How local businesses using Groupon are attracting bad reviews?

Businesses using Groupon are attracting fair share of bad reviews along with the customer traffic to their business. The easy come easy go groupon effect has left businesses wondering about the long term usage of groupon and other daily deals sites. Advertising coupons and giving out small coupons to bring returning customers is one thing, but using coupons as the business model for your business is the road to crash course in brain surgery (it is almost a thumb rule in business).

These are some of the papers already published discussing the relationship between online reviews and reviewers who were using daily deal sites like Yelp. Below are sample points from the study

Here are some of the key points from the study

1) Good news! The reviews are real. Most of the people who say the word "Groupon" in their reviews seem to be pissed about their experience.
2) Most businesses get business through Groupon by using attractive coupons that promise the world to the customers for a super low price. Of course, the shiny ads attracted customers, but I think the customers world wasn't as pretty once  they saw what was on the other side of the coupon.
3) It shows how the U.S small business economy responded by  trying to attract customers at any cost. That cost proved to be decrease in customer experience. 
4) Customer acquisition is good for business. But to maintain a healthy competition and a healthy online space, is it good to go to any lengths to get extra customers?

Is your business attracting new customers using groupon? Have you heard of customer retention? Do you know that if you retain all your customers you will always have customers and the cost of acquiring new customers is always high (at least in the long term after Groupon Wave passes)? As opposed to "seasonal" or "pay for hits" marketing,  it is always important to have permanent online assets which will bring you customers in the long run. Such a online building takes time, lot of effort and strategy which sometimes need professional help. KeepCustomer is one such customer retention company that will take care of your entire online strategy and put you in control for permanent success.

Notes: the graph and ideas came from this blog

How local businesses in United States can improve economy using customer retention

It might seem to be a overstatement to say we can fix a problem as big as ECONOMY ourselves. Thankfully, we really can. Online has made it possible for businesses to gather an audience like never before. If you grow tomatoes in your backyard and want to make substantial profits in return of your sweat, then you can do it using a online store front and use Google Local Plus for small business to advertise and quickly get some kind of traffic to your business. Isn't it?

Now imagine a scenario where we go back to the board and start doing what really made United States a great nation to start with? What is that? WE ARE A SMALL BUSINESS NATION--doing business, causing inventions, and creating a dynamic cash flow in the market are our strengths. So why are we doing less of it? Instead of pointing out how tough it it is to start and grow business, why don't a majority of us start doing it again? 

Now what has customer retention to do with it? EVERYTHING. The main reason local businesses will go out of business is because a cheaper and better product is launched and it takes away the majority of the market share. If businesses fail and give up, then all the cash flow goes to one business and competition becomes less (not only because businesses fail but because the way other businesses perceive the industry as a result). So how to get around this? By having realistic models and creating a market place where we have large number of businesses fighting for the market share. Once consumers get used to best quality at the best price, businesses will be forced to provide the best products and services at similar prices. Such an ecosystem will create localized markets where businesses will start serving to a 'loyal group' of customers. That really means we will be forced to make our customers happy and retain all the customers (is that bad?).

How can we grow more you ask? Isn't this scheme against the spirit of capitalism? Answer is NO. The above scheme is ideal scenario. Competition will exist and only the best will survive--but in larger numbers in this case.

KeepCustomer's mission is to help small businesses to grow using the power of Internet--more importantly to make keepcustomer available for all kinds of businesses at a price that doesn't cost them their business.

Do you take reviews for your business seriously? Google says you should

Keepcustomer helps businesses to collect feedback from customers. If the customers decide to post their experience online, then the feedbacks are called online reviews.

Many business owners simply do not care about customer reviews and ratings online. Consumers looking for local businesses want to read customer reviews and opinions. Many businesses have been existing for years and have thousands of new and returning customers. Owners of such businesses do not care about few bad reviews written online. In fact they even feel that Internet is a threat to their business. The simple fact is that customers voice their opinions online, which in turn helps other consumers to take decisions when they are searching online. It creates good competition and gives customers the advantage. Is that not good? You might say NO if you are a business owner whose business is losing customers because of negative publicity online.

Why should you care? If you are running a business, you want to improve. How do you improve? Your customers are the best place to look since they can tell you about the business experience more than anybody else. So as a business owner you should care about online reviews just to improve your business.

 Among the 97% of consumers who are looking for local businesses, how many of them are looking at online reviews? Any guesses?

Why is KeepCustomer #1 product on the Internet for Small Business Marketing?

