To combat the lack of transparency around customer satisfaction with daily deals, Groupon today launched a new version of its Merchant Center. It includes the real-time percentage of deal customers who would recommend the business to a friend, plus their comments. Customer satisfaction is a big question for merchants wondering if they should start or continue running daily deals. Data on satisfaction rates is scarce, though. Worse, a 2010 study showed that just 36% of customers spend more than the value of a deal, and just 20% return to the business. The feature could be a double-edged sword, encouraging retention or desertion depending on a merchant’s feedback.
The new Merchant Center is now available to all Groupon merchants. It also includes the deal statistics feature launched last month which shows aggregate buyer demographics including zip code, gender, and age.
The customer feedback system may not be totally accurate, though. To calculate the satisfaction rates, Groupon surveys users immediately after they redeem a deal. So far, only 1 million customers have left feedback, so merchants won’t always have a representative sample. The comments may also be highly polarized, with only those who truly love or hate a deal taking the time to respond in words.
Considering chronic gripes about fine print deal term, and employee dissatisfaction than can influence the customer experience, the new feedback stats are a gamble for Groupon. Previously, merchants may have assumed customers were happy since they were getting a big discount. Positive review may also have less influence on a merchant’s decision to stick with Groupon than whether it’s actually helping their business. Meanwhile, a poor recommendation rating or an especially pissed off commenter could lead them to ditch the daily deals service.