In assessing the relationship between personality traits and job performance, researchers have noted that though significant, the former only account for a relatively small portion of the evident variance. In addressing this deficient explanation, it has been suggested that the inclusion of surface traits as a mediator will enhance the predictive capacity. Following Brown, Mowen, Donovan and Licata (2002), the present research examines whether there is evidence for the existence of a mediation relationship between trait emotional intelligence (as a personality trait), customer orientation (as a surface trait) and service performance. To test the proposed relationship, a self-administered survey was administered to frontline personnel within a large service organisation located in the Asia-Pacific region. A mediation regression analysis was conducted on the 174 valid responses to test the hypotheses. The results confirmed the validity of the proposed mediation relationship, leading to a range of conclusions about the applicability of the findings in service settings, including suggestions about the merit of incorporating emotional intelligence and customer orientation into employee training and development programs.