What Service? Perception Matters

If I happen to turn on the television early in the morning, I will see an infomercial for Total Gym. Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley endorse it, as well as Wesley Snipes. It sounds like a great compact setup, and with space in my apartment, I would need to be able to put it away under the bed or in a closet, just as the commercial says. It was one of the features hyped in the infomercial, and it was a selling point I cared about as a potential customer. If I didn’t care about having a huge system of gym equipment out in the middle of my bedroom floor, Total Gym wouldn’t have appealed to me any more than Bowflex or some other system.

I’ve never bought any infomercial product before, let alone exercise equipment, and I’ve learned my lesson about buying something without researching it, so I did some quick searches. I immediately found a summary of all of the reviews out there for home gym systems, and it helped me make my decision not to get the Total Gym, at least not until I determine it really is the best value. I think it sounded too expensive compared to similar systems, and I should be able to find something else. While looking for more opinions, I found a section for Total Gym at

There are only five complaints, and apparently the last two are from October of last year. Generally the complaints are that storage isn’t as easy as the commercial claims. I also didn’t like reading about one customer’s experience with customer service. Then I checked the Defenses. It was there that I read something that made me want to post about it.

From a business point of view, Total Gym has some fanatic supporters. I thought some of them were jerks, making fun of the people who would complain about things like getting hit in the head or almost getting their fingers cut off while putting it away. Seriously! Someone actually loves the system enough to say that you can get badly hurt, but you can get badly hurt doing other things, too. Someone else referred to the complainers in derogatory terms. Tear down those who would dare to complain against this great product! It’s like listening to talk radio!

But guess who ruins it? Guess who ruins any kind of good opinion I can have about the company? Jeremy.

Jeremy makes it sound like he works for Total Gym, and while I can’t claim he DOES, it does NOT matter what I think as I write this post. What matters is that potential Total Gym customers might read what he has to say and assume that he DOES represent Total Gym. Perception matters, and Jeremy has basically made Total Gym out to be uncaring towards just those people who would most likely want to be customers.

there are low end retail versions for those of you too out of shape to pick up a 67 pound total gym.

you are the same type of people who sue mcdonalds for serving you fattening food or coffee that is too hot. stop blaming are quality construcion on your inability to safely follow directions in the first 10 minutes of the instructional video.The system practically walks itself out for your set up and folds up just as easily if you do it the right way.

What do we have to do? Come to your house and lift you onto the machine? Grow up and find a real problem with this produt before you try to degrade it for everyone else.

I can lift 67 lbs, but I wouldn’t claim that doing so is as easy as letting the weight walk itself. I don’t have anything to go by but what the users have said, and even the defenders will argue that it can be dangerous and isn’t as easy to put away as the infomercial would have you believe. One of the complaints was about the hassle the customer had when trying to get the money back after returning the equipment. Jeremy just makes it more believable that no one at the company cares about you past your wallet.

Who is Jeremy? He could be anyone. He could be a C-level employee, he could be in sales, he could be in support. It doesn’t matter. When he wrote what he did, it was the same as if Total Gym wrote it. at least as far as potential customers are concerned. Chuck Norris might have persuaded someone to want to buy the system, but whoever Jeremy is, he is making it difficult for someone to justify giving money to the company.

If your entire experience with Total Gym is learning that your friend had been hurt or complained about the weight of the “easy” system, the last thing you want to know is that Total Gym itself is blasting your friend for being lazy and whining. Perception matters.

It is why visiting certain fast food restaurants or grocery stores is always weird. There can be pictures of smiling employees somewhere on the wall, but if the actual employees are mindlessly going through the motions, asking the required-for-customer-service question “How are you today?” without caring about your answer, it’s weird. Who wants to go there? Who WANTS to go there? If you perceive that an employee doesn’t care about you, it’s as good as believing that the company doesn’t care about you. The management can be happy and the CEO can talk about great customer service, but if the front lines of the company aren’t acting like the representatives they should, who would want to give money to that company?

If your business interacts with customers in any way, you need to ensure that your business presents itself the way you want customers to see it. If you respond to an email from a customer, make the effort to ensure that the receiver will not have to wonder if you are professional enough to be sell anything. Does your website have misspellings and grammatical mistakes? Can someone find a Jeremy representing you out on other websites? Are YOU a Jeremy, sabotaging your own image? Drop your pride, stop trying to prove that you are right, and let your customers know that you care. If your customer doesn’t know you care, you might as well not.

Perception matters. Is there anything your company is doing that might be scaring customers away?

2 replies on “What Service? Perception Matters”

Comments are closed.