Transcript of Video Titled “Interview with Infinite Therapeutics VP, Jim Coppins (Part 2)”
Dr. Alan Weidner: I just sold my IT-7800 floor model this morning to a guy in New Jersey, and I ordered the IT-8100 right after that, and Michael’s taking care of that order for me, but I’m looking forward to have that 8100. I think bang for the buck, geez, it’s hard to find another chair – I mean, all the other chairs seem to be going up in price, new models are higher, Iyashi included, and prices increases, like that you’ve just had, I mean, the prices do seem to be going up – but I think that 8100 is, for the money, gee I think what is it, $2695 after the instant discount, is a phenomenal price. I mean, you’re getting foot rollers, you’ve got arm airbags, you’ve got, I think it’s a 30-inch roller track, seat airbags, I mean, it’s got everything.
Jim Coppins: You have heat, you have heat, you have music, I think Doctor, when you sit in that chair – I’ve told Michael for a long time, I really, really wanted you to have that in your showroom – when you sit in that chair, I think you’re going to be astounded. It has a really good ‘Stretch’ feature, the main back track roller mechanism, I think you’re going to be thrilled with, on top of that, I think we mentioned it in the last interview, we put in the ‘Memory’ feature, which …
Alan: Oh, yeah.
Jim: We haven’t put in to any of our other chairs, it was kind of a test with that product, and it’s very simple to use. So, a user can go in and, you know, have the foot rollers on, have a ‘Kneading’ function, heat, music, whatever the case may be, design their massage, hit the ‘Memory’ button, so it remembers their massage …
Jim: Which is a great feature, and there’s four ‘Memory’ buttons. So, you can have four individual users with a preset massage, which we think is fantastic.
Alan: Well, I think so. I could name on one hand, the number of chairs I know of that have a memory function, and it’s less than five, so that’s a unique feature, and I think it’ll be something that people that own the chair will appreciate. They may not get how, they may not get the convenience of it, or the efficacy of it, until they actually try it, but I think that’s a nice feature that will pleasantly surprise new owners of that chair, but I am excited to get it in my showroom. Hopefully we’ll get it early next week, and we can start sitting on it, and experiencing it, and reviewing it, and having fun with it.
Jim: I think you’ll be thrilled with it, and like you started off with, the price point, I don’t think there’s a chair that exists at that price point, that encompasses all those different therapies.
Alan: Yeah, great price, and you know, especially when you consider the foot rollers in there. By the way, how many foot rollers – I know that foot rollers have, they can be anywhere from one to three rollers per foot – how many does the Iyashi have, how many does the 8100 have, and the 8500 have?
Jim: The 8100 has one roller per sole. It’s a different structure, it’s a little bit wider, so it has more coverage.
Jim: The 8500 has three per sole. The Iyashi, because of the design, the footrests have two per sole …
Jim: But that’s why we incorporated the airbag system to give you more coverage as it moves your feet across the rollers.
Alan: Well, I would, I’d never know, to sit in it, and have the rollers working. It’s not like I’m thinking ‘OK, there’s one, there’s two, there’s three,’ I mean, in just the overall experience, they all feel, you know, very similar. As a matter of fact, I’d say the Iyashi, with only two rollers, feels more comprehensive than the 8500, and I love the 8500 foot roller, but yet, there’s more in the 8500 than there is in the Iyashi. Now, I want to just touch on one more thing before we go to another topic. You mentioned earlier, when we were talking about the Iyashi, you talked about the ‘Rubbing’ feature. Now, this is something I’d never seen before, and Michael actually had to point that out to me, and I’ll explain it as far as I understand it, then you can maybe elaborate on it a bit. ‘Kneading’ is more of a circular motion, kind of up and down. and side to side. The ‘Rubbing’ is more of a shearing side to, a straight side to side, what we call in our industry, in the chiropractic and the massage therapy industry, call a transfriction massage, which I used a lot as a practitioner when I was in practice as a chiropractor. We would put our fingers on a taut or a hypertonic muscle, or a trigger point, and we would rub back and forth until – and we’d ask the patient to say, to let us know when the pain subsides – when the pain subsides, we’d push harder, and then when the pain subsided again, we’d push harder. That would typically get rid of a good knot in someone’s back, and this sounds to me like that. How did you come up with that feature, and tell me a little bit more about it.
