Argues that many performance improvement programmes can be evaluated in the light of expected gains in customer retention, which in turn will improve profits. Customer service transactions involve people who are supported by computers. Therefore, a performance improvement strategy will consider the ways in which people respond to people, and software responds to people. Yet in most organizations the software and human sides of service are managed ‐ and budgeted for ‐ at opposite ends of the building. When systems and people resources are polarized, the corporate strategy may look cohesive on paper but may be for all practical purposes a box of loose pieces. Presents the budget fusion idea which considers certain systems and people outlays as a unified investment in pursuit of a value‐added goal: retention of profitable customers.
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