Got a great idea for your favorite business? A startup called 9th Dot has created an app where you can share that idea, with potential rewards if your idea actually gets used.
There are plenty of other options for businesses that want to collect customer suggestions. Many of them take the form of crowdsourced “idea” sites like My Starbucks Idea, where users can submit and vote on different ideas.
However, 9th Dot co-founder Jeff Spurlock suggested that those sites aren’t very convenient for most consumers — you might have a great idea when you’re in the store, then forget about it by the time you’re back at your computer. And for most stores, you probably don’t even know what the idea website is. Or you might get a feedback code or link, but who knows if you’ll actually see and respond to it.
With 9th Dot, the goal was to create, a “very simple and very consistent” experience every time a customer has “an ah-ha moment,” Spurlock said. So whenever you think of a way a business could do better, regardless of who the business is, you can open up the 9th Dot app, find them, enter your idea, and hit “submit”. You can also review all of your ideas and check their status — if one of them is actually adopted, you’ll get a reward, with the level of the reward determined by how broadly the idea is implemented.
Spurlock acknowledged that many of these businesses want to control their own user communities, rather than sending them to a third-party app. However, he said that in order for this to work, “We really need [consumers] to associate this with an external brand.”
He added that there’s another benefit for businesses to 9th Dot’s approach: If you have a public community where customers vote, you create a potentially awkward situation if the most popular suggestion just isn’t feasible for one reason or another. You might make everyone feel like they’re not being listened to. 9th Dot’s more “closed” strategy gives the businesses more control over the process (and the perception thereof), while still making sure users get transparency into whether their ideas are being adopted, and rewarding those users when they are.
And just to be clear, the businesses listed in 9th Dot don’t have a relationship with the startup yet. Instead, Spurlock said the idea is to get a “critical mass” of consumers making suggestions and then bring the businesses on-board.
You can download the iPhone app here.