Transcript of Video Titled "Mike Stearns - Massage Chair Relief Customer Interview"
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Dr. Alan Weidner: Hi, I'm Dr. Alan Weidner from 'Massage-Chair-Relief.com' and today we are visiting with Mike Stearns, who is one of our customers who purchased a Luraco iRobotics 7 from us within the recent past. And Mike has agreed to visit with us and do this interview to talk a little bit about his experience of shopping for a chair, buying the chair, using the chair, how – and Mike, of course, to start off, I'm most interested – well, first of all, thanks so much for being on this.
Mike Stearns: You're very welcome.
Alan: And like I said – or like we've been talking – it's taken us forever to get everything working, the software – the license in there, and the audio, and for heaven's sake, it's been a fiasco. You’ve been extremely patient, thank you.
Mike: Hey, it's software, that’s the way it is.
Alan: Oh, man. Well, it's probably not the software, it's the idiot trying to get it working. That’s the problem, but anyway, needless to say, it looks like – and I'm really scared now, I got to make sure it is still working – it looks like it is recording, yes, thank goodness. Anyway, let's begin with you telling me a little bit about how to, or how you arrived at the decision, A). to buy a chair, and then of course, to decide on the Luraco.
Mike: Yeah, sure, OK. Well, I was actually on a trip down to Nashville for a company conference, and was there hoofing it back and forth from my hotel to the conference center, which was just under a mile each way, usually lugging a briefcase. I had a bout with sciatica kicking up, and on the return trip, lugging a heavy suitcase through the airport. I had about, oh, a couple of hours to kill, stopped in at a waiting area at the airport, had a little bar there, and got myself a drink, and noticed next to where I was sitting, enjoying my drink, there were two massage chairs. And I thought 'Hmm, OK, I haven’t sat on one of these before, but I'll give it a try', and I fed it my ATM card, and sacrificed $5 to get a massage, and I actually found it quite helpful, and it took some of the stiffness out of my back. And when I got home, I decided that I was going to investigate whether or not such devices existed for the home, because I really didn’t know, and I found that not only do they exist, but they exist with many more features than an airport massage chair has, which didn’t have anything for the legs or the feet.
Mike: So, I did a little looking online, ran across some of your videos very quickly, because they are pretty prolific on the Internet, and you come across as the preeminent individual with massage chairs in the US. So, you know, I considered your expertise, and I did a little research, decided on looking at a few chairs. The one that I had in mind was actually the DreamWave by Inada. I wanted to try them out, and I found a local retail store that I visited, and they had three chairs on their showroom floor, that was it. They had a DreamWave from Inada, they had one from – and if I mispronounce the company's name, I apologize – I think it was Cozzia …
Mike: I believe. And then the third one was from Human Touch, and that was the Novo, which is a very futuristic-looking chair. It was a little too in the future for my personal taste, as far as its appearance, although I liked the way it acted.
Mike: The DreamWave was pretty dreamy, but it lacked foot rollers, and had a fairly clunky remote. It looked like something out of the late '90s, quite honestly. And then the third chair, the Cozzia, the issue I had with that, was although it had foot rollers, and had an L-track, it was a little bit harsher than I would’ve liked, and it also was making noises that the other two more expensive chairs didn’t make …
Mike: Which made me question how durable that chair would be in the long run.
Mike: So, I left thinking 'Well, DreamWave is the way to go,' but I wasn’t impressed very much with the customer service at this retail store. The one gentleman that dealt with me, it was his first day. He really didn’t know much of anything, I knew more than he did, just from my online research.
Mike: Then the other person at the store was busy with other things. So, they didn’t impress me a lot, and I read a lot of very positive things about Massage Chair Relief, so I thought I'd give you guys a call, and I called your 800 number, and the phone was answered by Michael Nguyen, who I believe is your manager at Cerritos …
Mike: Out in California.
Mike: I'm not sure if he answered because he's supposed to, or because my phone number has a 714 area code, and he thought I was local. I've actually relocated to Kansas City now, but anyway, Michael was extraordinarily helpful.
