If you live in the United States or Canada, there’s a chance you’ve used Groupon to receive discounts on a variety of products and services. “Since launching in November 2008, the Chicago-based deal-a-day website has sold over 7 million online coupons in 70 cities,” notes Jackie Huba at the Church of the Customer Blog.

Groupon’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed, however, and it has spawned competitors. But the company has a plan for staying in the lead: a fanatical commitment to excellent customer service.

Even if coupons aren’t a central component of your marketing strategy, you’ll find inspiration in Huba’s report from a recent visit to Groupon’s headquarters. Here are some of the things the Groupon folks do well:

Flaunting the fine print. You’ll reduce the chances of customer anger or disappointment by clearly outlining what they should (or should not) expect. “Groupon features terms and conditions in large type in a clearly labeled section right beside the deal highlights,” Huba says. “You can’t miss it.”

Offering an ironclad money-back guarantee. Unscrupulous customers might abuse Groupon’s liberal refund policy, but the company believes its generous approach builds trust with the majority of its honest clientele. And it works: Only a small percentage of customers request a refund.

Instituting a two-way rating system. When everyone knows they’re up for a critique, everyone stays on their best behavior. “Customers can give awards to merchants that they like or flag a merchant for a poor experience,” says Huba. “Merchants can also rate loyal customers or good tippers, and can flag unfriendly customers.”

Transparent, pro-customer policies are a great way to differentiate your business from the competition—and keep customers coming back for more.

Source: Church of the Customer Blog.