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We messed up: Groupon SA CEO

We messed up: Groupon SA CEO

Wayne Gosling, CEO of daily deals site Groupon SA, says that the company has let its customers down in recent times in terms of its product delivery and general customer service.

Groupon has come under harsh criticism on consumer champion website HelloPeter in the last 12 months. Out of 3,784 reports on the site about Groupon SA, 3,300 have been negative with complaints ranging from goods not being received, no refunds, to incorrect product delivery, and poor after-sales service.

“We have had huge mess-ups in terms of our products and delivery, which has been well documented,” Gosling said, adding that as the company added to its daily deals quota, “we were handling stuff, but not as dynamically as we could be”.

This, according to Gosling, is largely the reason for the appointment earlier this week of a new head of customer services, Katja Alves.

Groupon SA said that Alves has been appointed to roll out new international processes and procedures to align the Cape-Town based call centre with Groupon International’s standards.

Wayne Gosling and Daniel Guasco

Wayne Gosling and Daniel Guasco

Gosling says that Groupon SA has bolstered its call-centre staff, based in Cape Town, to 39 people out of a total group quotient of 130 people.

He said that Groupon SA handles approximately 600-700 deals on its site at any given time and is now operational in five cities. “The model hasn’t stopped growing in South Africa, it’s one of the more profitable ones in the world” he said.

Earlier this month, Groupon, which is active in 48 countries, reported encouraging quarterly results with operating income up $34.0 million compared with fourth quarter in 2012. Analysts have expressed concern over the group’s ability to scale.

Active customers, or customers who purchased a Groupon within the last twelve months, grew 13% year-over-year, to 41.7 million as of March 31, 2013, comprising 18.2 million in North America, and 23.5 million in International markets.

These numbers impressed investors, and boosted its share price to $7.26 on the Nasdaq, but still someway off its November 2011 initial public offering price of $20 a share.

Alves joined Groupon from customer contact solutions firm Merchants, a Dimension Data company.

“One of the key accounts I worked on for the last 4 years was ASDA, a major UK High Street retailer, who have their call centre based here in South Africa. This retailer has high expectations regarding the level of service they demand for their customers: and use a quality framework to ensure consistent responses across all written and verbal contact with their customers, so that the experience exceeds the caller’s expectations.”

“It is that consistency of excellence I am looking to foster and continue to drive here at Groupon in co-operation with the international push to standardise our processes and consumer expectations,” Alves said.

“Over the last 3 months we have seen a steady rise in our customer satisfaction scores, so this will hopefully give that trend a solid boost. We are looking forward to seeing the implementation of several new processes that Katja wishes to drive, coupled with the technology support roll-out to ensure we have clear oversight of our call centre at all times,” Gosling said.

More on Groupon

Things look up for Groupon

Groupon SA complaints flood in

Groupon exposes customer emails

Is Groupon dying?

Gareth is the editor at BusinessTech. Gareth was previously the ICT Editor at BusinessLive/I-Net Bridge. Gareth holds a degree in Journalism from Rhodes University....
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  • ANNE

    may 2013 ceo said messed up 22.10.2013 still cant solve my problem #52992 SO

  • Mattewis Kat

    You need only take one look at their present HelloPeter status (03.11.2013) to conclude that nothing has changed! Non-delivery of services paid for, refunds not honored for said services, & total lack of communication to customers by ignoring them seems to form the essence of Groupon’s current MO judging by the complaints. This is no different from a criminal pyramid scheme, and maybe it is time the National Consumer Commission get involved to investigate?

  • Anil

    I can agree in saying that Groupon service is far from good. I have made a purchase through them on the 9th October 2013. After a few days of not receiving the voucher, I contacted Groupon customer support, and notified them that I had not received my voucher as yet. I received a automatic reply from them saying that they would get back to me in 72 hours, eventually when they got back to me, they asked me for proof of payment, which I got and emailed through. It is now 21 November 2013 and they still have not sent me anything. I have complained on HelloPeter and still got no response from Groupon. All I want is my money back now, I don’t want to purchase anything.

