Thursday, September 21, 2017

What Elon Musk’s Tweet Can Teach Us About Customer Experience

The name Elon Musk usually conjures up visions of grandeur: the genius behind the cutting edge Tesla, the man who wants to get us to Mars. I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch for me to say that he’s today’s poster child for innovation. But one of his latest tweets painted him in a new light–one that is a little less tech-focused and a lot more customer-focused.

Here’s the backstory: a Tesla shopper under the Twitter handle @Bobby_Gupta did what many customers nowadays do after experiencing a less-than-satisfactory in-store experience…he turned to Twitter.

It’s a common practice for unsatisfied shoppers to vent their poor experiences on social media and tag the brand’s handle, or even a higher-up’s personal account. And it’s even more common for those brands or leaders to never respond. But this time, Elon took a break from Mars expeditions and Model 3 preparations to respond:

Not only did Elon respond to the unsuspecting shopper within an hour of the original tweet, but he also apparently took action by personally reminding all Tesla sales representatives that shoppers’ experiences should be pleasant, and never pushy. Clearly Tesla is a company founded on innovative principles. In fact, it’s an idea plastered throughout their mission statement. And upon first look, it doesn’t seem like there’s mention of customer experience anywhere within that page-long mission statement. But digging a little deeper, I realized that–even though not outwardly mentioned–customer experience is at the core of everything they do.

“Accessible and Affordable to More and More People”

Although in the beginning Teslas were anything but accessible and affordable (the original Tesla Roadster was upwards of $110,000), it’s true that Tesla has made an effort to make each model marginally more affordable, with the latest Model 3 starting at a fairly modest $35,000. And accessibility is at the forefront too, with Tesla “Galleries” popping up in shopping malls nationwide. The decision to display in shopping malls was customer-focused, according to Tesla’s VP of Marketing, Ganesh Srivats. “…We have to control the customer experience, we have to take the ownership to educate people and we have to make sure that experience is physical and real,” he says of the galleries. The original goal for Tesla was, of course, to completely disrupt the automotive market with cutting-edge electric technology, but these cost-cutting and in-store experience initiatives are proving that the automotive innovator is quietly putting the customer first.

“That’s What Really Matters”

So while Elon’s tweet was a change from the usual tech focus, it was a perfect representation of why Tesla has set a brand standard above the rest–their innovative spirit is rooted in improving the customer experience. And as Mr. Musk put it himself…“That’s what really matters”.