We&Co is a new iPhone app that is designed to connect patrons with the people that work at the businesses they visit. The app [iTunes link] is designed to let users give thanks to their favorite service professionals. So when I check in at my favorite neighborhood steampunk bar, I can make sure I give my favorite bar tender Sara, or the owner Anders, a big thank you for being awesome.
In turn, businesses can then reward frequent customers and users with special perks or discounts. Businesses can also opt to give frequent visitors a special “regulars” designation that entitles them to discounts and offers.
As more businesses and service people in your area get thanked, you can browse through the app to find those with the best reputations and the most thanks. You can also see how people you know have rated various employees or service individuals.
We&Co also has features for businesses, including letting them add employees to the system and designate the most-thanked person as “the boss.” Businesses can also choose what to offer “Regulars” as incentives or perks for being frequent guests.
The app is well designed, and the idea of connecting small businesses with their patrons, using the power of location-based networks has a lot of promise. Still, if you wonder how this differs from a service such as Yelp, you aren’t alone.
The biggest differentiator between We&Co and Yelp, or even Foursquare, is that rather than rating a restaurant or stylist, you’re rating the person behind the counter and only highlighting the times you get excellent customer service. We&Co thank yous can be syndicated back to Facebook or Twitter. While it looks like We&Co is using Foursquare’s location API, the app currently doesn’t let you check in using Foursquare. Having that ability would greatly drive utility for the app and also work well with small businesses that already have Foursquare promotions.