Salt River Project provides water and power to more than two millions greater Phoenix residents, which means thousands of customer inquiries every day. In fact, every company utilizes some form of customer service, and for that reason I think more colleges and universities should embrace curriculum that exposes students to the value of service excellence. Exemplary customer service requires skill, training, and an understanding of how people think and what they value.

It’s also important for students coming out of college today to know how to analyze situations and not take everything at face value. They need to be able to ask, “How can this customer be best served? What can I do to exceed their expectations?”

For that reason, I would like to see more colleges teach students how to hone in on a problem, conduct creative analysis, and come up with a solution that meets the needs of the customer as well as the organization.

In addition, customer service has evolved. It’s not just about verbal communication, which takes place between two individuals either in person or by phone. It’s also about communicating via your website, texts on a mobile phone, as well as live chats between two individuals who may live hundreds—if not thousands—of miles apart.

The good news is the generation that is coming into the workforce understands technology and cannot live without it. They have quite literally grown up with all of these tools in the palms of their hands. The key is to help them leverage the technology they have at their fingertips and apply that to a business setting.

Companies that understand the importance of customer service will reap the benefits of a happy customer base, empowered employees, and a successful business. But it’s a constantly changing dynamic that requires educated employees willing to learn, evolve and be up to the challenge.