Most of customer experience is cleaning and sweeping – Interview with Gerry McGovern


Share on LinkedIn


Today’s interview is with Gerry McGovern who is the founder and CEO of Customer Carewords and the author of six books on all things digital, content, transformation and online customer experience. He is about to publish a new book at the end of this month: Top Tasks – A How to Guide. The new book provides an A to Z look at the Top Tasks methodology that Gerry has developed and has used in around 4-500 organisations around the world over the last 20 years. Gerry joins me today to talk about the book, why being great is hard work and to take a closer look at the Top Tasks methodology.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – 25 behavioural biases and how they influence the choices our customers make – Interview with Richard Shotton – and is number 277 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Here’s the highlights of my interview with Gerry:

  • The Top Tasks method is based on the idea that customers have a small set of top tasks that they want to achieve and these tasks are vital to the success of your website/experience. As a result, you must seek to continuously improve the ability of your customers to complete them quickly and easily.
  • Top Tasks is a customer experience management model and a set of methods to help improve the customer experience, particularly in digital but not exclusively.
  • It’s a synthesis of of all the work Gerry has been doing in the last 15 years.
  • The book is very practical and comprehensive.
  • The Top Tasks methodology is all about identifying the top tasks of your customers and measuring your performance against those top tasks.
  • Invariably, there’s a relatively small set of tasks that are really critical to customers and if they don’t get help with those tasks they are likely to either pick up the phone to you or go to a competitor.
  • The Top Tasks method can help organisations become more customer centric.
  • The challenge is that many organisations don’t understand and, therefore, don’t focus on their customers Top Tasks. That makes them hard to do business with.
  • Consider the old Bain study that found that 80% of execs believed that they were delivering a great customer experience but only 8% of their customers agreed.
  • Whilst this method is primarily focused on the digital experience, the actual method and the philosophy can be applied to both online and offline scenarios.
  • The method involves all parts of the organisation so as to achieve a balanced view, particularly in the shortlisting part of the process.
  • The Top Tasks method provides a holistic picture of the customers universe.
  • However, Gerry warns that this is not easy work and only the best and most committed organisations will take this on.
  • Most organisations once they have completed an analysis of all of the relevant data will end up with a shortlist of tasks that are around 50 to 80 different things long.
  • Then customers are asked to vote on the top tasks and are asked to pick up to five things that really matter to them.
  • That normally produces around 8 top tasks and, typically, the top 5 tasks will get as many votes as the bottom 50.
  • Once identified these tasks can then be focused on, improvements can be made to make them quicker and easier and their performance thereof measured.
  • To achieve greatness you have to be humble and relentless in your efforts to improve.
  • Ray Kroc of McDonald’s once said that “if you have time to lean you, have time to clean”.
  • Most of customer experience is just cleaning and sweeping.
  • Design for journey the customer wants to go on, not the journey you want to them to go on.
  • Customers are much more powerful today and they’re much more independent than they have ever been.
  • They may not know the right thing to do but they think they know the right thing to do. And, if you don’t help them do what they came to do your chances of losing them skyrocket.

About Gerry

gerry mcgovernGerry McGovern is the founder and CEO of Customer Carewords and helps large organizations deliver a better digital customer experience. His commercial clients include Microsoft, Dropbox, Cisco, NetApp, VMware, and IBM. He has also consulted with the US, UK, EU, Dutch, Canadian, Norwegian, and Irish governments.

Gerry has developed a research and management model to help large organizations improve customer experience through identifying and optimizing customer top tasks. It’s called Top Tasks Management. A highly-regarded speaker, he has spoken on digital customer experience in 35 countries.

He has written six books on digital customer experience. His previous book is called Transform: A Rebel’s Guide for Digital Transformation. It shows that digital transformation is far more about culture change than technology change. The Irish Times described Gerry as one of five visionaries who has had a major impact on the development of the Web.

Check out Gerry’s website, the Customer Carewords site, Gerry’s previous books and keep an eye out for Gerry’s new book: Top Tasks – A How to Guide when it comes out at the end of this month.

Finally, do connect with Gerry on LinkedIn here and say Hi to him on Twitter @gerrymcgovern.



Thanks to Pixabay for the image.


Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here