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P90X – Proof That You Must Be 100% Customer-Centric To Keep Advocates

Blog post by on May 31, 2010 19 Comments

Today I finally got off my fat butt and decided to formulate my plan to get back into shape. I’ve been fit most of my life and I’ve always done something to stay that way. I’m in my late 40’s now, and it’s far easier to take time off and much harder to climb back. Nearly 4 years ago, I had my first child and this has only made things worse – in a better kind of way! I have no time to myself, yet a few years ago, I decided to purchase P90X, a personal fitness system that takes as much as 90 minutes a day of my time.

I’ve always known it took hard work to get the results I want, whether that’s in business or in fitness. So, I started with a bang and committed myself to P90X. I liked it! And Tony Horton (the trainer) is an upbeat guy and fun to workout with. Ok, the same stuff get’s old after awhile, but the beauty of this 12 DVD program is that it’s based on muscle confusion – so each month you’re doing different programs. Basically it stays fresh.

BeachBody® is a brand owned by Product Partners, LLC. I never really thought to look at that until today – and suddenly, things are beginning to make a world of sense to me. The reason I looked today is because I’ve been a little lax lately and haven’t been working out very much. Long story, same story. While I thought I had my DVDs tucked away in a nice safe location, I underestimated the abilities of my 3 year old son to seek and destroy. OK, I can’t he destroyed, but I know for fact that he found my original P90 box which is now empty of the 2 DVDs that came in it. Of my 12 P90X DVDs, 2 are missing.

I’m anal about this stuff so I know I didn’t lose them. And my son, after hours of interrogation STILL readily admits that he lost them :) .

Today I decided to call Beachbody® to order a replacement for the 2 P90X DVDs I lost – I mean, my son lost. Given my experience with the company to date, I didn’t think it would be a problem at all. I’ve already purchased the product (the content) and I talk this product with everyone I meet that shows an interest fitness. Basically, I’m an advocate in the real world. Never had a reason to write about, until now.

So, I went to the website and and initiated an online chat session with Craig. I told Craig my story and he went off to confirm that I was a customer.

This is where I’m going to stop and tell you what the original 12 DVD set for P90x cost me. It was just over $100.

When Craig came back, he informed me the replacement, per DVD was $29.95 plus $6.95 shipping and handling. GULP! I reminded him that I was simply ordering a replacement to a DVD I lost. I had already purchased the content. How much does a DVD plus some inconvenience cost, anyway? He confirmed that this was the price. So, my hands tied and a strong desire to get back to it, I order the 1 DVD I absolutely needed. All told with tax we’re approach $40, or just under half the price for the entire 12 DVD set.

Let’s Examine The Company

I’ve always thought this group was fairly innovative. They’ve used the power of online communities to deal with the motivational of the problem. Creating peer groups of people struggling through the same issue is one powerful way to keep people motivated. After all, we’re not talking about 15 minutes here. These are extremely intense 60-90 minute workouts and it’s tough to stay motivated. It’s even tougher to restart after a week or two off.

They also provide a lot of content on diet. It’s good stuff. The best I’ve seen over the years for sure. The provide some good tools to help your chart your success as you go as well, and for many people this is a very powerful type of positive reinforcement. The last thing they do is assign a coach to you. And this is where everything begins to fall apart in my opinion.

The coach is a BeachBody product user who has decided to make an income from the various products being sold. They are not employees, so even if there were a customer-centric culture going on in the company, how could you possibly enforce it across this army of fitness experts. The simple truth is that you can’t. So, I’ve watched my coach over the past few years attempt to stay in front of us using Facebook or the occasional product pitch email wrapped in motivational talk. Booorrring! Wow, for a company that seemed to be on the innovation track and a strong tie-in to social community building, all I see now is a pure marketing organization, and one that really doesn’t understand customers they way they project themselves.

I am no longer an advocate. I’m not even loyal anymore, let alone satisfied.

Where Is Their Strategic Flaw?

