Hey LivingSocial, KGB, ReachLocal and every other local marketing company, listen up, YOU’RE KILLING US!
Don’t get me wrong, and don’t take my word for it, read the headlines. The industry is in trouble. While I appreciate the business you bring in, let me tell you our pain.
First; about us. Ours is a local business and I am our marketing ninja. I use FourSquare to make offers at check-ins, Yelp for reviews, local directories that list my services within specialized directories and daily deals / coupons that are published across the net. I have mailing lists, send out SMS specials and otherwise investigate and deploy every single angle to market our business. The point of all this activity is to get new customers through the door, up-sell those clients and turn them into repeat business.
Here is the disconnect: For all the effort that is put into reaching out to get new clients, you are doing a miserable job at helping us complete the last mile of the transaction where you have been touching the client; and handing them off to us to perform our amazing service. Here is a list of things that would really help:
- Book the service right when they buy the promotion. The longer it takes someone to book, the more likely they will never use our services. Not ideal in growing a business. The only way for us to keep this client long term is to see them and provide great service.
- Optimize my calendar to book promotional clients during less busy times. I want to run the promotion, but want to make sure it’s not taking times that I can normally book with no problem. The service should fit within my calendar at times I can afford to service less profitable clients.
- Automate the booking process into my calendar. Whenever there is a promotion, it completely disrupts my front office. With each appointment comes data entry onto our calendar, managing reminders, cancelations and rescheduling. We need to manage the influx of new clients.
- Tell me how well I am doing. Give me feedback on not just how well the campaign did in sales, but in booked appointments, up-sells, and additional revenues. If this is part of my overall marketing strategy, I should be able to measure the total overall results.
There is a solution but frankly I’m surprised that the innovation which usually happens with smaller market players this time happened first at the top. GroupOn’s visionary purchase of OpenCal is poised to address the mishandling of merchant deal scheduling from within their client base. How about yours? What are you doing to compete?
The alternative to buying or building a scheduling platform is Setster. Setster is a full featured SaaS scheduling application just like the one GroupOn bought, with one small but significant difference: Setster’s API architecture is open and designed for any local marketing company to be able to create accounts for their customers on the fly. Setster’s scheduling API works across all marketing channels. By adding a booking feature inside mobile apps, directories, daily deal, group and promotional coupons, your end users now book directly from your offering.
Close the loop between your service merchants and buyers. Increase customer satisfaction and repeat business. Measure performance and show real results that give you a competitive advantage. Available as a co-branded or white label solution, Download the Industry API white paper and sign up for the private beta today at http://setster.com/developers and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a demo.