Mike: He listened to what I was looking for, he offered some suggestions, but he asked questions, then he provided answers, and he was one, originally, that suggested I might consider doing some more research in to the Luraco iRobotics i7 chair.
Mike: It was in roughly the same price range, so it's not, you know, it's a fairly pricey chair …
Mike: As the Inada DreamWave, but it also offered the foot rollers I was looking for. It offered a much more, not only contemporary, but I think user-friendly remote.
Mike: It looks very much like a smartphone.
Mike: And it had some other kind of cool features, the ability to plug an SD card in to the remote, and store your music on there, and then play it back. Now, the speakers on the i7 are – I wouldn’t call them super high-quality audiophile-type speakers …
Mike: They're not, but they do – you know, they not only give you voice response that exists in, I think, five different languages.
Mike: In fact, well, let me go on with the story. So, you know, the issue was I had not had an opportunity to actually sit in one, and see if I liked it.
Mike: I happened to have a business trip to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area coming up the following week …
Mike: And Michael told me that oh, the Inada chair, or excuse me, the Luraco chair was the only US-made chair. The others, the Inada was Japanese, and most of the others were Chinese …
Mike: In their origin. And I said 'Oh, where are they based?' Arlington, Texas. Well, I was going down there to do some teaching. My 88-year-old mother happens to live in Arlington, or not in Arlington, in Grand Prairie, right adjacent to Arlington, and I was planning to stay with her to make my company happy and reduce hotel expenses.
Alan: Yeah, good.
Mike: So, anyway, Michael arranged for me, on fairly short notice, to get a tour of the Luraco facility. I was met by two very nice women, Robin, and I believe the other lady's name was Julie, if I remember, but we got the royal treatment. I actually dragged my 88-year-old mother with me, who was not purchasing a chair, but they treated her very, very nicely. And we got a chance to see the impressive front office section, which was marble floors, squeaky clean, by the way, all kinds of awards on the wall, in to the middle section, which was the manufacturing-and-design facilities, as well as quality control.
Mike: And I was particularly impressed with, just not only the cleanliness and organization of the facility, but also the professionalism. And I want to tell you, as we went through that facility, every worker we encountered, came up, shook my hand …
Mike: Introduced themselves. Yeah, I mean, I was kind of blown away with that level of customer service.
Mike: And then we went, and you know, I want to mention too, there's this one gentleman, who has a job, he sits in a glass cage that’s probably 12 x 12', probably 10' tall, and he sits in there with one chair at a time and quality checks the chair, and he's got a little microphone with a decibel meter on it, because they're very concerned that their chairs are quiet. And I got to tell you, that’s got to be a pretty pleasant job to have is just test massage chairs all day long, I was pretty envious. Anyway, we ended up in the – toward the rear of their facility is a showroom, and a very nice showroom – I test drove that chair for at least a half an hour, and was very impressed with not only the remote control, the quality of the chair …
Mike: But also, the fact it did have what I wanted that the DreamWave didn’t, like the foot rollers.
Mike: And the voice response, in fact, my mother who was born in Germany, the ladies at Luraco put it in German language, so instead of saying 'Heat on,' it would say 'Hitze song on.' So, it spoke German to her, and she was just really impressed with that. And I also said, I asked them 'Well, do you folks sell direct? Do you prefer we go through your distributors?' And they said 'Well, if you have a distributor, we've got a good network, we would prefer you go through them,' and I had decided then and there that – oh, and they also, this is kind of an important part – they also were having a special Mother's Day sale …
Mike: Which saved me a bunch of money, OK, and I decided that I would give Michael a call back since he's who I had dealt with …
Mike: And he had been just super, super friendly, and if he could offer me their Mother's Day sale, and a couple other things I asked for, I would commit to buying a chair there and then, and I did.
Mike: So, he was just super. I gave him my credit card number, and set up for white-glove delivery service, and I was still going to be in Dallas for another week and a half or so, but made arrangements for them to deliver the chair when I got back …
Mike: And he did that. So, when I got back from Dallas, and went to my mailbox, I opened up my mailbox, and there was a little box from you, and in the box were some candies, and my favorite coffee mug right now, OK …
Alan: Yeah, I like that. Sometimes they get broken in shipment, so I'm glad to see this one made it.
