Is Groupon destroying the customer experience?

Posted by Tim Chalklen on 18 January 2016

I've been a fan of Groupon from the start, through its rise, near-fall and steadying of the ship and was also an advocate of the (sadly no longer) Amazon Local concept. The opportunity to try out experiences that potentially I wouldn't take a risk on at full price has introduced me to a number of hotels, adventure days out and restaurants that I will definitely return to.

My wife and I recently visited a local restaurant on the back of a Groupon deal. Naturally, I had checked out the place via people I have never met before in my life and trusted totally in their opinions and ratings, because that's the world we now live in.... all looked good although some dated comments weren't favourable regarding the service. However, the food was apparently excellent and unique in the local area.

Sadly, the whole experience was not up to scratch. The food was distinctly average, the place was looking a bit dated and the service was pleasant but certainly wouldn't get a 5 star rating from me. It go me thinking that maybe, when a customer walks through the door grasping their voucher in sweaty palms, the proprietor / owner / organiser of the venue you have graced by spending significantly less then regards you as perhaps of less value than one prepared to pay full price?

In a similar vein, when I tried to take up another offer recently it seemed as if the only available dates were months away - I now wish I had tried some A/B testing to see if I tried to book without a Groupon code then maybe I would have been offered earlier dates? My wife also had a bit of a set to with another establishment booked through Amazon Local last year which, to their credit, Amazon sorted out but the people dealing with her at the venue delivered a really poor customer service and experience.

What do you think? Is this just a one-off because of the particular restaurant? I have noticed on Trip Advisor that a lot of the negative comments are from people who reference use of a Groupon voucher. Or is it just that we are all cheapskates and demand too much for the little money we are prepared to spend?


Tim Chalklen

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