Why Australia should avoid US-style tipping at all costs

Tipping's also common in many European countries, although usually less of an obligation than in the US. Source: Pixabay

I was asked, should we adopt the US practice of tipping to get better customer service? My response – definitely not!

In my opinion, in many businesses, government agencies, telecommunication companies customer service is almost non-existent!

I spent 40 years of my working life in senior administration and customer service roles, some for larger organisations, but the two positions I enjoyed most were with (at the time) small, privately owned businesses.  In both businesses, the owners understood the value of good customer service.

They understood that repeat and referred custom would be the cornerstone of a successful business and was often the only thing that would differentiate them from their competitors. And, I did too!  I also reaped the benefits – having customers who would bring me flowers, cook a slice for the boys in the workshop, just call in to have a chat. I loved my job, I loved knowing that the service I gave was appreciated and valued, and I gained enormous personal satisfaction from knowing that. 

When, due to ill health, I had to resign – well, it was the saddest day of my life! (When I resigned we had grown to owning three franchises. The company now has six successful franchises and my service’ contributed to that.)

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One shouldn’t have to tip someone for doing the job they are employed to do – they get paid for that. Admittedly, many (particularly in the hospitality industry) in the US receive minimum wages and without their tips wouldn’t survive.  That’s not the case in Australia and heaven help us if we employ this practice.

Notwithstanding, I have often given a ‘little extra’ for exceptional service and will continue to do so but as a norm, I don’t think so!

Do you always leave a tip out of habit, or only when the service worker has gone above and beyond? Do you think Aussie service staff are paid fairly? Have you ever been in a job where you relied on tips to make up for a low wage?