Mike: Oh, this one's been through the dishwasher several times, it's fine.
Mike: And even a couple packs of hot chocolate to enjoy in my new chair, and then the chair was delivered the following Monday by three very nice people. They showed up, the chair consisted of probably three or four boxes, if I remember. And I had done some measuring, because it ended up downstairs …
Mike: In my gameroom. And now, I don't know, I almost hesitate doing this, I'm going to try to bring a photo up, without losing this whole thing.
Mike: That'll be totally my fault, but we're going to try this. OK, let's see, 'Conversation,' oh, where is it? 'Share screens,' and I don't know, can you see this right now on your screen?
Alan: Nothing there, besides you.
Mike: OK, how about now?
Alan: Oh, there we go. Yeah, well …
Mike: OK, so what you're seeing is Luraco …
Alan: Oh, this, it's gotten smaller, it kind of zoomed in, can you bring it out a bit?
Mike: Well, I think it's full screen here.
Alan: The first picture, it showed the room, then it kind of came in even closer, and I couldn’t, I can't …
Mike: Oh OK.
Alan: I can only see the top of the two chair backs.
Mike: Well, OK, let's go back so we don’t lose the call, but let me just tell you, let me go back here to …
Alan: I'm sure glad you know what you're doing.
Mike: Not really. OK, where am I here, you got a blank screen right now?
Alan: No, I'm looking at your desktop.
Mike: Oh, OK, well …
Alan: You're in there somewhere.
Mike: I'm in there somewhere. Skype, here we go. There you are, OK, then let me, somehow I'm in here twice, you got me back now?
Alan: I don’t see you, I see, no, I don’t see you at all.
Mike: How about now?
Alan: No, I see, no, I see my name on it, with …
Mike: Son of a gun, well …
Alan: I can see that something is moving, like I can see that, it looks like …
Alan: Like I see the menu, the Skype menu, and then behind it, it looks like there's a window where you should be.
Mike: Well, sorry about that, I probably should not have tried that.
Alan: That’s alright.
Mike: Yeah, I mean, I'm seeing you, and I see me broadcasting right now, so there may be something you need to do on …
Alan: Just a minute. I see your, like I see your, it says 'Mike Stearns Online,' and it has my name, and – oh, just a minute – oh, I saw something else pop up there, it's like I …
Alan: It's like I can see – see, I see your desktop again – because you just moved the Skype box down.
Mike: OK, so I need to un-share my desktop I think is the deal. Yeah, I wanted to show you this setup, because it related to the delivery here. Let's see, 'Audio,' 'Conversation,' so now we got 'Share Screen,' 'Stop Sharing Screen.'
Alan: There you are.
Mike: I'm back, OK, I'm sorry, maybe you can edit that out, I don't know.
Alan: Well, I wouldn’t even know how.
Mike: OK, anyway, I was trying to share with you a picture of the chair down in – down in what is my media room – but the point is, it was down two flights of stairs.
Mike: And these three folks actually navigated – because the chair ships without the arms on it – they were able to navigate down the two flights of stairs.
Mike: Set it up, we even had your video, or no it wasn’t, it was from Luraco, but it had to do with the installation steps …
Mike: Just to make sure that they didn’t miss anything, and they didn’t.
Mike: And I even invited one of the folks to take a test ride in the chair, which he did, didn’t want to leave then, but those guys …
Alan: It's a pretty easy chair to assemble, did you see that? It was pretty easy.
Mike: Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I had watched the video, and I brought it up for them, just to, again, kind of so I could be a supervisor, and make sure that nothing got missed …
Mike: But they knew what they were doing, and they set it up, and took all the boxes away. So, the white-glove service, I'd say it's, you know, if you're not real handy, it's probably well worth the money for that.
Mike: And I've had the chair now for a better part of two months, I guess. I enjoy the heck out of it.
