Groupon has high customer service standards, as we’ve seen in many cases, and this is another example of holding true to those standards. The Capitol Hill Seattle Blog reports a story of Groupon taking total control of a restaurant deal, by completely cutting it off.
In 2010, Adam Freeman of the Thomas Street Bistro in Capitol Hill, WA, decided to “sell out” as he describes it. He was tired of trying to build a customer base and get new customers to visit his little eatery, so he decided to run a deal on Groupon as soon as the site came to Seattle. Freeman says the deal offers came flooding in after he ran the Groupon deal.
“We have the most daily deals in the city,” Freeman said. “You start with Groupon. And then LivingSocial came. ‘Why don’t you run?’ And then Tippr. They just follow each other.” There had been at least 10 Thomas Street Bistro deals in the past year and a half, with some of them selling more than 1,000 vouchers. Seems like a good deal, right? Then why did Groupon pull the plug on the deals sold on their site?
Freeman wouldn’t have known that Groupon canceled the deal if not for a Groupon holder named Daniel, who called the restaurant after receiving this email:
Freeman says that hundreds of inquiries have come in since he received that first call with Groupon voucher holders wondering what was going on with the restaurant. He says that he has “No idea” why Groupon is refunding his business’ deals, but he says he plans on honoring the voucher.
“80% of our customers use their Groupons in the last two weeks [before expiration],” Freeman said. “We are going to honor them.” The fact that his business has already been paid by Groupon doesn’t hurt.
At the time of original publication, Freeman said that Groupon didn’t contact him about any issues surrounding the voucher, complaints about service or the situation in general. After an inquiry to Groupon, Capitol Hill Seattle found out that it was a service issue – a big one.
A Groupon representative told CHS that the deal was canceled because of customer complaints about service and quality at Thomas Street Bistro; enough to make Groupon intervene. The rep said that Groupon made numerous efforts to contact the business about the situation including being willing to work with Freeman to improve the experience at the bistro, but says her inquiries went unanswered.
Freeman says he’s aware that that his restaurant is “absurdly active” with coupon and discount offers, but he did it because it’s difficult to get new traffic in his doors; but there may be other factors in the situation.
Outside of his restaurant business, Freeman partnered on the launch of Pricemobster, an independent group-buying website, but claims that Thomas Street bistro isn’t involved in any of those daily deals.
The reviews on Yelp for Thomas Street are mostly negative to say the least, with the first 10 that I read, being quite scathing when it comes to service, food selection and quality. Freeman says “there is some positive that came out of it; there are also a lot of negatives.”
“I think we achieved what we wanted,” he continues. “We achieved enough return business from those daily deals. We think what is best now is to go back to being a small neighborhood business.”
When it comes to Pricemobster, there was a deal on February 2nd, for “Thomas Street Crepery”. Seems a little suspicious… At least Groupon sticks to their word when it comes to customer service standards!
Source: Capitol Hill Seattle Blog