Tesla: It's high time you upped your game!

FRC

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#1
IMHO, Tesla has done a fantastic job of producing unique and exceptional vehicles. But, it is quickly becoming imperative, for the survival of TSLA, that the customer service side of the business get the kind of attention that the manufacturing side has gotten to this point. Soon, Tesla will begin to sell more to the mainstream consumer and less to fanboys. I don't believe that mainstream purchasers will put up with the poor level of customer service that Tesla has provided to this point. Below is what I hope is a mid-term report card for the organization.

Production
Not many of us, excluding FUDsters, have an issue with the quality of the product at this time. The cars are simply amazing and continue to improve even post-
delivery. Early issues seem to have be corrected and current production appears to be spot on.
GRADE: A

Sales and Marketing
Tesla has to date been quite wishy-washy about how to accomplish sales objectives, but with the back-log of Model3 pre=orders, sales hasn't been a priority to
date. This is likely to change after ModelY back-log is caught up, so hopefully the company has a sales and marketing plan in development to meet their future
needs.
GRADE: Incomplete

Delivery
While early delivery short-comings have improved, deliveries still appear to be less than completely trust-worthy. Tesla must aspire to deliver the product as and when promised at a rate approaching 100%.
GRADE: C-

Post Sales Service:
The single biggest area of concern at present. Tesla seems unwilling or unable to service loyal customers after the sale. This ineptitude must change, and
soon, if the business model is to survive. IMHO, this area is now more critical to Tesla development of the ModelY, the Semi. the Pick-up or any thing else.
Drastic improvement is needed. If the disillusionment of the Fanboy base continues (and make no mistake, it has begun), Tesla will find themselves on a
very rocky road.
GRADE: F

Supercharging Network
Certainly one of the companies strongest assets. However, Tesla must be sure to continue development at a pace that is not outstripped by demand.
GRADE: B+

Promises:
The company continues to issues promises it cannot delivery upon. While this seems to have quieted lately, it needs to end forever. Under-promise, and
over-deliver. A simple business concept really.
GRADE: D-

How would your report card look?
 

JasonF

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#2
I try to look at this relatively.

I transitioned to a Model 3 from a Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi is pretty typical for Japanese car service trying to adapt to a U.S. market: They want to do the right thing by the customer post-sales, but the costs and legal obligations push them to crack down on things like warranty claims from time to time. They would like to offer A+ service, but they often have to partner with dealers that sell multiple kinds of cars, and Mitsubishi is low-volume enough that those dealers don't really care - so they hire just one Mitsubishi service rep and mechanic, and it gets really difficult to schedule appointments.

And yet in all of the years owning a Mitsubishi, I never really had any solid complaints about it. The service was still way better than with my dad's Chevrolet, and the car was way more reliable, and held up really well for 8 years.

So if Tesla can do at least that well for its first mass-market model, I'll be happy with it. I'm not going to expect the hand-holding personal concierge treatment that the Model S and X had before the 3 existed, because it's cost prohibitive for the 3. And so far, Tesla is doing better. I've never had anything as convenient as mobile service. It can be a pain to schedule sometimes, but so was calling the Mitsubishi dealer every day for a week or more to catch the one service rep. The car is solid and reliable (so far), and the upgrades are a great bonus - my car is almost a year old, and still not obsolete yet.

I guess a lot depends on which car you came from as to what your opinion might be. If you came from a Bentley or Rolls Royce, you're going to be disappointed. If you came from a Honda or Toyota, Tesla's service is a dream.
 

shareef777

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#3
I try to look at this relatively.

I transitioned to a Model 3 from a Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi is pretty typical for Japanese car service trying to adapt to a U.S. market: They want to do the right thing by the customer post-sales, but the costs and legal obligations push them to crack down on things like warranty claims from time to time. They would like to offer A+ service, but they often have to partner with dealers that sell multiple kinds of cars, and Mitsubishi is low-volume enough that those dealers don't really care - so they hire just one Mitsubishi service rep and mechanic, and it gets really difficult to schedule appointments.

And yet in all of the years owning a Mitsubishi, I never really had any solid complaints about it. The service was still way better than with my dad's Chevrolet, and the car was way more reliable, and held up really well for 8 years.

So if Tesla can do at least that well for its first mass-market model, I'll be happy with it. I'm not going to expect the hand-holding personal concierge treatment that the Model S and X had before the 3 existed, because it's cost prohibitive for the 3. And so far, Tesla is doing better. I've never had anything as convenient as mobile service. It can be a pain to schedule sometimes, but so was calling the Mitsubishi dealer every day for a week or more to catch the one service rep. The car is solid and reliable (so far), and the upgrades are a great bonus - my car is almost a year old, and still not obsolete yet.

