Friday, December 30, 2005

PowerBlock rocks! PLUG ALERT!


Here is a feel good, warm fuzzies customer service story that is the complete opposite experience of dealing with MSI. I've posted the MSI story here, but the synopsis is that I bought a video card from them in March, in July the fan started whining and rattling like it was on it's last legs. I contacted MSI customer support, was assured it would be taken care of, and FOUR MONTHS later, I contacted them again, finally got a response, and 2 weeks later, was sent the wrong part. Thanks for nothing. I contacted them again, and just last week, received the correctly replacement part. That is an example of how NOT to treat your customer. Here is an example of how every customer wants to be treated...

All of my workouts this time of year typically are at home running on the treadmill or lifting weights with my PowerBlock weights and PowerBlock adjustable bench. If you're not familiar with PowerBlock (see their website), they are adjustable dumbbells. All of the dumbbells are blocks of weights nested inside of each other. Want 20 lbs? Pull the pin out, and select 20 for each one. Want 60 lbs? Well, you get the idea. I suppose you could equate it to the ease adjusting the weight on a weight machine, except it is in free weights. The other advantage is that you don't have a load of dumbbells littering workout area. Just two neat, compact little bricks of weights.

So I've had an expanded Pro set of these weights for about 3 years now and just love 'em. Maybe 2 years ago, the weight selection pins on mine started cracking and falling apart. Hmm...very disappointing. I emailed their customer service to see if I could get replacement pins under warranty, and within 2 hours, I had a phone call and an email from their owner, Greg Olson. He informed me that they had redesigned their pins to be more rugged, and that he'd already put a new pair in the mail for me. They were there the next day! The company is in Owatonna, MN, a little over an hour south of where I live, so the speed of the mail didn't surprise me, it was the quick response from Greg.

Flash forward to about a week ago. I got a little carried away lifting one day, and accidentally dropped one of the weights from a pretty good height at a very bad angle, bending a pin all to hell. Now it was nearly impossible to get the pin out. I wrestled it out, tried my best to bend it straight, but nothing I could do helped much. When you're used to a one-handed quick and slick weight change, screwing around with both hands struggling to pull that selection pin out every time is beyond frustrating.

Last night, I decided it was time to send another email to the company. This time, I explained that it was my bad dropping the weights and offered to pay for replacement pins. I mean really, they gave me great customer service, I'm thrilled with their product, and I have no problem forking over money to a good company to replace these pins. Sure enough, this morning I find an email from Greg Olson. New pins will be shipped via UPS today at no charge.

How many companies in this day and age will go out of their way like that? And for a customer who made a boneheaded move, admitted outright the damage was their own fault, and offered directly to pay for replacement parts? None that I can think of.

I've also seen in the last year or so that Bowflex started making a similar product where you turn a dial to adjust the weight. Now I'll admit, that looks easier and quicker than pulling pin out and putting it back in. But their dumbbells only go up to a little over 50 lbs each for 100 lbs total. That's less than half of what PowerBlock can be expanded to (up to 130 lbs each for a total of 260 lbs). Bowflex's 50 lbs set has an MSRP (and I don't know if you can order them anywhere but directly from Bowflex--help me out if you know otherwise) of $399. A 50 lb "Elite" set of PowerBlock weights goes for $349. But you can get a personal, less expandable 45 lb set for $239. Plus you can get them cheaper in a lot of fitness stores. And here's the kicker--is Bowflex going to give you the speed and quality of customer service the manufacturer of PowerBlock will? I'm sure they have good customer service, but I highly doubt a company of their size can provide that level of personal service.

And no, this is not a paid endorsement. *grin* I am that thoroughly impressed with PowerBlock and their manufacturer, Intellbell and wanted to pass my experience along to you. So if you're looking for free weights, or even if you're considering a machine, check out a set of PowerBlock weights.

1 comment:

bublehead10mm said...

I have the smallest product they make, the Sports Block, and love them just for the ease of quick change weight. I use them with step aerobics at home and they fit inside the step blocks for storage. The only trouble is that if you knock them around they can get out of square and stick a little. (get a hammer)