Telecom isn't shy of pointing out they don't hire school leavers for customer service jobs. Air New Zealand is the same, in flight service personal are likely to be older, mature people rather than an 18 or 19 year old who's so excited about being a flight attendant they actually forget about the details of the job.
Supermarkets hire school leavers and we all know the level of service we get going through the checkout. But recently I have been noticing the change there too. However Supermarkets are likely to be human free within a few years as self checkouts become common place.
It's pretty simple to see the logic behind this change. Older people have had many different jobs, have more life experience and can understand and sympathise with people naturally. It was quite noticeable on my trip to the USA that younger people had a different tone of voice, seemed rushed and less caring, less genuine than their maturer counterparts. It just did not feel like a natural behaviour for younger people to be able to display and show the right emotions required for effective Customer Service.
Older people are level headed, and generally carry more respect from customers making their task of delivering top service a lot easier. Young people usually have ants in their pants, want action, fame and glory, Customer Service is unlikely to achieve anyone of those goals.
Maturity counts for a lot in the service world. So I am predicting that with the emphasis on young people to train and study more; that older people will begin to see Customer Service and Support as a worthy career move. Heaven knows we need it to happen.
Customer Support work can often be performed remotely, (of course not for AirNZ or retail outlets) which is likely to suit older people usually unwilling to travel or who have moved to lifestyle properties. Airlines are now hiring huge workforces working at home to take calls for bookings and support. Certainly in my experience Mums at Home are a fantastic way to hire committed, experienced people who want to keep in the loop, keep working and making extra money while looking after their kids.
I'll tell you this to wrap up, I'd rather speak to someone experienced, knowledgeable and level headed about anything than a eager pipsqueak who's just stoked to be earning $500 a week.
So from what has traditionally been a low paid industry hiring young and unskilled people, I think the tide is turning. While salaries might take longer to improve certainly the change at the top is very apparent , its far more likely that the person helping you on the phone is older than you and knows just what you're going through.