I guess a lot depends on which car you came from as to what your opinion might be. If you came from a Bentley or Rolls Royce, you're going to be disappointed. If you came from a Honda or Toyota, Tesla's service is a dream.
I came from a Honda. Tesla service is abysmal compared to them.
 

Bokonon

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#4
I guess a lot depends on which car you came from as to what your opinion might be. If you came from a Bentley or Rolls Royce, you're going to be disappointed. If you came from a Honda or Toyota, Tesla's service is a dream.
Agreed... As a baseline, I think most people don't have very high expectations for their auto service experiences in general. I owned a 2003 VW Golf TDI for 8 years and brought it in for service as infrequently as possible, because every time I did, it felt as though I had to gird myself for battle. ("No, my brake pads and rotors don't need to be replaced AGAIN, because you somehow talked me into doing that six months ago." "Why is the labor rate for this visit twice as high as the last one? And why are you asking me to pay 50% more than the estimate you gave me this morning?" etc.)

So, in some ways, Tesla disappointing in the service department (albeit in different ways, like long waits for parts and appointments being canceled / rescheduled at the last minute) isn't uncommon for the industry. And yet... the resulting experience somehow feels worse than average for many people. Why is that?

I think a lot of Tesla's customer service and communication woes (and I'll include the delivery experience here) results from the high expectations that Tesla sets from the moment you land on their website or step into a showroom. The overarching message is, "We're not a traditional car company. We're selling cars the way they *should* be sold: no pressure, no haggling, self-service, exactly the options you want. You place an order, and it magically shows up a couple weeks later. It's just like buying an iPhone."

So after the thrill and simplicity of that initial purchase experience -- which I've never heard anyone complain about, unlikely at a traditional dealership where virtually EVERYONE complains -- the customer-experience bar has been set high. iPhone high. There's little reason for the buyer to expect the remainder of the experience to be any different.

Of course, from that moment forward, hurdles between the owner and pure Tesla bliss can and do arise: delivery dates can be pushed back (sometimes without an updated ETA), the car can arrive with cosmetic issues at delivery, and service appointments to correct those issues may not be available for weeks. None of these experiences feel congruent with buying an iPhone. And thus the buyer not only letdown, but unsure of what to expect from the company going forward (and perhaps even "swindled" on the earlier promise of the perfect car-ownership experience).

Now, this isn't to suggest that Tesla shouldn't try to live up to that high standard that they've set for themselves, or excuse the numerous instances where they've failed to do so. As a long-time fan, shareholder, and now owner, it's frustrating to see the company nail the hard engineering problems yet struggle so mightily with the "soft" customer-relationship problems that have been seemingly solved hundreds of different ways across a variety of consumer-oriented industries. When Elon seemed hyper-focused on solving these issues on the Q4 investor call earlier this year, I felt encouraged that change might be afoot... and perhaps it still is, even as we haven't seen much of it. My biggest concern right now though is that Elon's latest fixation on cost-cutting isn't likely to further those efforts, which not only require investment in internal systems and process improvement, but also high company morale. While I still think Tesla employees in general are among the most enthusiastic, loyal, and committed-to-the-mission workers out there, I worry that dipping into that well of motivation too often without replenishing it could create more problems than shaving a few more dollars out of the budget will solve.

</soapbox>
 

shareef777

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#5
I wouldn’t consider not being lied to or hiding damage a “high expectation”. For all the faults Honda had when I was negotiating the purchase of the car, it was mostly 5-star service after I became an owner.
 

Dr. J

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#6
I wouldn’t consider not being lied to or hiding damage a “high expectation”. For all the faults Honda had when I was negotiating the purchase of the car, it was mostly 5-star service after I became an owner.
Toyota was not like that for me. It was just run-of-the-mill dealership service, and it went downhill in the nearly 13 years I owned the car (Prius). I think Honda is an outlier, certainly in quality, but maybe also in service.
 

shareef777

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#7
Toyota was not like that for me. It was just run-of-the-mill dealership service, and it went downhill in the nearly 13 years I owned the car (Prius). I think Honda is an outlier, certainly in quality, but maybe also in service.
Best example I could think of was when I bought my 2018 Accord. A week after I took the car home I hit a pot hole and damaged the tire (wheel was fine). Took it back to them to buy a new tire and they didn’t charge me (they genuinely felt bad that I got a flat on a new car). That’s how you get a repeat customer (wound up buying my wife’s CRV from them). Tesla on the other hand makes me feel like I’m inconveniencing them by asking updates on fixes that should of occurred before I picked up the car.
 

