Mistaken marketing professionals believe that customer service is an operational issue. They think marketing’s job is to bring customers to the company and customer service is important only after their marketing magic is done. These misguided professionals focus with great intensity on brand building, advertising and promotions, but ignore the daily discipline of actually delivering excellent service.

Mistaken marketing professionals also believe that building a strong service culture is someone else’s job. They think that marketing focuses externally on prospects and customers, while culture is an internal matter, and therefore the responsibility of someone else, usually their colleagues in Human Resources.

These beliefs are outdated. This way of thinking is obsolete. Modern marketing professionals understand the vital role of service. And they understand that building a strong -service culture is a conversation that Marketing should lead.

Service is no longer a “nice to have”. It has become an absolute commercial necessity. In the past, giving good service was a merely a hygiene factor, something you must provide to avoid getting complaints and to keep the customers you’ve already got.

Air Mauritius is successfully executing a 7 Step Plan for increased profitability through service excellence Ron Kaufman recognized as the world’s leading motivational speaker in the customer service field, was invited to Mauritius by the national airline, Air Mauritius, to lead a work shop on Tuesday. Executives and CEO’s of many of the top companies

In an age when a customer’s unhappy experience with a company can go viral mere minutes after it occurred—and when customers regularly take to the Internet to publicize their great and not-so-great experiences—you understand the importance of superior customer service. Of course you do. That’s why you budget hundreds of thousands of dollars for customer service initiatives and put new and old employees through regular training.

They create scripts for call center employees, teach employees how to respond to angry customers, ask them to read detailed customer service manuals, and much more.

So why are the results only average?

I am not a manager or consultant. In fact, I have very little experience in the realm of “business” so far. I am the intern, working for UP! Your Service for the summer. But I don’t need an MBA to know what great service feels like. And my short time at UP! Your Service has already helped me realize that delivering superior service is not, and should not, be confined to the business world. Lately I’ve been thinking about service in my own current world – the collegiate world. Every year, colleges compete to attract new students while simultaneously striving to keep their current students (and their parents) happy. I now realize that to achieve these goals, a superior service culture is a necessity.

I was relaxing on a flight last month in my usual window seat, happily reading a book with the soft, natural sunlight beaming through the window. A member of the cabin crew passed by and, seeing me reading, stretched out her hand and switched on the light above me. She smile, and then she walked away.

I was distracted from my reading, and a little puzzled. The extra lighting from above was too bright for my comfort. I like soft, even dim lighting when I read, but friendly cabin crew did not know that. She thought she was serving me well. After she left, I reached up and turned off that the light.

Richard Whiteley’s blog post – ‘Six reasons why ‘customer centricity’ initiatives fail’ – highlights how often initiatives fail due to inadequate education.

He wrote: “While mindset matters, great service needs great skillsets too… Proper training is required”

This stirred up memories of my early experiences working in a retail company.

Most new frontline staff joined the company with a very positive mindset and uplifting attitude – but as they regularly encountered situations they were not prepared for, their enthusiasm started fading.

The best service isn’t necessarily about getting a plane to depart on time or sticking to policy. In fact, it can mean making a decision to put one customer above others.

The pilot held back a plane with hundreds of passengers for twelve minutes – so that one passenger could make the flight. As Christopher Elliot, the consumer advocate and journalist who first broke this story wrote: “Twelve minutes may not sound like a lot to you or me, but every second counts when you’re an airline. Southwest can turn an entire plane around in about 20 minutes, so 12 minutes is half an eternity.”

In this instance, the pilot put one category – service mindset – above others in the four categories of value in “The BIG Picture”

Service education leads to creative thinking and practical action. This action produces new and greater service value. What happens in effective service education?

1. A new understanding of service value
2. Colleagues learn and apply a common service language
3. Personal behavior models beliefs
4. Taking new and valuable actions

Managers are the essential link between service education programs and the results your organization wants to achieve.

As a manager, it is your responsibility to ensure educational courses create value for your team members, and your team members create even more value for your customers and each other.

These five action steps can help you make this happen: