Lessons from Groupon

Dave Business, Cracked Up (Blog), Opinions Leave a Comment

I know what you’re thinking: “Groupon??!! What does this have to do with your subject matter?”

Well, our family has been known to make use of services like Groupon and Living Social on occassion. If you’re unaware of these sites, in the most simple terms, they’re a new class of business leveraging the Internet to facilitate a service called “collective buying” (CB).

Usually, companies who use collective buying services to attract new customers by offering goods or services at deep discounts. The catch is that the consumer needs to pre-pay for the good or service to “opt in” to the deal.

It seems as though it’d be a win-win for a local vendor: they get a whole bunch of new customers and still get a “cut” of the revenue… if they set it up properly and then follow-through.

Customers are a Nuissance

My impression is that these organizations don’t have any problem in the “attracting new customers” department. But they DO seem to have a problem with the implied second part of the transaction: convincing that new customer to return.

It’s not indicative of ALL businesses we’ve visited as a result of purchasing these deals, but, once we present the printout of the deal, the level of customer service seems to decline dramatically. Any friendliness disappears, speed of service declines and any question or request seem to be viewed as an annoyance.

I’d have thought that a business would want to use this opportunity to pull out a welcome mat and acquaint a new customer to the store, the staff and the goods & services. The business has someone who probably would have never been at their establishement in the first place and has no idea whether there’s any value to be had besides the deal in their hand. A perfect opportunity to pull out some stops and impress!

Sadly no… Perhaps there’s a consulting opportunity here. But I digress

Back to Some Sort of Point

I’m in the midst of launching a local campaign that includes a “deal” for my rates – all intended to attract new customers.

Yes, I’m quite aware the I’ll most likely be making very slim margins on my work, but the purpose of such a campaign is not to make money, but expand the rolodex. I fully intend to do as I would do with existing clients … and then some. Compared to getting new customers, convincing one who’s happy to return is easy.

You’d think this kind of stuff would be “101” or common sense when running a business, but seems as though common  sense is not really that common…

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