Groupon CEO Andrew Mason Sorry For Osechi Snafu: "We Really Messed Up"

Andrew Mason, founder and CEO of social commerce sensation Groupon, has apologized to Japanese customers in a video today. If you’ve been following Groupon with eagle eyes, like we have, you’ll know that this is in relation to a New Year’s deal that went horribly wrong.

Mason is renowned for his great sense of humor, but in this video he shows his serious side.

In a message to Groupon’s Japanese customers, spoken in English but subtitled in Japanese, Mason acknowledges that the company had “really messed up” the deal in question and outlined steps it was taking to rebuild its image in Japan, and beyond.

Mason says they’d successfully featured the food delivery business of Bird Café in the past, but that the Japanese restaurant was unable to process the volume of orders for a New Year’s deal after Groupon sold 500 coupons for an “osechi” meal. Many dishes were delivered too late, while others were in “terrible condition”, Mason acknowledges.

Kenji Mizuguchi, the president of Bird Café, stepped down a few weeks ago as a result of the widely-publicized snafu, while Groupon reimbursed customers, apologized for the mishap and handed out vouchers to restore its image.

In the video, embedded below, the founder of Groupon goes on to say that the company will not let mistakes like this happen in the future.

Groupon has started educating its customers on ‘capacity planning’ to avoid problems like these to occur in all new countries it operates in, he adds.

Missteps like this of course highlight the difficulties Groupon faces, and will face in the future, as it tries to manage its rapid global expansion.

On a sidenote: if you’re a business owner, please take a look at this video and learn a lesson or two on how to genuinely apologize to customers when you screw up – and you will, repeatedly. It’s invaluable. Sorry if I seem like a Mason fanboy, but he just gets it right a lot.

(Via Hacker News)