent.

Devine is not the only one outraged. Yesterday we reported that the former head of the NAACP, Ben Jealous, is publicly calling on Apple to both redress all the workers unfairly harmed by Apple’s hiring ban, and to take the lead in ending employment discrimination against the tens of millions of Americans with criminal records.