How Tesla Can Improve Its Customer Service

Tesla is a company that I care about because its mission is important to me. (Full disclosure: I’m a shareholder with a very minute number of shares.) I think what Tesla is doing for the many industries it touches is more than revolutionary, but necessary if we are going to evolve as a species from being dependent on fossil fuels to being fully sustainable.

I’ve heard stories from friends who own Teslas complain about the customer service (or lack of) they’ve received. This isn’t to say that Tesla is on the level of Comcast in regards to customer service, but the complaint has been consistent over the years and I think that Tesla could benefit from listening to those of us who genuinely care for the company and its mission.

I’ve thought about sharing my thoughts on this before, but haven’t fully been able to figure out how to articulate them, especially since I don’t own a Tesla and have never dealt with their customer service teams for myself. I don’t have my own experience to share yet, but pretending it’s not a problem will not help Tesla, its mission, or its customers.

Others such as Sawyer Merritt and Trevor Page who are very supportive have had issues with Tesla’s customer service. Sawyer shared a thread on Twitter that I found very constructive and I think Tesla would benefit from hearing Sawyer out.

One area I’d really like to see Tesla improve is customer service. The Tesla fleet is growing, and fast. I’m not under the impression that Tesla is expanding their customer service/service centers at the same rate. Communication in many instances also needs to be improved.

“Many customers are at times left in the dark about their deliveries, cars issues, etc. Fortunately, all my interactions with Tesla have been perfect, but I know many in the community that haven’t had my experience. I just think Tesla CS employees are overwhelmed.

“Hopefully Tesla can ramp up hiring on that front and communication becomes a little better. I have no doubt that it will. Tesla employees are hard-working people, & I hear from a lot of them. They are passionate about the mission, helping people & I worry at times about burn out.

“Just thought I’d share some thoughts is all. As a $TSLA shareholder, I want Tesla to perform the best it can and to succeed. Tesla has done an incredible job at ramping up deliveries and dealing with the higher flows. I know they can do something similar with customer service.”

Trevor Page noted that he’s been saying this for three years, that if Tesla didn’t scale its customer service along with the Model 3, things would be messy. Based on numerous complaints from the Tesla community, Trevor hasn’t seen signs of improvement in this area.

Not everyone has had issues with Tesla’s customer service, however. There are now far more than a million owners, and as that number grows, so will bad experiences. Tesla is a large company with many employees. Employees are human. Humans tend to make mistakes and some don’t have good intentions, and some just have bad days. Customer service as an industry is one of the most stressful to work in. Having been in that industry, I’ve been yelled at, had the cops called on me because I wouldn’t lower a price, I’ve been hit (and yes, I hit back and didn’t lose my job).

I’m not saying Tesla’s employees are going through the extremes I’ve gone through, but am emphasizing that as a whole, the customer service industry isn’t the most caring about the welfare of its employees and employees sometimes mess up due to the stress of this.

In a private message, Sawyer shared more thoughts with me about this problem. “While I don’t own a Tesla yet (I have a Model Y on order), I do hear from thousands of customers. While the customer service experience and communication is great for some, it’s not so great for others. I’ve been a Tesla shareholder for years. I love Tesla and want to see them succeed. As Tesla continues to scale, issues are to be expected. I’m not saying I know what the exact solution is, but some improvements can definitely be made.”

Speaking of solutions, I have an idea.

How Tesla Can Solve This Problem

This is a tricky problem for Tesla to solve given the fact that there are a lot of diehard critics who really want Tesla to fail. These critics have gone as far as filing fake complaints with the NHTSA on Tesla, trespassing on Tesla’s property to stalk and harass employees, and making fake accounts on Twitter to complain about their cars while uploading photos they found from Google.

In an over-the-air software update, Tesla should launch a customer service portal for its customers to log issues, and then once that ticket is solved or closed, have customers fill out a survey as to how Tesla handled the issue. The survey should ask questions such as:

How did we do?

What can we do better?

Are you satisfied with your service? Why or why not?

Many companies give out prizes for doing customer service surveys. Perhaps Tesla can do some type of similar system, but the prize could be a free item in the Tesla shop or $40 off or something.

Doing this through the cars or owner app basically ensures that only Tesla customers can honestly and privately have their voices heard. Also, with Tesla’s ability to track data, they can tell which customer service representative handled a case, and if that person was rude or outright lied, corrective measures can be taken. (Though, Tesla’s larger problem seems to be lack of communication altogether.)

Sawyer and I both care about Tesla and its mission, and although we don’t have Tesla cars yet, we are invested in the company and its mission. To some, this may “disqualify” our opinions on the matter, but I think we are more than qualified to speak on this topic because we care and want to see Tesla overcome this problem, which has been a thorn in its side for quite a while.


 

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