I was without my much beloved Fitbit Versa for more than a month.
I was not expecting such an eventuality at all, till I tried to replace the straps of my Fitbit which had worn out due to constant use (some would call it “excessive” use!). As I had written before, I used to walk more than 14,000 steps a day (which itself was the conclusion of a gradual reduction from 20,000 steps a day in the past).
I discovered that it was not that easy to pull out the pins holding the current strap to the Fitbit Versa pebble, though I saw couple of YouTube videos on the procedure. I wondered why Fitbit made it difficult for ordinary folks who do not have a mechanical inclination or fascination to deftly manage the pebble on one hand, and push away the pin’s protruding round head to release it from the strap mount. I struggled with it and got frustrated – as my walking tour was getting delayed, and I had no intention of walking out of my home without my Fitbit Versa which was less than 10 months old and which I though did a better job of tracking me compared to the previous two models I possessed. I have to leak the secret out here – I did evaluate other brands (before purchasing the Versa) such as Garmin, Apple Watch, etc., but reverted to Fitbit for comfort and ease of use while meeting my workout needs at a price point that was more acceptable to my wallet.
Continuing with my struggle to replace the strap of my Fitbit Versa, I eventually cut the current strap with a scissors (!) and almost wanted to pull out the remaining piece of the strap. Finally I gave up, with a serious intent of migrating to another brand. I walk a lot and do a fair bit of daily exercise, so a fitness tracker is a must for me, so I was wondering what to do.
Then, I hit upon the “idea” of checking the Fitbit Community Forums, Fitbit Troubleshooting, Fitbit Support, etc., on the Fitbit website. I was browsing around and chanced upon the “Live Chat” facility Fitbit Help, and thought why not chat with someone at Fitbit and find out what can be done with my Fitbit Versa. Singapore does not have a Fitbit operation or local support, so the only option was to connect directly with Fitbit in the U.S.
I chatted with someone on the Fitbit team and he was most helpful – probably that is their corporate culture, probably they do not get such requests from some 10,000 miles away (!), or the particular individual was very nice and proactive. I am not mentioning his name here but I should convey that I was rather pleased with his handling of my situation with a product from his company that I really loved. He was methodical – collected all the data on my purchase of the device, asked questions on what I did, asked for photos of the device and the purchase invoice to be sent via the Chat engine itself, etc., It went on for quite a while, but after he had gathered all that he wanted, he did not just close the chat with the usual revert of getting back to me in due course of time – instead he communicated to me that the Support Team has decided to replace my Fitbit Versa pebble with a new one along with a new strap. I was simply amazed, as I had not seen such an effective and consumer-friendly closure of a problem involving a personal product till then.
He followed up with me over email on specific steps to be taken by me to send the device back to their HQ and then wait for further advice. It took nearly 4 weeks to get the new device (around a week ago from now), but I was thankful for the overall effectiveness of the interactions with Fitbit Support and resolution of the problem by them. Several team members emailed me and interacted with me in the same professional manner that I had come to expect by then.
Of course, the issue now was not about removing any existing strap, but fixing the new strap onto the new Versa pebble. It was not a big struggle, but still the process required some deft maneuvering. I think that the minute tapering for positioning the pin on one end could be slightly deeper or “rounder” – I don’t know how to describe. I found that pulling forward the round pin head so that the reminder of the top end of the strap will fit in and the other pin head will get positioned required quite some effort. Nevertheless, I succeeded and announced to my wife that I have a new Fitbit Versa with a new strap, and she asked me to go ahead and start using it rightaway! She obviously did not like my whining about the lack of Versa during my walks over the past few weeks!!
I am now back on the road – for instance, I went walking to the MacRitchie Reservoir this morning and covered over 7,000 steps in approximately 75 minutes. My rhythm is back and my Fitbit Versa is fully back in action.
Coming to the experience or lack of it during the interim 4 weeks without a Fitbit, the most memorable conversation I had was with an office colleague of mine who was used to watching me steal the thunder of being #1 on the number of steps travelled every day, and competed with me for the top honours several times over the past couple of years. He was worried about me once he did not see me on the Fitbit community of data-sharing friends every morning! He asked me what happened……..!!! Obviously worried that I am incapacitated somehow…………
For me personally, it was listless – though I did walk for sometime everyday, it was not the same; whatever cannot be measured and tracked is useless. I thought of resuscitating my old Fitbit Alta HR, but then realised I had thrown away its unique charger. So, I resigned myself to the inevitability of receiving my new Versa, however long it took – eventually, it did arrive on 11th April, but alas, I was travelling overseas. So, my wife collected and my Versa had to wait for my return to Singapore on the 16th April – and the very first thing I did upon arriving at my home was to open the parcel from Fitbit! Of course, I could not wait!!
My Fitbit Versa is like my iPhone – it is a constant companion. I wear the Versa even while sleeping, and remove it only for my shower. Amazing, isn’t it?
My thanks to the Fitbit Support team and to the specific individuals on that team who helped me – they were outstanding in their professional service quality and proactive in their effective service delivery to a consumer who was located thousands of miles away with no local support. That shows true commitment to their products and their consumers. Kudos to Fitbit! I am looking at their stock now!!
Cheers, have a great weekend folks,
20th April 2019