Jim: Well, it is very similar, and again, we were just looking for a new therapy that we thought would be beneficial, and it’s sort of a mix – so obviously, ‘Kneading’ tends to be the more aggressive, more deep tissue massage, where depending on the user, some users love that, some don’t. Beyond that, you know, ‘Shiatsu,’ ‘Tapping,’ ‘Knocking,’ those are very different flavors of massage. So, we were looking for a feature that would be very therapeutic, yet soothing at the same time, that wouldn’t be as deep tissue, so if you had a more sensitive user, they’d be comfortable with the technique, but still have the benefits of a more aggressive massage, and that’s really how the development came about. You pretty much, excuse me, have it covered. It’s really – if you had a therapist working on you – it’s really almost a sensation of somebody doing that, up and down the spine, with their hands. It’s not the, when you have it ‘Kneading,’ you really feel the rollers, doing that on the spine, where the ‘Rubbing’ is almost a rubbing sensation up and down the back, which most users, when they feel that, really love it. It’s my favorite therapy in that chair.
Alan: Well, it’s fascinating because when Michael told me about it, I had to consciously focus on it and as soon as I was aware of it, I could feel the rollers going side to side instead of around and around. It’s a pretty cool feature, I’d not heard of it, or seen it before, but it reminded me very much of something we did therapeutically in chiropractic, so pretty cool, another nice touch that most people have probably no idea about, but another pleasant surprise.
Alan: Now, I noticed you recently discontinued the 8200, which we used to have in our showroom, and which was a popular chair. I had the 8200 and the 8500 side by side, and everybody seemed to go to the 8500. They’re virtually the same chair, except with the upper body, shoulder airbags, and the music system was a little different, and of course, the stretch program was different with the different airbags. How did you arrive at the decision to discontinue that, was that part of the plan originally, when you first came out with the 8500?
Jim: No, it wasn’t part of the original plan, but everything we try to do from a supply chain logistics standpoint to have the best chairs available, ready to ship, as you know, we’re almost never out of inventory.
Jim: When we looked at the same thing, the same results that you looked at, the 8500 was becoming more and more popular. To have all the colors in stock on both models, to us, coming in to this year, we started to have a concern with it – to be able to put the resources in to an 8100, in to the Iyashi, so we started looking at this year, and we got to a point, and we said ‘OK,’ a few months back, and said ‘OK, this looks like the cutoff point,’ – and we wound down the inventory, and then we announced it to the dealer network. So, it was really just a matter of demand from our dealer network, of what was moving, and where we wanted to put our resources.
Alan: Well, I have found in the past when a company comes out with models that are very, very similar, that the consumer will, I’d say nine times out of ten, go for the more expensive model, even if it’s a subtle change, and it’s a few hundred dollars difference, they’ll always go for the upper model. So, from my perspective, looking at it as – from my experience in the industry, I think it was a wise move to unload that one – and plus, if you’ve got inventory, and you continue to bring in inventory, inventory’s expensive, it’s not cheap. I mean, you’ve paid for that, it’s sitting there, and if you’re not moving it, that is a cost.
Jim: That’s true.
Alan: Albeit, you know, a latent cost, but it is nonetheless a cost. So, I think it was a smart move, and it doesn’t confuse the consumers quite as much – because there was always that question ‘What’s the difference, what’s the difference?’ – but I think that was a smart move on your part.
Jim: When you think about it, Doctor, you kind of hit the nail on the head – when you think about warehousing hundreds, if not thousands, of products – that’s a monthly cost that can become a rather large operating expense. So, that was obviously part of the equation, that coupled with the fact that the 8500 was becoming so popular, and not that we still didn’t move the 8200, it just didn’t warrant maintaining that in the product line.
Alan: Yeah, that 8500, that’s a good chair, and a very good price point, I mean, your price just went up a little bit a few weeks back, but I still feel that, that price point on that 8500 is a fantastic price point, for a great chair. Now, that kind of leads me to my next thing, you alluded to this early on in our conversation, but one of the things I love about Infinite Therapeutics, and the Infinity line, and the reason that I like carrying them is because of your customer support. There are times with certain carriers, or certain massage chair companies, over the years, where I have been hesitant to refer a chair to someone. I don’t just refer chairs because I make money on it, or because I got a higher profit margin on one model than the other. I’ll always recommend the chair that I feel is best for that customer, but if I – and that has to do with features and whatnot, but if I feel that a chair does not, either it has a huge failure rate, or the company does not offer, like instant, and when I say instant, I mean get back to the consumer the same day they call – customer support, I really have this subconscious hesitancy to refer that chair. I have never had that hesitancy with Infinite Therapeutics, I’m glad to say, I love their customer support, and I think that’s one of your strongest features.
