Earlier today, I had to take care of an errand in a Civil Service. I got there only to be informed that my request can only be handled on a Wednesday. I could however, according to the information desk, give it a go doing it today anyway. They refer me to the relevant office and the issue is indeed resolved – quite unexpectedly – in a matter of minutes. I thank them and leave somewhat surprised that the elaborate plans and excuses I usually need to get things done in such cases – and had prepared – were unnecessary. All done quick and easy.
And that got me thinking… Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Thank You service for cases like mine today? I would like to be able to send, e.g. an sms with the name of the helpful employee, the particular department they are working for and a brief message sending them some good karma. That sms would arrive at the service’s headquarters and the message could then be delivered to its recipient with any means available. It could be as simple as an email or a snail mail to the relevant service addressed to the individual employee or even an operator phoning in the service and asking to thank that person for me. At the same time the message could also be posted on a public forum where ‘fame’ can be accumulated for persons or departments that way providing a (very popular as of lately) incentive for people to be polite and helpful. And obviously this scheme can be extended in countries other than Greece (whose bureaucracy is not as bad as it used to be) as well as in the wilderness of the private sector.
Someone might argue of course that there’s no need to wait until after you’ve left – you can make a compliment there and then. That’s obviously a valid point but I think some people will still just want to rush off or will be too ashamed or distracted at that point to actually go off on a thank you speech. I know I’m a bit like all these things from time to time. Besides, taking the time to do something even as simple as sending an sms after say an hour adds weight to the gesture. At the end of the day, however, it’s a matter of how you prefer to express yourself.
It also might turn out to be funny in the beginning but boring after you’ve done it a couple of times. That’s understandable however its ‘reality-show’/public aspect and the fact that it’s a bit similar to a game may as well make it highly addictive. That addiction factor combined with the fact that generally people spend time and money on their mobiles indicates perhaps a possible widespread adoption.
Of course, people may also try to abuse the service in a number of ways: attempting to bribe, sending messages… opposite than ‘thank you’, making bad names for people who don’t really deserve it, self-promoting oneself etc but there are counterarguments for most of these things. Bribery is hard when you only have words (and when these words will become public), rude or aggresive messages can be filtered out or allowed in as simply a ‘negative vote’ (also useful in determining one’s performance), undeserving (either negative or positive) comments will get ‘buried’ after some time and self-promotion can be prevented to some extent by registering users.
And as for viability, the easiest way to gain revenue from something like that would be by charging a commission from the sms’s sent. Advertising on the public forum is also another obvious source. What do you think – could this service form the basis of an interesting, feasible and/or sustainable company? Do you know of an existing implementation of a similar idea?tags: idea
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