Two terrific ideas that will help customers, and maybe, you

Ideas for new businesses are a dime a dozen, but here are two that crossed my desk in the last week that deserve some attention.

They could help customers everywhere — and if you’re an entrepreneur, maybe they could help you make a little money.

If I had the bandwidth, I’d be writing a business plan now. But if you agree with me, and you want to take one of these concepts to the next level, please let me know.

Merger medics. I’ve been following the mash-up of United Airlines and Continental Airlines on my travel blog, and someone asked me how employees are handling the combination of these two businesses.

I made some inquiries. Many staffing changes haven’t been announced, and I get the sense that a lot of folks at both airlines are on pins and needles. There’s little doubt some people will be terminated because they are redundant.

What if there were a company — call it “merger medics” — that specializes in corporate hook-ups, not so much from an employee point of view (although that’s important) but from a customer perspective? Ensuring all the phone numbers get forwarded to the right place and your bills are mailed with the correct return address, but most importantly, someone who can see the big picture on a merger and identify the customer pain points?

Such a company does not exist as far as I can tell. Maybe it should.

Rate the ratings sites. There are countless sites that rate businesses, like TripAdvisor for hotel guests. And it goes the other way too.

Related story:   When airlines go above and beyond

But one insightful reader, whose business happens to be the victim of an online smear campaign, wondered why there can’t be a site that rates the rating sites. How? By applying an objective set of criteria, like transparency, the ability for a business to rebut a review and quality control. That way, we could know if a review site is on the up-and-up.

I like these ideas a lot. Anyone care to take one of these to the next level?

(Photo: Unstable Pixel/Flickr Creative Commons)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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