Dale Gardner

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#8
Took it back to them to buy a new tire and they didn’t charge me (they genuinely felt bad that I got a flat on a new car).
The dealership would have submitted the warranty claim through Hankook though. Other general fixes or concerns they may take care of "for free" are generally also billed to the vehicle manufacturer through warranty. Franchise dealerships make most of their profit in service (which is especially easy when they can bill the manufacturer and not have to convince the customer to pay). They won't be giving out freebies or services unless a manufacturer is footing the bill, they are guaranteed to be getting some additional profit, or they are expecting to influence the survey response from said customer which affects their dealership rating.
 

shareef777

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#9
The dealership would have submitted the warranty claim through Hankook though. Other general fixes or concerns they may take care of "for free" are generally also billed to the vehicle manufacturer through warranty. Franchise dealerships make most of their profit in service (which is especially easy when they can bill the manufacturer and not have to convince the customer to pay). They won't be giving out freebies or services unless a manufacturer is footing the bill, they are guaranteed to be getting some additional profit, or they are expecting to influence the survey response from said customer which affects their dealership rating.
It was a sidewall year, not covered by warranty. Service billed me till they realized the car was bought there just a week prior and did a courtesy credit. Wasn’t expected, but very appreciated.
 
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#10
Biggest concern here is when the non fanboys & non fangirls start buying the cars and not being as forgiving as we are.

Pain points include:
1. Poor service experience
2. Poor delivery experience
3. Sticker price fluctuations
4. Overcrowded superchargers
5. Software glitches

Let’s hope Tesla gets these addressed very soon.
 

shareef777

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#11
Biggest concern here is when the non fanboys & non fangirls start buying the cars and not being as forgiving as we are.

Pain points include:
1. Poor service experience
2. Poor delivery experience
3. Sticker price fluctuations
4. Overcrowded superchargers
5. Software glitches

Let’s hope Tesla gets these addressed very soon.
Agreed. Think the model why can live through these pain points as well. Though the pickup/semi are a different breed all together. There won’t be much room for poor service when it comes to vehicles people rely on to earn a living.
 

JasonF

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#12
I wouldn’t consider not being lied to or hiding damage a “high expectation”. For all the faults Honda had when I was negotiating the purchase of the car, it was mostly 5-star service after I became an owner.
A lot of that also depends on the specific dealer you bought it from. Which makes things easier for Tesla to fix, because once they improve the service experience, it's improved everywhere. If the Honda dealer you went to goes out of business, the next one you pick could be a nightmare.
 

FRC

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#13
A lot of that also depends on the specific dealer you bought it from. Which makes things easier for Tesla to fix, because once they improve the service experience, it's improved everywhere. If the Honda dealer you went to goes out of business, the next one you pick could be a nightmare.
I think you make a valid point regarding system-wide improvements. But when? When will Tesla even BEGIN to make noticeable customer service improvements?
 

shareef777

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#14
A lot of that also depends on the specific dealer you bought it from. Which makes things easier for Tesla to fix, because once they improve the service experience, it's improved everywhere. If the Honda dealer you went to goes out of business, the next one you pick could be a nightmare.
Been waiting 3 weeks for a simple visor clip. So, don’t think ANY dealership of any other manufacturer would be this bad!

I should add I created a service request via the Tesla app, and that request was closed with zero response. Tesla service is simply non-existent. I have yet to find a person that understands or cares about the customer after the sale.
 

MelindaV

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#15
Been waiting 3 weeks for a simple visor clip. So, don’t think ANY dealership of any other manufacturer would be this bad!
I'd waited for mechanical parts (as in needed to have the car running) from Ford for over 3 weeks. I'd not have been too worried about waiting 3 weeks for a visor clip. but a pain waiting for a part needed to drive the car.
 

shareef777

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#16
I'd waited for mechanical parts (as in needed to have the car running) from Ford for over 3 weeks. I'd not have been too worried about waiting 3 weeks for a visor clip. but a pain waiting for a part needed to drive the car.
First world problems, I know. I just wanna be done with the service center. This 3 weeks for the clip is after a prior 3 weeks of getting various other issues fixed. Going on almost 3 months after purchase, I didn't expect to still be speaking with my service center. Maybe I've lucked out with every other vehicle I've ever owned, but I've never had a vehicle in service for more then a week. And that includes accidents.
 

mswlogo

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#17
A Report Card is a great idea.

