SuggestionBox: A Feedback System That Doesn't Feel Pointless

The premise is simple: Many customers have tried leaving criticism for their favorite companies, but after slipping a piece of paper into the void known as the suggestion box, they never know if anyone even bothered to read it.

SuggestionBox is trying to solve this problem. Their site, which launches today in beta, offers a replacement for the standard feedback form many of us have become accustomed to ignoring. In lieu of this, SuggestionBox has designed a full-featured suggestion management system that should make the process faster and more rewarding for companies and their patrons alike.

After creating an account, users can submit suggestions to each participating company’s SuggestionBox. Members can keep track of the progress of each of their suggestions, as they each have status messages that are controlled by the relevant company indicating if a suggestion is under review, being implemented, or has been ruled out. And each suggestion submitted can also be rated by other members to give companies an idea of which ideas are urgent, and which are simply nitpicks.

The skeptic in me says that while the idea is nice on paper, many companies are going to balk at the idea of investing time and manpower into individually addressing suggestions left by their customers. The software does allow for categorized suggestions that can be dealt with in mass, but everything needs to be manually sorted initially- there’s nothing automatic. And even if a company takes the time to set up an account, I wouldn’t be surprised if the vast majority of suggestions wind up “under review” for eternity.

But despite my concerns, I think SuggestionBox has a chance. If just one large company does implement the system, and the response is as positive as SuggestionBox is hoping, then this kind of software could quickly become a staple in retail and service industries. Many consumers apreciate even trivial gestures of good faith from businesses (some large retailers require managers to call customers that have reported bad service for this very reason).

SuggestionBox is based in San Diego, and is privately funded. It faces competiton from UserVoice, Get Satisfaction, and a number of other customer service focused startups.