The answer is very simple. They don’t really understand the job being done by their customers. The job doesn’t have an unlimited budget, but the people doing it are highly motivated. Yes, I made the purchase today because the product is good. But the original attraction was both price and perceived effectiveness. Instead of dropping thousands on a home gym or $50 a month for a gym membership, you can get this set of DVD’s and a plan for about $100. And you can do it at home, cutting the travel time out of the equation.

P90X people must to be highly motivated to do what they do. And this does create a sort of advocacy for the product and for the trainer, Tony Horton. I was an advocate, until today. I was asked to 4 times the original cost of a single DVD after having paid for the content already. They couldn’t simply offer my a nominal cost for the physical DVD and shipping. Nope, they couldn’t do that little thing.

This transaction would have cost BeachBody (Partner Products, LLC) nothing. So why do they have this policy of taking advantage of loyal users of their products? Well, that’s a question that only Carl Daikeler, the CEO can answer. By the way, you will not find  comment form at the other end of that link. However, there are comments at his blog, which may or may not be moderated ;)

The Moral of The Story

You can take an inside-out marketing company and give them social tools and an army of affiliates, but you just can’t get them to really understand their customer needs when all they’re doing is shouting about their product via Facebook, emails, and all night infomercials. It may be a decent product or portfolio of products, but in the end, is there really any value coming back to me, the customer? I know some would argue the value-in-use argument. However, when your 3 year old gets involved there is no longer any use. And this is the strategic plan BeachBody came up with? The answer no, there is not value in use, because the chain of use has been broken.

This is one of the reasons why using sentiment analysis to manage your brand is an inside-out endeavor and really not very strategic. First, you are focused on your brand (inside-out) and second, it’s too late retain this defected customer. I wonder if BeachBody even uses a social media monitoring tool? Maybe I’ll find out.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

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19 Responses to P90X – Proof That You Must Be 100% Customer-Centric To Keep Advocates

  1. Paul Cook June 1, 2010 at 7:11 am #

    That’s too bad. I love the workout routine as well. I’m getting great results. I also feel like there is a better way to handle customers in this situation. As you say, you’re already a customer, already bought the full set. You’ve even been an advocate in the past. Now they’ve alienated a source of positive social marketing for their brand. For the cost of $40. Chump change to a large company raking in millions on their DVD sets but probably not for the average consumer.

  2. Mike Boysen June 1, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    Yep, it’s too bad. I love the product, for sure. And I plan to keep using it.

    Mike Boysen
    Effective CRM

  3. Graham Hill June 2, 2010 at 8:35 am #

    Mike

    Sorry to hear about your dilemma.

    As you quite rghtly point out, there is little use in using social media if your core product is flawed. All it does is provide a channel for disgruntled customers to complain to others. And research suggests that bad news is 3-8 times more effective at changing others’ behaviour than good news.

    Do you feel gouged by the company? Yes you do. But did you buy the replacement CDs? Yes, even though you were unhappy, you did. So perhaps their complementary pricing model wasn’t wrong after all. Perhaps the company recognised that the bad feelings from having to pay a high price for the replacement discs will be more than offset by the new you that will emerge from the workout regime in a few months time. Nobody will care much about your pricing story when they see the new Mike Boysenegger at the beach. And probably, neither will you.

    Or maybe the company doesn’t bank on customers influencing others at all. Let’s face it, most of the exercise products advertised on US TV obviously don’t work. Just look around you at all the obese people waddling through the mall next time you go shopping. But that doesn’t stop those very same people from wanting to loose the spare tyre that age and a sedentary lifestyle inflicts on so many of them. Knowing in their heart of hearts that they won’t have the discipline to stick to an exercise and diet regime won’t stop them from buying one. And then burying it at the back of the closet! As the great showman PT Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute”.

    PS. Muscle confusion is a well known principle in bodybuilding. Arnold Schwarzenehgger described it in detail in his autobiography, ‘The Education of a Bodybuilder’. The book also includes a range of minimum equipment programmes with which to get fit and strong. All for the bargain price of just $10.08 (discipline not included)

    Graham Hill
    Customer-centric Innovator
    Follow me on Twitter

    Interested in Customer Driven Innovation? Join the Customer Driven Innovation groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to learn more.

