The best place to acquire ideas for the improvement of a company system would be from the employees themselves - after all, they're the ones who are affected by the workings of the company or business on a regular basis, and they are bound to have an idea or two to make things better.
The problem is, many employees may not be inclined to offer their suggestions - it may be because they're intimidated to offer their opinions, or maybe they feel that there isn't really a viable venue for them to air out their concerns and their suggestions. Whatever the reasons may be there are ways to overcome employee hesitation to give their suggestions. These options could include setting up wooden boxes at the office entrance or at commonly frequented areas, such as a spot near the water dispenser; and leaving suggestion cards at each employees' workstation which they can fill out during their spare time. If you're interested in acquiring suggestions from customers, you could set up suggestion boxes along with other table top displays, display fixtures and brochure holders; you could also set up suggestion boxes near the most frequented areas of your business establishment: near lyrics sheets (if you run a music store) clothing racks (for a clothing store), or near donation boxes, for example.
A more high-tech way of obtaining suggestions from your employees or from customers would be through different suggestion box software. If your employees' computers were connected via intranet or Internet, they would be able to put in their suggestions in a shared location. Here are some specific software available:
- IdeaBox is a free downloadable software easy to install and to use. Through this software, anybody who has been given access will be able to write down his opinions about any posted topic. There are also features wherein the administrator could use color-coding, so that the users would be able to better understand the postings and messages. Though this is free software, you could choose to have it modified to your preferences and needs for $20 (for every hour the programmer works on the modifications). Check out the website at ideabox.phpoutsourcing.com for more details.
- Intranet Connections offers yet another software suggestion option for your business needs. It enables unlimited users to access the program. Other features include full text searching, content archiving (for a more organized suggestion box), and a minimal administration required. Also, there are options to isolate sensitive data and assign users who could view them. Package costs at $7,500. Visit its website at intranetconnections.com.
- IdeaScale.com boasts of wide variety of big-name customers, including Microsoft, Mozilla Foundation and Choice Hotels International. Its features include unlimited user capabilities, unlimited number of ideas and suggestions that could be given, and no HTML required. You could choose from the available software: online suggestion box, employee suggestion box, customer suggestion box and virtual suggestion box. You could download this software for free; for limited fees, (Basic at $15 a month; and Corporate for $99 a month) you would be able to take advantage of additional features such as survey and poll integration (with templates you can customize), file upload capabilities, and a custom URL for your company.
That's it! Getting a suggestion software may just be the most convenient and cost-effective thing you could do for the improvement of your business. So try out this option now - you never know, the next brilliant idea your company has ever seen might just come from Mr. Cooper assigned at the mailroom. Good luck!