Tesla Uses Online Complaints to Drive Innovation

As a rating and reviews website, AmericanEHR is a conduit for all kinds of customer feedback. This feedback, as you might suspect, can be less than flattering at times, and it goes without saying that it’s been a learning curve for vendors to figure out how to deal with the reality of negative commentary.

Online reviews can be intimidating for many companies, especially those that are in industries with complex service offerings like software. But believe it or not, these reviews are not always a direct result of a poor product or service. With EHR’s there can be many other issues which could lead to a bad review, such as: lack of training; insufficient installation; outdated version of product; misrepresentations by a reseller; etc. The end user is often not even aware of the actual cause of their frustration, and instead takes aim at the most logical target of their angst, their vendor.

In this transparent environment authenticity is the key. No one expects a company to get perfect ratings, or have 100% positive user reviews. It’s a fact of life that all companies are bound to have some level of customer dissension. Great companies know this, and build online customer service into their business model. This involves proactively finding, monitoring and responding to customer feedback on review and social media websites. A good Customer Service Rep (CSR) can de-escalate many complaints and turn a negative mark against their company into a positive by demonstrating for the world to see how they are responsive to their customer needs. Having a vendor respond to frustrations quickly, and transparently demonstrates that the vendor genuinely cares about customer service, and is committed to getting their product right. It’s like turning lemons into lemonade.

A great example of this type of customer service in action was documented in a recent article on Medium about Elon Musk, the CEO and Chairman of Tesla responding to a customer’s complaint, and then subsequently implementing changes to the way their charging network operates within 6 days. 6 DAYS from tweet to reality!

Quote from Loic Le Meur (upset Tesla customer):

“I was recently driving to a meeting in Silicon Valley and had to charge my Tesla. I decided to stop at the San Carlos super-charger on my way to Palo Alto and there were 5 other Tesla cars waiting in line to get a charging space. Most drivers seemed to have gone somewhere else as their cars were charging. The San Carlos supercharger is located within walking distance from Whole Foods, Peet’s Coffee, a gym and some restaurants. Many drivers therefore keep their cars parked at the Supercharger even once their cars have finished charging.

I tweeted at Elon to tell him.”

“Within minutes, Elon promised to take action 👊”

Within 6 days of this Twitter exchange Tesla made a fundamental shift in how their supercharging stations worked by charging a by-the-minute idle fee for cars that have been sitting more than 5 minutes after they had been charged. No longer would people be able to use these chargers as free parking spaces, and an online customer complaint aimed at the CEO of Tesla is to thank for all of this.

Online feedback isn’t just for customers to find the best product for their needs. It’s also a means for companies to hear the unfiltered voice of their consumer, and perhaps find new perspectives. With a customer-centric approach all companies can use the voices of their consumers to make valuable ongoing improvements in their products and services.


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