  4. J.P. June 2, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    Hey Mike, I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience. That really sucks.

    In my dealings with Beachbody, they’ve always been very fair and straightforward. Have you tried to get in touch with a customer service manager? Perhaps they can work something out with you that would be a little more affordable…

    If worse comes to worse, drop me a line and I’ll see if I can pull some strings for you. I’m a Beachbody Coach and while I can’t make you any promises, I’ll do what I can to help you out.

    J.P.
    Fat Loss Blogger

  5. Graham Hill June 3, 2010 at 10:16 am #

    Mike

    I noticed that the UK Office of Fair Trading has just published a research paper on how pricing practices, e.g. drip pricing, sales, complex pricing, baiting and time limited offers, influence customer behaviours. They also published a handy table setting out under which conditions the pricing practices do and do not work.

    We should always be on the lookout for unfair pricing practices which can put us, the customer, at a disadvantage, and how to counter them. Particularly during the important stage prior to handing over our hard-earned cash. It’s much more difficult after we have parted with our cash.

    Text

    Graham Hill
    Customer-centric Innovator
    Follow me on Twitter

    Interested in Customer Driven Innovation? Join the Customer Driven Innovation groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to learn more.

  6. Matt D June 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    Bro, have you not heard of EBay? You can score individual P90x DVDs for around 5 bucks. Also, you need to download and install a program called Handbrake. It’s a free DVD ripper that you can use to make COMPLETELY LEGAL copies of your own DVDs for back-up purposes. I just ripped all of my P90x DVDs and put them on my PS3. Now I don’t even have to fool with the DVDs to fire up a workout.

  7. Mike Boysen June 7, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    I ended up resolving the issue when Beachbody contacted me. Graham, I had 4 missing DVDs. I only bought one. Otherwise it would have been cheap to buy the complete set ;)

    Anyway, the companies policy is actually to replace DVDs for the cost of shipping. The problem is that their customer facing end points don’t seem to all have that information – even when challenged. I specifically asked what the policy was and was told exactly what I just stated.

    MattD. Yea, I’ve ripped DVDs in the past but never got around to that with these.

    Mike Boysen
    Effective CRM

  8. NoName June 10, 2010 at 7:58 am #

    I do understand your frustration!

    Let’s use this as an example…Let’s say you went to WalMart.com and bought 2 fitness dvd’s and (according you your words) A FEW YEARS LATER, you realize that they were lost. Would you expect to call up WalMart and have them replace the dvd’s that you (or your child, or whoever)lost? NO…

    I don’t think it’s very fair to bash the company when the dvd’s were LOST. It’s not their responsibility to replace your dvd’s AFTER A FEW YEARS. Would you expect ANY COMPANY to do this?

    Do you think QVC or HSN would GIVE you more dvd’s because you lost them…I really don’t think so.

    Do you think if you purchased a Tony Robbins 12 dvd self improvement course for $200 and YEARS LATER realized 2 dvd’s were lost, do you think the company would hand you over 2 replacements, just because you spent so much money on the original set years ago?
    NOT LIKELY…

    This is just the way I look at this…I wish you the best with P90X!

  9. Mike Boysen June 10, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    Dude, I think you missed the point. They were charging me 4 times the original price to replace. I fully expected to pay something, just not that ridiculous price.

    Anyway, this issue is resolved. Their policy (NoName) is to replace DVD’s for the cost of shipping.

    Mike Boysen
    Effective CRM

  10. Jim Lilek October 1, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    I just had the same problem with Beachbody with getting them to replace my Plyometrics DVD. The Customer Service person was pushing a $9.99 insurance/replacement fee on me in order to get a replacement DVD. 1 month ago they replaced my X Stretch DVD for no cost, no hassles, no questions, I confirmed my info and the package was shipped and arrived in 3 days. Now I am dealing with Geronimo who was nothing but rude and disrespectful on the call. I will continue to try and get my DVD replaced, but why should I have to pay MORE money to have a DVD replaced for a product I already paid for? I would be happy to pay for the shipping, but that was never an option they offered me in this case.