Alan: OK, have you noticed any other changes, like I mean, when you first sat in that massage chair in the airport …
Mike: Yeah, yeah?
Alan: So many months ago, and you noticed a change when you sat in it, have you continued to notice that change? Have you noticed anything else?
Alan: From, therapeutically?
Mike: Yeah, well, first of all, I had some tightness in my lower back, and I've had some trauma to my back over the years. I tend to do things that maybe are a little bit on the fringe of adrenaline-junky stuff, but I'm also a klutz.
Mike: And so yeah, I, let's see, I injured my back in 1984 in a skydiving accident …
Alan: Oh, my heavens.
Mike: And in about 1994, about 10 years later, I had a head-on collision with a Waverunner. I was on the Waverunner, the boat hit me …
Alan: Oh, my goodness.
Mike: Broke my back, actually, some bones in the back, and there were some other things as well. I got in a car accident, so I've had some back problems that ended up with some deterioration of the discs in my lower back, and also in my neck a little bit.
Mike: And every once in a while, sciatica kicks up. What I have noticed with the chair, number one, it does a great job of alleviating that. It doesn’t necessarily go away altogether …
Mike: But it loosens things up enough that, you know, I feel much, much better.
Mike: And I noticed that immediately, OK?
Alan: OK, good.
Mike: OK, the other area I've noticed is in the neck.
Alan: Uh huh.
Mike: Certain, the Luraco, it has, I believe, nine preset programs in it, and depending upon the program you select, it might concentrate a little more on the neck, or lower back, or it might go down the spine a little more, but I've noticed muscle relief in that area. So, yeah, loosening up, just feeling better, and I love the 'Night' mode, by the way, which is one of the program modes, and …
Alan: Well, why do you like that one?
Mike: Because it helps me sleep.
Alan: It really does?
Mike: Oh, yeah, yeah, and I've noticed that, you know, if I sit in my chair right before I go to bed, in that 'Night' mode, I set it for a half an hour, that I fall asleep within minutes after hitting the pillow.
Mike: Yeah, and I have actually fallen asleep in the chair a few times.
Alan: Yeah, it's a very quiet chair, it's easy to fall asleep in it, it's very quiet.
Mike: It is, yeah, yeah, it is, but I, you know, I love the fact that it has the preprogrammed mode, but you have manual override on all of it.
Alan: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Mike: I love the heaters in the seat, and in the back, and in the feet. The feet rollers are great.
Mike: I love the ability to also save users.
Alan: Right, yeah.
Mike: So, after, because it does have a rather lengthy measurement program, it's about two minutes to go through that initial measurement, but it will save all of that.
Mike: So, if I load the user up at the beginning, and pick whatever program I want, boom, I'm done, and enjoying it. So, it's been well worth every penny I spent on it.
Alan: Has there been anything about it that you wish maybe it would have, that it doesn’t? Or, a feature that maybe you would like to see in a chair?
Mike: Some of it's a little futuristic. I would love to see it WiFi-enabled to allow me to go online, set up a custom program online, with features I want, and then upload it to the remote control.
Mike: That would be a nice feature. I would love to see maybe the next version offer not only S-track, but L-track, and I don't know what's involved in the engineering of all of that …
Mike: To pay a little more attention to the back of the thighs …
Mike: And maybe a little firmer on the trap muscles.
Mike: But they have made improvements since that first chair came out.
Mike: They did put a Velcro strip now under the headpiece …
Mike: So, that secures it better than it did, and you get more downward pressure …
Mike: From the airbags, and they’ve also put the side pocket now, for the remote, I'm sorry, the pocket for the remote on the side of the chair, rather, on the top.
Mike: So, it's made it a lot more convenient to get to.
Mike: So, even though it's still the i7, they introduced, I guess, a couple of years ago, they have been continually making improvements in it.
