I was a massage chair technician this week, and learned a little more about massage chairs, and a whole lot about how and why people use them.
This past week I got to do something that I not only love to do, but also find extremely important in running our business: I spent time in several of our customers’ homes, helping them with their massage chairs.
Among the hundreds of mechanisms in today’s state-of-the-art massage chairs, things can break. Perhaps it is just a squeaky arm earned after years of loyal robotic massage service (or worse), and our warranty allows for optional in-home service no matter how small the issue. Some of our customers are comfortable with the free parts we provide for 5 years, however others just want someone to come to their home to conduct the service.
Our toll-free tech support line fields all in-bound customer calls, and once it is determined an in-home visit is warranted, our support representative will create a ticket in our system and dispatch a service tech, who will in-turn schedule an appointment with the customer.
I needed to tend to some business in one of our Bay-area warehouses this week, and I’d alerted our team in the area that I would take on some of the calls on the schedule for the week, and take on the role of one of our massage chair technicians. I love doing this – I typically learn something new about our business, our chairs, and most importantly I genuinely enjoy interacting with customers. While I get a chance to work on a chair or two, more importantly I get to immerse in candid interactions regarding the experiences and feelings Elite Massage Chair customers have with their massage chair.
These in-home visits are equal parts the operating side of our business, mixed with a generous dose of invaluable ethnographic research. Each stop in a customer’s home presents an unparalleled and candid look into real massage chair stories, well after the purchase and initial interaction. You get to learn not just how they discovered our massage chairs, what prompted them to buy one — but how much they use them, why they use them, and how the chair has affected their lives.
I never fail to come away with a new perspective, and this past week was no different.
First, I’ll say that across the board I have consistently found our customers are remarkable, thoughtful, and engaging people. People don’t buy our products as inert pieces of furniture – they literally interact with them virtually every day; and as such, they develop very strong feelings and insights into our massage chairs’ inner workings and benefits.
There is something energizing talking with people other than those who work here, who understand and appreciate the products we manufacture. The experience is validating too — it’s one thing to talk about the benefits of massage to prospects who might walk into our showroom or one of our shows throughout the country – but a different experience altogether when they are a customer who is chomping at the bit to share their tried and tested experiences “in the wild” with our products.
Our customers I met the week came from all walks of life. I met a family who immigrated from Malta, an extraordinarily warm and funny retiree from Puerto Rico and his wonderful native Hawaiian wife, a fun young family in Fremont, two software executives from the Silicon Valley, and a remarkable guy about my age from Vietnam who has built an extraordinarily successful national franchise here in the US.
In all these cases (one note here, I’m not talking about a typical cross section of our massage chair customer base necessarily, just those I met this week), none had purchased an Elite Massage Chair because they were in chronic pain. While I know those with injuries or significant pain make up an important part of our buyer base, the people I met this week shared a common theme: They tried one of our chairs, and within minutes realized two things:
- Each told me about how as soon as they sat in one of our massage chairs, they realized it was different from any other they’d tried before, whether in the mall, or Brookstone, or other furniture store.
- Each told me in various yet very similar ways how they almost instantly realized that 15 to 20 minutes in one of our massage chairs just made them feel BETTER. Their muscles feel rejuvenated, and looser, and felt less sore. And just a few minutes a day in their massage chair made them feel better emotionally – more relaxed and positive.
I must add one admittedly personal delight I found with a couple of these customers — they told me how they had purchased another one of our massage chairs for a parent or other relative not long after buying their own; such was their enormous satisfaction with their own Elite chair. Sorry, I just enjoyed those stories and had to add them here ;^)
By the end of my week here in Northern California, and while playing my role as massage chair technician, I had of course repaired a few chairs; fixed a squeak here and there, and learned a little more about the intricate functions of our massage chairs. However, I learned significantly more from the stories and feedback I received from the authentic, human stories I heard this week. Each of their stories was enlightening, and re-charged my enthusiasm for our team to keep building the best massage chairs possible for people like them.
As to point #1 above (the first of two things each of these customers had in common about Elite massage chairs), I plan to make these points the subject of my next blog post.
But for this particular post, I will simply close by expressing my sincere appreciation to the Elite customers who welcomed me into their homes this week. If any of you are reading this, THANK YOU – for your business, for welcoming me into your homes, and for your remarkable insights.