The next time you buy a couch, a car or a caffelatte, you can tell management what you think of the service with a stroke of your iPhone.
The Tello app lets you give a quick thumbs up or thumbs down and add comments on the fly as well as share your service woes or whoahs via Twitter and Facebook.
It runs on the iPhone, iPad and there’s a mobile version, too. Tello’s interface is clean, simple and has a database of 14 million businesses and if it can’t find your bodega, you can easily add it.
CEO Joe Beninato, whose somewhat boyish demeanor belies his experience in a host of startups, says that so far about 85% of the reviews people submit are positive ones.
That’s why he thinks Tello will trump apps like Gripe, which, as the name suggests, are mostly about complaining.
Tello is gratis to users, sparking the million dollar startup question: how will Tello make money?
Simple. They’re banking on the fact that companies – especially large corporations – will want to pay for access to customer reviews and the chance to respond directly to customers through the app.
The money equation is where similar customer rating start-ups like Yelp have gotten into trouble over complaints from small businesses that they are extorting owners for advertising in exchange for reviews.
With Tello, users get no advertising and companies pay for the data.
I wasn’t sure how many companies would pay for this feedback, until Beninato told me that, like most people, I ignore the constant pleas for 1-800-how’s-my-driving-type feedback.
“Just wait, now you’ll start seeing the requests everywhere” he predicted.
Then I started noticing that these requests for feedback are more or less constant – the Walgreen’s receipt begging you to call an 800-number and rate the store or Old Navy offering 10% discount if you go online and complete a survey.
But who ever bothers? Not me. After living in Italy — where customer service is a concept like “punctuality” that few subscribe to – I like the idea of Tello, though I’m less keen to use my real name to rate the businesses like users are encouraged to do.
The exception? Maybe for big-ticket purchases – a couch, a car – where I’ve already given over credit card info anyway.
Beninato’s own recent odyssey to buy a Chevy Volt (the electric model proving more elusive than a heaping plate of carbs during fashion week) makes his point.
His 372 thumbs-down review of a dealership that lured him in just to tell him that they couldn’t find the keys is downright comical while a succinct 87-words of praise for the Chevy dealership that sold him the car would get another Bay Area volt buyer sent in the right direction.
What do you think: are likes and gripes on-the-go something you’re interested in?