Sharon Allred Decker: `We Had To Recognize That People Have Lives'

In 1990, Duke Power Co. in Charlotte, N.C., gave Sharon Allred Decker a critical assignment: consolidate the customer-service functions of its 98 local offices and make the once-sheltered monopoly more responsive to customers. Decker jumped at the chance. She launched a service center that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But Decker quickly realized that for Duke Power to be more responsive to customers, it had to become more responsive to employees, too. "I saw an opportunity to create an environment I wanted to work in," says the vice-president for customer service. "We needed to recognize that people have lives. "

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