What it is

How it works

The Long Neck

Task Management

Customer Top Task Identification

Based on over 10 years of research by world-renowned web content expert, Gerry McGovern, the Customer Carewords top task identification approach is a unique scoring technique enabling customers to tell you in precise, statistical terms their top tasks when they arrive at your website.

Customer Carewords involves drawing up a list of the tasks that your customers come to your website to complete then getting them to quickly vote on this list. The list of tasks can be up to 100 long.

Your customers are asked to quickly scan the list and then choose the 5 most important tasks to them. They must give a score of 5 to the task that is most important to them, 4 to the next most important task, and so on.

According to traditional polling theory, Customer Carewords shouldn't work. A list of 100 tasks is simply too much, according to such theory, and people will just choose randomly. This is not what we have found.

We have developed Customer Carewords over many years using thousands of test participants in 15 countries. In fact, the longer list has a very important function. We want to get to the gut instinct choices of customers, not the considered choices.

Do as I do, not as I say

A website is about self-service and self-service design is about observation-based management. It is now widely acknowledged that traditional techniques such as focus groups and standard surveys don't accurately predict web customer behavior. "Perhaps the most common complaint about focus groups is that consumers are not honest in front of other people," according to a Business Week article.

"At User Interface Engineering, we hardly ever use focus groups because they just don't work very well at uncovering user needs," states Christine Perfetti. "The biggest problem: what users say in a focus group rarely matches what they do in a real-life setting. Users' opinions about a site or product are very rarely consistent with how they behave when they actually interact with it."

The long list of tasks that Customer Carewords presents brings the customer to a point close to overload. We have heard test subjects say: "I can't do this; there's just too much to choose from." We tell them to trust their instincts, to vote for what really jumps out at them.

Amazingly, when people do vote in sufficient numbers, rock solid trends emerge. In a typical poll, for example, at 100 voters the top 3 most popular tasks will have been established. Even if you get another 5,000 people voting, the top 3 tasks will not have changed.

Customer Carewords is a hugely powerful tool in predicting the true behavior of your customers when they come to your website.

So now that we have told you some of the secrets of Customer Carewords, why shouldn't you go off and do it by yourself? You certainly can, and you will probably get pretty good results. But if you engage us, here's what you'll also get:
  • The credibility of having the company that developed Customer Carewords to carry out the poll. This will often help you sell the results better to other interested parties within your organization, and more importantly to initiate change within your organization based on the results.
  • Access to our word databases. Over the years, we have built up a range of careword databases and the average votes these words have received. For example, we have an extensive database of the most popular tasks within intranets, universities and government environments. This is very useful to ensure that your final list is not missing vital tasks.
  • Our experience: We have done Customer Carewords implementations hundreds of times. We have developed special techniques in getting to the final list. The words that your customers are asked to vote on need to be clear and unambiguous. For example, in one early intranet test we were surprised that the word "Accessibility" was getting such a large vote. Accessibility is normally understood to refer to access to the intranet for people who have certain disabilities. However, what we found on examination was that many staff were voting for it because they wanted remote access to the intranet.

How Customer Carewords works
Pricing and deliverables
The Long Neck explained
Task Management explained
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Increasing employee productivity in a networked world

Jared Spool of User Interface Engineering interviews Gerry McGovern about Task Management


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