  11. jacobmills November 27, 2010 at 8:24 pm #

    I can certainly understand your frustration on losing such expensive P90X DVDs. I do like what Mark recommends as far as making legal copies of your own DVDs that you already purchased legally, so long as your not distributing the p90x workout copies on places like Ebay or Amazon fro profit. I mean these DVDs are expensive and it can be extremely disappointing if one gets sratched or lost.

  12. Guest February 27, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    I know you may think that beachbody just wants you to pay more than what the replacement dvds are worth, but you have to see from their point of view too. If they gave you replacement dvds cheap or free they would have to do it for other customers. Some people might just do it to get dvds they want instead of buying the whole set, or they might turn around and sell them for more if they could get cheaper replacement dvds.

  13. Guest June 11, 2011 at 1:48 am #

    Perseverance will save you money. I got the same ridiculous price of $29.95 plus $7 s&h from the beachbody agent at first. I told her it was a ridiculous price to which she replied she could offer the entire program to me again for only $50 plus $13 s&h. This time I told her she just made the $29.95 price even more ridiculous as it was now 50% of full price and that I wanted to speak to a supervisor. She replied finally with a total price of $20 including s&h which of course is still a bit much considering the actual video quality of the dvd’s in the first place but much better than $37 total.

    Of course I may still just purchase one on ebay for $5 if I can find my missing disc.

  14. Guest September 13, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    “Some people might just do it to get dvds they want instead of buying the whole set, or they might turn around and sell them for more if they could get cheaper replacement dvds.

    It’s a shame that people even want to do this. Slightly unethical if you ask me!

    Jess

  15. Guest September 21, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

    Ouch. Thats very high for a replacement. I wonder what the reasoning is behind it. I wonder if they care about the bad publicity they are getting with this. Probaby not.

  16. kyh October 4, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    I can certainly appreciate you being upset by this, but I’m a parent as well. I can’t begin to share how much money I’ve spent in replacing DVD’s that my kids either scratched, cracked or lost.

    From Toy Story to Back to the Future and even higher priced movies, I’ve never been able to get a break on replacing them. Not to mention the $100 of dollars I’ve lost in misplaced DS Games too.

    I would suggest that a better solution would be for a special licensing to consumers to back up a disk that we’ve purchased… I think something like that would be great.

    But, I see no reason to bash a company for being successful… no matter how much money they make.

    I don’t expect anyone to else to pay the price of my negligence or my children’s once a product is in my possession. I would think that would be childish.

    >>> I AM SORRY about your misfortune. Again…. I have 2 kids and have lost many pricey items. It happens! <<<

  17. Jennifer October 26, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    “But, I see no reason to bash a company for being successful… no matter how much money they make.”

    Agree with you completely. Admittedly, a company has a certain responsibility but so does the owner of the product.

    Take responsibility…this happens unfortunately :-(

  18. Guest April 27, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    I agree with you… in today’s IT world they should have an option to download individual workouts like Cathe Friedrich (STS) program. For a low cost and no shipping they would rack in even more money. I got P90x as a gift, what if I have to travel? I have to take the DVDs with me and hope a DVD player is in my room or carry a portable one with me… WOW that’s ancient way of doing things.

  19. John Grillo July 1, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    I have a similar situation – My wife gave me P90X as a birthday present about 2 years ago – I have dabble with a few workouts but have not been able to commit to completing it (I work out with a personal trainer a couple of times per week) – However my 16 year old son has recently and he has gotten great results – We found Disk 10 – Back & Biceps to be defective – I expected the same – a nominal replacement cost – however I was told the same $40.00 charge – DVD – Shipping – Tax – however some discussion and waiting on hold I was able to get the replacement for about $16.00 – still too high in my opinion – but better than $40.00 and I appreciated the effort of the agent – but why should it have taken the effort? In searching for the replacement alternatives, I was just made aware of the coaching schema they use….not good and disappointing

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