A few months ago, we ran a horror story from a customer of the daily deal companies (specifically, Living Social).
The customer, who runs a restaurant, had developed his theory about these companies the hard way–by trying them.
What he concluded was that the daily-deal companies did not attract people who might become regular customers–the big selling point of the services.
Rather, they attracted people who make living and eating on the latest daily deal a way of life.
In the weeks and months after his deal ran on Living Social, these people came to his restaurant and demanded that he redeem their coupons. They were often rude. They ate and left, never to return.
Obviously, the restaurateur’s experience is not universal: Groupon just reported solid first-quarter results and has an impressive customer-retention rate. But the restaurateur’s description of his daily-deal experience is worth reading, if only as a reminder of some of the issues the daily-deal companies have to solve if they’re going to revolutionise local commerce.
But today we got a happy note from the restaurateur!
Because today was the day his Living Social coupons finally expired:
One last follow-up to my saga…
At midnight, my heart was filled with joy. My soul revived. I was half Mel Gibson in Braveheart screaming “Freedommm!” and half Bill Pullman in Independence Day who’s defeated the aliens bent on sucking the life out of earth before moving onto the next planet in their destructive path. And, perhaps, even a smattering of Gerald Ford with “our long national nightmare is over.”
What happened at midnight?
The Living Social coupons of my “customers” had finally expired. No longer would I be at the beck and call of this mass, this rapacious beast, whose sole desire is to get what it can get at the lowest price without any intention ever of creating a lasting relationship. And, who expects me to shower them with praise for having had the pleasure of serving them. “Thank you, sir, may I have another.”
I can now go about my business of doing everything I can possibly do to maintain my current, terrific, awesome customers and woo new, terrific, awesome customers without having to waste time and effort and emotion on this miserable, feckless, disastrous “customer” group.
Read the merchants earlier horror stories here >