  • Production
    • They still seem to have issues. Part of it is transportation issues that damage cars. Stress cracks in roof glass, paint issues of every type imaginable, leaks, water in bumper and vulnerable under car liner. But the fundamental cars look solid.
    • GRADE: B+
  • Sales and Marketing
    • They still seem to be trying to figure things out. Wishy-Washy is pretty accurate.
    • GRADE: C
  • Delivery
    • I think there have been so many good deliveries it's unfair to give to low a rating here. Part of the issues is transportation. And in some cases customers that are to nitpicky and they go to fix something and make it worse.
    • GRADE: B
  • Post Sales Service:
    • I've had excellent service and so have the bulk of their customers. One of the biggest issues is part shortages though. And some overstressed SCs. They are also pushing back on some services like paint and even stress cracks in glass.
    • GRADE: B
  • Spare Parts:
    • Parts shortages this is one of their biggest issues. It makes service look bad, cars subject to more damage while waiting, and is/will cause insurance rates to go up (rental fees alone). Also ease of cars getting totaled.
    • GRADE: C-
  • Supercharging Network
    • I don't think they could be doing a whole lot better here. I think the 80% limit is great idea to help control it.
    • GRADE: A-
  • Promises:
    • I knew FSD would be a long ways off when I got it. And I don't mind things being late (with in reason). What bothers me most is Elon thinks what we have now "works" and moving on to next steps. Hello !!
    • GRADE: B-
 
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#18
A lot of that also depends on the specific dealer you bought it from. Which makes things easier for Tesla to fix, because once they improve the service experience, it's improved everywhere. If the Honda dealer you went to goes out of business, the next one you pick could be a nightmare.
I really think this might be the case because my delivery, SC vist, and mobile service visits have all been well organized and efficient. Might just have a really good team in the Raleigh area... I can't say I have any complaints at all with Tesla and their service so far. I agree with the supercharger comment, they need to keep pushing to expand and improve their network since lay-people won't put up with the same stuff we do.
 

shareef777

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#19
A Report Card is a great idea.

  • Production
    • They still seem to have issues. Part of it is transportation issues that damage cars. Stress cracks in roof glass, paint issues of every type imaginable, leaks, water in bumper and vulnerable under car liner. But the fundamental cars look solid.
    • GRADE: B+
  • Sales and Marketing
    • They still seem to be trying to figure things out. Wishy-Washy is pretty accurate.
    • GRADE: C
  • Delivery
    • I think there have been so many good deliveries it's unfair to give to low a rating here. Part of the issues is transportation. And in some cases customers that are to nitpicky and they go to fix something and make it worse.
    • GRADE: B
  • Post Sales Service:
    • I've had excellent service and so have the bulk of their customers. One of the biggest issues is part shortages though. And some overstressed SCs. They are also pushing back on some services like paint and even stress cracks in glass.
    • GRADE: B
  • Spare Parts:
    • Parts shortages this is one of their biggest issues. It makes service look bad, cars subject to more damage while waiting, and is/will cause insurance rates to go up (rental fees alone). Also ease of cars getting totaled.
    • GRADE: C-
  • Supercharging Network
    • I don't think they could be doing a whole lot better here. I think the 80% limit is great idea to help control it.
    • GRADE: A-
  • Promises:
    • I knew FSD would be a long ways off when I got it. And I don't mind things being late (with in reason). What bothers me most is Elon thinks what we have now "works" and moving on to next steps. Hello !!
    • GRADE: B-
Nothing less then a C-? You grade on a scale ;-)
 
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#20
A Report Card is a great idea.


  • Post Sales Service:
    • I've had excellent service and so have the bulk of their customers. One of the biggest issues is part shortages though. And some overstressed SCs. They are also pushing back on some services like paint and even stress cracks in glass.
    • GRADE: B
I've said it before, the Vancouver SC is stellar - Sean (is it still Sean?) and his team are dedicated, knowledgeable and honest. Sadly this seems to be a Tesla service outlier.

But I think that Post Sales Service is more than the SC.

With a company like Tesla where much of the support is centralized (I can phone a honda/mits/volvo/ford SC with a question or problem, with Tesla doing that is impossible) and online and software related you need to include the phone and email support in the evaluation of Post Sales Service.

When you have reports of
  • tickets that just get closed or lost
  • misinformation being spewed about
  • bug reports that actually don't go to Tesla but are stored until the next SC visit
  • general mis-satisfaction with service
  • "love the car hate the company" a common mantra
then you have to consider this a key opportunity for Tesla to improve.

My grade for Post Sales Service? - F+