Jim: Doctor, I think we touched upon this last year, we take a tremendous amount of pride in that we have an excellent support organization, like I mentioned last year, we’re in some other technologies, and it was a derivative of that. We pride ourselves, myself, the president of our company, Michael Garceau, providing the best support, having every product that we’ve ever had in the field, all the parts to support anything that we have, we have a six-person customer service staff that is on that from start to finish. So, when one of your customers calls in, they’re going to get a live body. They know the product frontward, backward, and sideways, and whatever that issue is, we can handle it. We’ll dispatch a tech, and have a tech on site to troubleshoot that issue, if need be, or have them on site with the right part to correct the problem, so it means a lot to us to have you say that. As the saying goes, the proof’s in the pudding, we’ve always felt like we’ve had the best service in the industry, and we plan on moving forward as well.
Alan: Well, I think it’s marvelous, and I’ll tell you, from my vantage point, I put myself out there to be very, very available to my customers, before and after the sale, I mean, they can call me on my cell phone anytime. When I get a phone call from a customer that says ‘I got a problem with my chair, what do I do,’ and then I give them the phone number of you, or whatever the company is who distributes the chair here in the United States, I don’t want to hear back from my customer again, unless it’s ‘Hey, thanks for helping me take care of it, everything’s fine.’ I do not – one of the worst indicators for me is when a customer calls back and says – ‘I just, I’m not getting through,’ or ‘It seems like they’re delaying,’ or ‘They’re taking their time,’ or ‘It’s been weeks or a month,’ or ‘I leave messages and no one returns my call,’ that stuff just, oh, that just makes my skin crawl because that reflects on me. I’m carrying your chair, so I am your representative, and if I think enough of your chairs to carry them, then they must be a good chair, but if people get poor customer support I’ll hear about it, and that, pardon my vernacular, but that pisses me off. Sorry to use that vernacular, I’m not a swearing man at all, but I get so upset by stuff like that, because I should be out of the loop altogether.
Jim: Absolutely, right.
Alan: To that point, I rarely if ever, do I get a call back from a customer saying ‘Those guys at Infinite Therapeutics, they’re not answering my calls, they’re not taking care of it.’ Or they might call back and say ‘There’s another problem, what’s that phone number again, I got to call,’ and then I give it to them, and then I don’t hear from them again, and that’s a credit to your customer support.
Jim: Thank you, Doctor. Again, there’s a lot that goes in to that, as you’re probably aware of, besides the people on the phone, and all of our employees have been with us well over five, six years – besides that, the systems behind that, that drive it – everything’s managed within the system, on a customer by customer basis, so when that customer, when an issue comes up, and they go in to that queue, they’re on the radar screen until that issue is dealt with, and they’re gone. So, it just doesn’t happen, if you don’t devote the people, and the resources, and the systems to manage that in the back end, that doesn’t happen. We feel like, not only do we have the people, but we have the systems, and the processes in place to manage that from start to finish. So, until that customer’s all set and they’re happy, they’re still on our radar screen, and we’re still working to make it right.
Alan: Good to know, and I think you touched on an important thing when you said systems, it’s having the protocols in place to take care of a customer. It’s not haphazard like, you know, put it on a Post-It note that gets shuffled under some papers, and we forget about them. So yes, having systems is crucial, yeah, kudos to you guys for having such a great customer support.
Jim: Thanks, Doctor.
Alan: Now, any new products on the horizon, and of course, I don’t expect you to tell me too much. I know, whenever a company calls me to tell me that they got something new coming out, there’s always this disclaimer ‘Now, don’t say anything on your blog, don’t say on your massage chair industry update video,’ but so I understand the discretion. But do have some other things on the drawing board?
Jim: We do, we do. We are probably going to have a derivative of the extended glute massage in another product. Conceptually, it’s there. We have a prototype, but as far as, like I’d said, the Iyashi was an 18-month development process. When we launch that, and when we bring it out, I certainly, I don’t think that will happen this year, but more than likely, if I had to put a rough time frame, it would be Q1, Q2 of 2014.
Alan: Great. Well, I’m looking forward to hear about it, and test it, and review it, and experience it, so I mean, it’s always exciting to get new models.
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