NO TIME FOR CUSTOMERS? Conduct a Task Audit

Customer Value Foundation

I discuss the importance of Customers, Customer Value and Creating Value with CEO’s and CXO’s of companies of all sizes. We discuss how increasing Customer Value leads to increased profits. Many CXO’s end the conversation saying, “What you are suggesting is important and certainly the Customer is crucial for us. However, we have too many other programs in place…” The Customer priority is generally low in these companies.

At first, I used to be mystified that the Customer was not that important to these companies, and that they had no time for the Customer. So, I asked myself, what is more important? What tasks are they carrying out that are more significant? I then started to work with companies on a Task Audit (and these included India’s largest companies). We looked at:

Necessary and Relevant work for the Customer

Necessary and Irrelevant work

Unnecessary and Relevant work

Unnecessary and Irrelevant work


AS DEFINITIONS, Necessary work is essential for, vital to, indispensable to,important to, crucial to, needed by, compulsory required by or requisite for the Customer

Relevant work is pertinent to, applicable or germane to, or appropriate to the Customer. This is work that can be eliminated without deterioration of present service or product

What work is the Customer willing to pay for? That would be termed as Necessary and Relevant.

We conducted research on tasks done by executives through questionnaires. Half of the executives answered the questions themselves and the other half with the researchers. Not surprising, the ones who answered the questions themselves found that 70% of their work was useful (either necessary or relevant to the Customer). The executives who filled the questions with the help of researchers found only 50% of their work was useful. The rest was useless (this makes sense, because people have difficulty in admitting that what they do is useless)

Examples of useless tasks are redoing reports, unnecessary meetings, waiting for meetings to start and most important of all, reading useless emails. If you spend two hours on emails at least 30 minutes plus are useless. And if you are a department of 16 people you are losing one man day on useless emails. Start thinking of this and eliminate useless work and start useful work for the Customer.

In The Times of India, March 8, 2013, there is an article called “E-fatigue setting in? Firms may kill emails”

Mckinsey is quoted as saying employees spend 28% of their time reading, sorting and sending emails every day.

CXO’s, you have a choice of hiding behind the excuse of not having time, or doing something about it and in helping Customers get more Value. Act now!

Gautam Mahajan


Contact Customer Value Foundation for help


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