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Friday, February 24, 2012

Mystery Partially Solved: Why Are Groupon Customers More Critical on Yelp?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 8:29 AM

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Back in September, SFoodie reported on a study that found that merchants who offered a Groupon or Living Social deal saw a bump in the number of Yelp reviews but a decrease in the ratings those Yelpers gave them. What could be the cause? The study's authors speculated that daily deals could be reaching new customers who were less likely to enjoy what they found. 


This week, a San Francisco data-analysis firm has come up with another theory: Daily-deal users may be receiving crappier service.

Copilot, a service that helps retailers track the success of their online promotions, analyzed 736 Yelp reviews (of 75 restaurants) that mentioned the Yelper using a daily deal. Deal-users doled out ratings that were an average of one-half star lower than the restaurants' average ratings. 


When Copilot researchers read through those Yelp reviews, they found that almost one-sixth of the complaints had to do with the deal itself -- either the customers had problems redeeming the deal, or they felt as if the service staff had treated them like cheapskates.

Now, that doesn't explain what went wrong for the other five-sixths of the Groupon-using Yelpers, and the researchers couldn't capture all of the Yelpers who reviewed a restaurant without mentioning specifically that they redeemed an online coupon. But it does put restaurant owners on alert: If you're going to run a daily deal, you better make sure your staff treats deal-users right.

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman

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