For example I have an idea to serve customer request which lets businesses handle a greater variety of customers or an idea which helps customers achieve what they want easier and in a shorter time. Can these ideas be patented?
There are several characteristics that a patent office will look at to determine whether the invention is patentable. These are:
It should also have a patentable subject matter. You can search your innovation in the existing patent (Google Patent Search or http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/index.html/) list. If there is no existing patent as per you idea then yes it is patentable. But it must pass all predefined test to get patent.