Top Tasks

Publisher summary

Top tasks are what matter most to your customers. By identifying and continuously improving top tasks you will deliver a better customer experience and increased organizational value.

People are more powerful, skeptical, and impatient today than they’ve ever been. They want what they want now through the device they have at hand now. People are extremely demanding these days, and it’s only going to get worse.

This changes the relationship between the organization and the customer. Do you remember that thing called “control?” It used to be that organizations had a lot of control over the customer. The product didn’t need to be that fantastic as long as you had fantastic marketing and advertising. If you worked for the government, then citizens just had to accept what they were given. And if the interface was clunky and unintuitive, then they always had the manual or the support staff. That world is fading.

Organizations need to make things simple today, really simple. They need to understand the customer/user much better. The design of their products must be genuinely intuitive—so simple even a distracted adult can understand it.

The truth is that organizations love complexity, verbosity, and glut. Giving a website to an organization is like giving a pub to an alcoholic. Every hour is Happy Hour as they publish, publish, publish. Designing apps is pretty much the same, as ‘featuritis’ spreads rapidly. Typically, when organizations delete up to 90 percent of what they have, everything begins to work much better. Yeah, I’m serious. Totally, totally serious.

  • The Norwegian Cancer Society reduced their website size from 4,000 down to 1,000 pages. Donations and satisfaction rose substantially as a result.
  • Liverpool City went from 4,000 pages to 700 and saw lots of positive results.
  • Telenor Norway went from 4,000 to 500 pages. Sales and customer satisfaction went up. Customer support inquiries went down.
  • The UK National Trust reduced their web presence from 50,000 to 9,000.
  • The U.S Department of Health deleted 150,000 out of 200,000 pages. Nobody noticed.

What? Why? Because organizations excel at creating vast quantities of useless stuff. What matters most to the organization often matters least to the customer. In a great many organizations we have worked for we have found an inverse relationship between the importance of something to customers and the amount of effort the organization was putting into it. Crazy, isn’t it? But I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

It’s those damn tiny tasks! When a tiny task goes to sleep at night, it dreams of being a top task. And when it wakes up it is full of ambition and ego. Lots of digital teams are being nibbled to death by a deluge of tiny organizational tasks that will clutter an interface and clog a search. They will drain vital resources away from the continuous effort required to make customer top tasks simpler and better.

Top Tasks helps you fight ego with evidence—evidence of what customer top tasks are and how these tasks are performing. Evidence of what the real customer experience is like.


Gerry McGovern