Alan: Yeah, I like that about them. They're very responsive to feedback from customers and distributors, and they try to make changes to accommodate that, like the Velcro strip, like the side pocket. When the chair first came out, the rollers didn’t go far enough in to the neck, to dig in to the neck, and that chair is a dual-roller chair. It doesn’t have four rollers, it's got two …
Alan: So, it, by definition, it should be digging in to your tissues a little bit harder, but it wasn’t at first, so they made a change to the track, and they fixed it, and I'm really impressed with how responsive they are, and the fact that they can adjust most of that stuff right there in Arlington, it's pretty cool that they can make, that they have the ability to make changes quick …
Alan: Especially engineering changes, so I really like that as well. Now, for someone that’s shopping for a chair, Mike, any pieces of advice that you would give to them, after you’ve been through this process, and whatnot? Any nuggets of wisdom that you'd share?
Mike: I'd say call you.
Alan: Thank you, or Michael, I guess.
Mike: Alright. I tell you what, and I'm not saying this just because we're conversing together, or because you gave me a free coffee mug, but my experience, not only with Luraco, but your company, with Massage Chair Relief, has probably been the finest customer service experience I've ever had in my life, and I'm not a young guy.
Alan: Wow, thank you.
Mike: Right, it's very rare to find a company that pays such attention to its customers, and ensures that they are happy. And you know, when I was talking with Michael Nguyen, he didn’t high pressure me at all, he offered his information, and I found it extraordinarily useful, and you know, and you’ve continued to keep contact with me after the sale. So, I've received a couple of letters from you, and emails, and things like that, and your knowledge is probably second to none in the country, just looking at the videos you put out there.
Mike: I don't know if you’ve ever counted them, but I'm sure it's a bunch.
Alan: Yeah, it's quite a few.
Mike: So, yeah, I'd say find somebody who knows what they're talking about, like you, or like Michael.
Mike: And because what I found with you guys is you gave me unbiased opinions about chairs of all price ranges.
Alan: Right, good.
Mike: You know, instead of trying to point me in one direction or the other, other than saying 'Here are the features I'm looking for,' and offering up, here's a chair that delivering on those features.
Alan: Good, that’s the way it should be, and that’s the way we try to do it, and I'm glad that you had that experience, I really am. And Michael's a great guy, Michael's knowledgeable, and he's helpful, and he'd bend over backward for you, that’s for sure, and we try to do that, but I appreciate that endorsement.
Mike: I'll be out in California in a couple weeks, maybe I'll make it over to the Cerritos store, and actually meet him face to face.
Alan: Well, let me know when you're there, because I'll be there on the 8th, and maybe if we're there at the same time, we'll all do lunch together or something like that, that'd be great.
Mike: Actually, I will be there on the 8th.
Mike: OK, yeah, I'm flying out on the 30th of August, so, or July, excuse me.
Alan: It's July, and you'll be there on the 8th, well, maybe …
Mike: I'll be there two weeks, yeah.
Alan: Maybe we can coordinate a gettogether at the showroom, and then go for some lunch. That would be great if we could do that.
Mike: That'd be great, I have a friend who's interested in buying a chair from you too, so …
Alan: Well, I …
Mike: But I got your emails on your referral program, so I want my $100 if he buys one.
Alan: Well, I'd gladly pay it to you, but I also feel like I owe you a lunch for all of the hassle it took to get this bloody recording started. In the beginning, it took us probably 45 minutes before we could finally get going, and knock on wood, it all recorded well. But Mike, I really appreciate your time, you’ve been magnificent. Thanks for your patience, but especially for your insights. That’s so helpful to other people that're, you know, trying to decide what chair to get, or what features they want, or maybe even try to decide what retailer they want to go with, you know, you’ve been great. Thank you so much.
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Mike: Alright, Dr. Weidner, well, very nice talking with you …
Mike: And you know that awkward middle piece there, where I tried to show the picture, maybe you can edit that out, if there's a way to do it.
Alan: I'll see if I can figure it out, but I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it, but maybe it'll just make it look that much more genuine, so that’s OK, but …
Mike: Yeah, alright, well, it's genuine, that’s for sure.
Alan: Thanks so much, Mike.
Mike: Alright, so nice talking with you.
Mike: Have a great day.
Alan: We'll see you.
Mike: OK, bye bye now.
Alan: Bye bye.
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