Would you rather hire rock stars or roadies?

I've seen a lot of help-wanted ads lately from companies looking for Customer Service Rock Stars to join their team. My first thought is, You really want to hire rock stars?!

Let's break this down a bit and see if you'd be better off hiring rock stars or roadies.

Rock Stars

I don't know any rock stars, but I read the news and have seen more episodes of VH-1 Behind the Music than I can remember. I also once had a roommate in college who was in a band. He skipped out on our apartment to move back in with his mom while leaving me to pay all the rent. I'm fairly sure that's an accurate sample size.

What attributes do rock stars possess? Here are a few that come to mind: 

  • Talented
  • Famous
  • Selfish
  • Demanding
  • Immature
  • Entitled
  • Obnoxious

The first quality sounds terrific, but it quickly starts going down hill after that. Can your company truly deliver service with a team of people that resemble rock stars?


Now, think about roadies. Just in case you don't know what a roadie does, they are the people that set up the stage, lug the gear, and make sure the rock stars have everything they need to play music. I took a tour of Fenway Park in Boston last June when an army of roadies was setting up for a Roger Waters concert. Watching them transform the ballpark was amazing:

Here are some of the characteristics that come to mind when I think of roadies:

  • Unpolished
  • Hard-working
  • Dedicated
  • Tireless
  • Selfless
  • Caring
  • Skilled

The first trait doesn't sound too great, but after that list starts looking a lot more like the characteristics you'd value in a customer service professional.

So, back to the question. Who would you rather hire to serve your customers, a rock star or a roadie?