Selecting an Online marketing company can be tricky. It can be really good for your business and can hurt your business if you fall into marketing tactics of companies. So how exactly can you make sure that you are hiring the right firm for your business?
  1. What differentiates you from thousands of other companies? Corporate firms can be trusted more? can't they?
  2.  Do you delete my work in case I am not happy with the campaign for some reason?
  3.  Do you have a team of experts who can handle everything (it is important these days, because your costs can rocket sky high if we start hiring different firms for all the small tasks). Ask to speak for a person who knows insides of the subject matter.
  4. What are immediate and long term goals that I can set for my business?
  5. Can you maintain my online assets forever so that I can free yourself of online marketing and concentrate on your business.
  6. Are you affordable and still provide everything I need as a business owner?
Those are some of the questions which must be asked before hiring a online marketing company for a long term and it will avoid you the pain of going through different companies and avoid bad services that might harm you instead of helping your business on the Internet.

Apart from that, you might want to ask yourself can you take out 10 minutes in a month and Google yourself to see if you look healthy on the Internet?

Proudly serving all of the America now (the list of directories where we create and update your information increases by 1 listing/day at keepcustomer. We can measure it and provide you full report of that) (** sometimes updates on the listings are counted as new listings for the day).

Google plus profiles offer more insight into customer reviews in Google plus local

How is that possible? Google plus streams give away a lot about customers. Including customers in circles can help businesses keep in touch with their customers. So businesses can now analyze the streams of their customers and see what they are up to. I do not mean that businesses should stalk their customers, but the stream can be used to increase word of mouth for their business since customer might share their experiences on Google plus.

Essentially, just like twitter, businesses can be in front of their customers through Google Plus. Google also lets you mark the location of the posts made, which makes the content more relevant for local searches. Al thought it may be seem boring, a good trail of conversations about your local business can lead to more exposure locally (appearing in search results).

Foursquare allows you to check-in in real time. Google plus stream can be a type of check-in. More and more people using plus will start posting information in real time, which will make their reviews of a business appear in their streams.

It is also very clear since last few months that websites and local profiles with more likes and recommendations are appearing more and more in the search results. Every business should take advantage of this. Even artists, politicians etc can take advantage of this to reach more people.

Enough about it, is your business actively promoting customers to post on Google?

Your brand and Customer retention

What exactly is a brand? We know what it means for Coca Cola, but what about your local business? What does brand mean for small businesses and how can you take advantage of it?

Branding is not about how your website looks, or a name. People really know you because of what you provide--the experience for your customer. An amazing product establishes brand in customers minds. For e.g. a restaurant can be known for really fast service--the fast service is the brand of the restaurant--that is how people remember you the most. Such a distinction is important for every business and that is what keeps the customers coming back.

Creation of brand on the Internet can be tricky, because you are trying to target customers for search terms. It is still important to own your brand and rank on Google for your brand. If you start coming up on the search results for 'your-brand' searches, then pretty soon you will start ranking for other searches too--the more ways people find you--the more you show up in search results.

An important part of branding involves engaging customers. So we can start by looking are people talking about us? Conversations about brands are ranked very high by Google and Google Plus Local too.
Create conversation and get them to talk about your brand.

In the end, the word will get around and taking the pain to create a brand for your business will pay off.

What kind of practices do you use to create brand for your company?

How to get word of mouth from customers? Customer touch points

Every business has to collect feedback from their customers. It is the easiest and fastest way to retain your customers. Internet has made it easy for businesses to do that because most of the people use email and it is easy to ask your customers "how was your experience?". Businesses can even ask their customers to post their experiences online. It establishes confidence among customers and customer feedback becomes word of mouth for your business. Customer interact with your business at various touch points (paper ads, website ads, search engines, industry specific sites, blogs), you can make sure you get the customers who are using these channels. So how exactly can we get word of mouth?

  1. Excellent customer service: do not forget the customer after getting the sale. Treat them equally important and deliver what you promised at the beginning of the sale. A happy customer will give your business positive promotion.
  2. Get in touch with them and ask them about their experience. 
  3. Handle customer complaints in a systematic manner and show the customers how valuable their business is.
  4. Post comment cards at the business location and ask customer to share their experience (even a comment on ambiance is valuable and will make permanent impression on the customers).
  5. Use a customer retention company like KeepCustomer to use tools for gathering and promoting customer experiences online (just promoting ourselves :)
  6. Above all, provide top quality service and show passion and knowledge of what you are offering, many customers will appreciate and remember that.           
         Any more thoughts and suggestions?