Women are lousy at low-level customer service jobs

Computer says, No!
As you know, I prefer not to court controversy, but there is no getting away from it, women are shite at low-level customer service. This only applies to those at the lowest positions - the receptionists, call-centre workers and clerks. The higher you get, the more likely you are to get a woman who is clever enough and confident enough to do a better job than a man.

This is based entirely on anecdotal. Women at the coalface have a default position of "computer says no". Any questioning, any argument, and the defensive shutters come up and you may as well hang up. Ask a man in the same, shitty job, and to make his day a better one he will rise to the challenge and take ownership, indeed he will see it as a challenge.

This morning, we were trying to change GPs as a result of a move (last year). Two female receptionists and two practices said "No, not in our catchment area", and of course, had no interest in helping us find the right one. You do not get male GP receptionists, but if you did, they would be the Carlsberg.

Recently, I had to put young Weasel through the NHS, right up to an overnight stay and an operation. The weak link was the hospital receptionist, who did not read, or disregarded the doctor's instruction that Weasel was to be admitted and seen instantly (a nurse later told me that he should not have been put in the queue and that it was the receptionist's fault)

Please don't waste your time arguing me out of this one. It is a fact. Most not very bright women lack confidence, regard any kind of mild challenge as a threat and have no concept of why they are in the job.

I nearly caused an oestrogen explosion in one social services department (entirely populated by women) when I sought to help a female who I was doing advocacy work for. They put me in a windowless room for 20 minutes and then called in a bumptious hag, hyped up like an SAS soldier about to storm the embassy. She could not believe I meant well.

It makes me want to puke. Women should all be forced to learn why they are in the job in the first place. Men don't need that lesson, for they are happy to do their best. If not, please get back to bringing up weans and cooking the dinner.

Call centre conditions have been characterised as low-wage, predominantly female workplaces.. some call centres require only limited educational qualifications (Source: http://www.itfglobal.org/transport-international/ti10women.cfm)


Ruth@VS said...

Oh dear, you really have had a bad day, haven't you? Unfortunately, basing your thesis on GP receptionists is hardly a scientific analysis - they exist purely to prevent access to doctors and to be as unhelpful as possible. Based on my Other Half's analysis of management of call centre staff, apparently older men are just as bad as young women...
Hope you feel better after your rant.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Stop being nice and understanding Ruth.

You of all people know its true anyway.

The Grim Reaper said...

You must have the same receptionist as my local GP does. ;-)

winston said...

We no longer have to speak to GP receptionists. Appointment times etc are typed in on your phone when prompted by the computer. You arrive for appointment and type in your dob etc into wall machine. Sit down and wait to be called forward. Handed prescription after GP googles your symptoms on laptop and then sent on your way to chemists shop. Sorted.

Dave said...

I probably agree with your overall assessment except:

Too many women in "senior" management positions are not up to the job. They lack the wisdom and/or judgement to manage male staff. They either try to be more of a man than the male staff and are often too remote/indifferent and useless at man management, or they are too "touchy feely" and wishy washy, and can't/won't take decisions that are unpopular.

Then there is the undeniable and evidence based truth that any person promoted through positive discrimination almost always fails to make the standard. That includes female police chiefs, as well as thieves and liars like Ali Dizaei.

I've worked in female-run call centres. It's the most unpleasant working environment I've ever experienced. They literally hated men in my office. It's well documented that when women live/work in close proximity, their menstrual cycles sychronize, so you can imagine what it was like in an all female office on certain days of the month.

Call me a misogynist (I've been called worse), but my view on equality of the sexes uses ballroom dancing as an example.

In ballroom dancing, both partners are equal, but the male takes the lead. if you don't like that, take comfort in Ginger Rogers famous statement about Fred Astaire's dancing. She said that she danced every step he did, but backwards and in high heels.

I'd argue that the biggest factor in the miseducation of our children is the lack of any male presence in the primary schools. Maybe we need some positive discrimination to counter that?

Ruth@VS said...

WW and Dave
What a can of worms you've opened! Actually, I do agree on all-female environments being A Bad Thing, lots of bitching, and back-biting often results. I chose to work in a male-dominated industry and preferred that. Now I work on my own which is even better! Interestingly, in the private sector the number of women in senior posts isn't high, but those women are bloody good at what they do. To be fair, there are lots of useless male managers too, have had to deal with them over the years. But they are better at getting people not to notice they are crap, while some women shout it from the housetop.

BTW - it is a myth about cycles synchronising. Trust me.

Richard said...

Ooer - minefield!

I worked in a call centre (as a trainer) under a female manager, with a female manager above her, and I can't say that I found any difficult with either. Both were straightforward and professional, and a relief from working with the sales managers, who were football-loving my-BMW-is-better-then-yours arses to a man.

Back to the original post, I am sure that we aree seeing sample bias here. People in low-grade jobs tend to behave in low-grade ways whatever their gender. They behave like that because either a) they have low-grade minds, or b) they have better minds but the low-grade work makes them behave badly. The people who can work in a shitty job and rise above it to daily greatness are few and far between, and I speak as someone who has been a trainer for many years trying to achieve exactly that.

And Ruth - I have lived with a wife and two daughters, and - yes they do!

Anonymous said...

In the past I have had excellent service from some women at low level!
You must be meeting the wrong sort of women.

Hamish said...

Well said Ruth, and congratulations on coaxing our esteemed host out of his den.
Dave, you ask to be called a misogynist. I will oblige: you are a misogynist. I am proud to call myself a philogynist (if there isn't such a word, there should be).
Of course there are many people who are useless at their job. Some are incompetent, some are lazy. But a lot more do a good job day in and day out.
In my experience, there is no difference between what you call low-level jobs and the senior ranks. Nor between the sexes.

Richard said...

Philogynist - I like that. It describes me well. I like the company of women, and probably more than the company of men. I am fine with men-only groups if there is a focus of attention (such as a bike club night), but if it is just a social occasion such as a wedding, then give me mixed comapny every time. And if it has to be a single-sex group, please let me sit with the girls. I think going to a boys-only school has left me with the feeling that all-male gatherings are a modern version of school dinners or morning assembly. Dire. Especially as I hate football.