Customer care programmes, ‘empathy’ training and the like are used because management thinks that if people are trained to please customers, good service will result.

Often it means service agents who do a lot of ‘smiling’ but don’t and can’t help customers solve their problems.

Managers who think service is all about smiling fail to take account of the many ways in which the system can interfere with peoples’ behaviour.

The system can prevent them from having the ability to serve customers; it can cause them to behave in inefficient ways. In short, the system can influence people to behave in ways which dissatisfy customers and/or sub-optimise performance (i.e. make the costs of doing business greater).