  • Cheryll Allsopp

    Groupon’s service is disgusting. I bought a digital frame from Groupon, not only did it arrive late but when it did it was damaged and did not work. I have been trying to get Groupon to collect the damaged goods and refund the money from the 21st November 2013 and all I get is a message every second day to say that Management is working on it – working on what i ask you, pick up the damaged frame and refund the money – how difficult can this be. I am disgusted.

  • Tanja

    I agree with the comments below, Groupon discuss me, I have being struggling to get my refund since the 12th November 2013. No one is getting back to you , regarding your issue, they keep you on the line for more than an half an hour, and then just shut the phone down in your ears, not even wanting to listen to the issue that you have, or they will just let their phone go on voice mail, even leaving an voicemail does not work… that is MANAGEMNET For you.. They are pathetic and it makes me sick if that is what they call customer service.. I am using them on a regular basic but won’t even help you..

    They even made an mistake once and had to refund a groupon that I purchased I never received the money and let it go, but this time I will not let them take my money.. I have emailed them numerous times and guess what they just don’t get back to you… Why can’t you just f…… refund me my money back??? what is the big issue, I am going to found out what are the next steps I can take and held you responsible for any payments.

    Hope i will get some kind of feedback from you guys… email me on [email protected] … I would love to hear what you have to say.

  • julius

    I have had to pay 3 times over a 3 day period for 4 coupons to Ushaka Marine world, now I do not know if Ushaka is Part of these scams, but I think it might be the case, R396 for four coupons times 3 times I had paid as groupon call centre told me that the previous two times they will refund me as there was a mix up with the refferance nr`s, I then paid the third time and till today haven’t received my coupons…
    Groupon should not exist as a marketing firm or whatever, promotion of your business is only going to let your own business get a bad name as they do not just pull theyre own company down but also yours, Think twice business owners, they do not help clients out, I have spent about R400 in airtime up to now, Start at about 22 and end up being first in line of the call, then they hang up as soon as you start talking to them, if you are lucky for them to pick up…. This is a huge scam,
    Ushaka Marine World will also be getting a Hellopeter complaint from us as they don’t even bother making any effort to correct theyre partners in crime.
    Groupon together with Ushaka Marine world are working in coicence here to scam innocent people out of a lot of money…
    Julius Odendaal

  • Neale Thorpe

    I am so disappointed through a deal that went sour with Groupon SA and their absolutely “don’t give a damn” ATTITUDE. They will feed you with hollow platitudes on a weekly basis about how “sorry they are” and “this is not their policy to have bad deals” etc, and yet for three months they did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about my deal and made me very concerned that I had lost by R5999 all together. Very scary experience and very unhelpfull people!!

  • Precious Maphumulo

    Just called today hoping to get more clarity regarding the shipment of my goods, I must say I am very disappointed on GROUPON on how they have simply shown no value in their customers and for that matter I just want to know if they are in a position to re-reimburse me so I can purchase this goods myself.

    When there’s a customer complain I find it hard to believe that I need to follow up myself and no one is actually following up on my behalf. The fact that you are dealing with third parties it should not be my problem, infact Groupon’s delivery conditions are 7 to 14 working days, so if you count the 22 Sept to the 20th October, then additional days to come then you have actually lied. Not only that, but you have shown no commitment in resolving my query. I have been spending a lot of money on calls and it’s my money we are talking about, if no solutions to this, then I suggest you be wise and call me instead of sending emails. At-least do something that shows you can go an extramile for a client. Doing business is not only about getting money, but most importantly make sure those people you get money from are happy and make them want to spread good words even after you have let them down. I was a bit relaxed thinking something is being done, my guess was wrong.

    Very very disappointed, and my kidz are asking me everyday if the tablet’s will come, I should have went to Game, Hi-Fi of Vodacom directly for that matter. The status is still processing since the 22nd sept to date.

    I am angry right now.


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