Amazing Customer Service – and You’re Welcome to My Data

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Not long ago, in a fit of Black Friday-induced impulsivity, I bought a FitBit Zip from Target.

It was on clearance – $29.98 instead of $60 – so the price was right. Plus, I quite drooled at the idea of getting even more data than I already do with RunKeeper. FitBit tracks your activity all day long: how many steps you walk, how many miles, how many calories.

Using my FitBit was great while it lasted — which was right until December 10, when I lost it.

It’s wasn’t until after the holidays that I finally got around to emailing FitBit support to delete my account — and got the most astonishing response ever. [OK, maybe too dramatic…]

They emailed me back, asking for my address — to send me a complimentary replacement.

Isn’t that amazing customer service? I mean, here I go losing a gadget that the manufacturer is in no way obligated to replace. But they offer to do it, anyway.

I took them up on it, of course — all the while thinking, Good thing, when my mom offered to buy me another one for Christmas, I told her I’d rather have some Estée Lauder makeup instead!

This all, of course, begs the question why. Why is a company willing to offer a product, which retails for $60, for free?

I have a few guesses:

  • Much like with the “freemium” model for smartphone apps, the company is hoping that I will at some point in the future elect to use its paid “premium” service ($49.99/ yr) for more data, better charts.
  • The cost to produce the device (labor and parts) is just a couple of bucks; they sell it for $60 because this is what the fairly well-off fitness-obsessed American consumer is willing to pay for it.
  • The company values my data – which it collects from me on a daily basis – at much more than $60. Think about it. This company knows how much I walk (or run), at what times of day, and possibly what I eat (if I choose to log that information). It also knows my address – physical and digital, both of which can be used for targeted marketing offers from their partners, or themselves.

Most likely, it’s a combination of all of the above. But you know what? I gave up my perceived “privacy” long ago, when I started using Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, RunKeeper… not to mention putting my life out here on this blog.

So: Thank you for the great customer service, FitBit. And as far as my continued use of your product and personal data collection… you’re welcome!

Your turn: How do you feel about “privacy” these days? Do you put it all out there on Facebook, Twitter and blogs? Or hold some back?

Today’s run:

Back at los trackos for intervals. Workout: 8 x 4 w/3, or eight times four minutes fast with three-minute rest in between. All was smooth sailing sweating for the first six, then RunKeeper stopped giving me prompts for some reason and I had to do it the old-fashioned way: keep checking the time on my phone while running. That slowed me down more than I thought!

My butt has been well kicked today.

2 thoughts on “Amazing Customer Service – and You’re Welcome to My Data

  • January 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    So RunKeeper can do intervals? I’ve been using Nike+ just for distance/pace and my watch for intervals. It’d be nice to have it all in one app. I might have to switch…

    • January 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Yes! It has a “Workout” feature, which you can set up for intervals (based on time OR distance), or any other type of run. I just did a 5-mile tempo run with 1-mile warmup and 1+mile cooldown and used it, so I don’t have to look at my phone and track time/ mileage — just get the voice prompt when a new interval starts. It’s very handy!


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