Many businesses use Groupon or other daily deal sites in the hopes of getting new customers in the door and in turn, hopefully many repeat customers. While this may be the most often cited reason merchants use Groupon, I’d suggest a better reason.
In the past, Groupon was useful only for a steady flow of new clients. It certainly wasn’t increased income to the merchant because, in the past, Groupon would require a steep discount of their merchant’s services and then take a good chunk of the revenue. With increased competition from other deal sites, Groupon has adjusted their policies and no longer requires as large a discount or as large a portion of the revenue. While the net revenue at least covers the merchant’s costs, it’s still not a huge revenue boost. But it was never supposed to be about increased profit margins – it was about new customers. And maybe they would return for non-discounted services in the future? I’m not so sure.
That being said, I think Groupon serves a very important benefit to the merchant that I’ve never heard anyone speak of before. It improves your front office processes and streamlines your customer service. Because of the onslaught of patients calling and coming in for whatever discounted services you’re providing, it requires the merchant to become more efficient to meet the customers needs and avoid bad reviews.
For example in my practice, we have improved our scheduling via online booking so that patients don’t have to rely on just calling for an appointment. This frees up our front office staff to help the clients in our office waiting (but not for long!) for treatment. The staff members know what their jobs entail and how to fill in the gaps and cross cover one another. This makes us a well-oiled machine that can handle any level of patient flow.
As with any set of customers, there’s always a few difficult ones. With the large volume of patients that we see, this gives us the opportunity to work with clients that may need a little more attention or hand holding. And there’s no better way to improve your customer service with difficult clients than by working with a few more of them…up to a point!
If you’re a merchant, what have you done to improve your front office processes?