Note: This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.
Customer service leaders often grouse about their young employees.
They refer to them as "kids," meaning these employees are still in high school, working through college, or are recent college graduates. The typical complaints about these employees include:
They don't know how to be on time.
They lack a strong work ethic.
They don't know how to treat customers.
They expect recognition for everything.
They lack common sense.
There may be some truth to these complaints. There is also a clear root cause for these issues that business leaders need to understand if they employ young people. Here it is:
Young employees lack experience.
Yes. That's it. The entire explanation. When you are young and working in your first job you have a lot less experience than you do after a twenty year career.
Think about how you learned the lessons you think of today as common sense. Somebody taught you. Perhaps it was a parent, a teacher, or a mentor. More than likely you learned a lot from your first boss.
Guess what, customer service leader? You are their first boss.
That means its up to you to help them develop essential skills that many older workers take for granted. Yes, it will require some patience at times.
I'm glad my first boss was patient with me. The very first customer I ever served was a service failure that was my fault. Here’s me telling that story:
And I made plenty of other mistakes along the way.
But Christie, my boss, taught me the importance of greeting every customer with a smile, knowing your product, and treating coworkers with respect and appreciation because we all need to help each other. I have no idea what I would be doing today if Christie didn't take a chance on me when I was 16 years old and knew nothing.
Keep this lesson in mind and you'll do fine.
Many younger employees are eager to learn and do a great job. Young employees also have a fresh perspective that could be beneficial to many businesses. They just need someone to guide them.
You can learn more about managing a customer service team from this course on LinkedIn Learning.