Monday, December 2, 2013

Tesla redefines great automotive service

When I went to drive my Tesla Model S on Thanksgiving day, I noticed it had not charged overnight.  I figured I had failed to plug it in all the way.  No problem; I had plenty of miles of range left.

That night, though, when I plugged it in, I stayed to make sure it started charging...and it didn't.  I tried several times, but each time the car's display told me it was unable to charge. 

I had a problem:  an electric car that would not charge.  I did some online research and learned that this had happened to at least a few other Model S owners.  I wasn't happy that my six-month-old Model S had a problem, but I also wasn't greatly upset; it's new tech, and I'm willing to live with some debugging in return for the greatness that is the Model S.

This problem also gave me a chance to test Tesla's service, admittedly under warranty--though I paid extra to have the same level of service for the first eight years I own the car.

Very late that night, I emailed my local service center and, for good measure and because I'm that kind of guy, I also left them a voice message.

Late the next morning, I awoke to a phone message from the local service center.  I called back.  The rep offered to have a service tech bring me a loaner, pick up my car, and bring it back when they were done with it, which he guessed would be very late that day or early the next day.  It sounded great to me.

The tech showed up about an hour later.  Describing the problem and filling out the loaner paperwork took about 15 minutes.  The tech said they would fix my problem, check to see if any other fixes were appropriate, install the latest software, and "clean it up" for me.  He drove off in my car, and we headed out for a family lunch in the loaner.

Late that afternoon, the rep called back to say my car was ready.  Before 6:00 p.m., they brought it back.  They had fixed my issue; the tech stayed to verify that fact.  They had installed the software update, as the tech had promised.  They had checked the tires to make sure they were wearing well--I have sport tires, and I do drive the car like a sports car--and gave me an estimate of when I would probably want to replace them.  They had also scanned all the other Model S owner complaints and made about eight small changes to the car to reduce noise on turns, eliminate a potential click in certain situations, and so on.  They replaced my front brake rotors because newer, better ones were now available.  Finally, they completely hand-detailed the car, inside and out.

Cost to me:  zero. 

The tech noted that the software update had not captured the correct tire type for my car.  He also asked if my dual charger was using Tesla fuses.  It was not.  He recommended them as being the best.  He offered to come out the next morning to update the software with the right tire type and to put in Tesla fuses.  I said, sure. 

He did those things the next morning. 

Cost to me:  zero.

I once owned a Lexus LS400, which was a superb car.  The Lexus dealership's service was fantastic, easily the best I'd ever experienced. 

Tesla's service simply blows away Lexus' service. 

I already loved the car, which is amazing.  Now, I love the service, too.

Disclosure:  I own a Tesla Model S (duh) and Tesla stock.


Michelle said...

My car dealership service center has free coffee. So there.

Mark said...

You have a point. They did not offer me a free beverage. The fiends!

Anonymous said...

I would argue that the cost to you was not actually zero. It was included in the cost you paid for the extended warranty, was it not? Perhaps they did substantially more than you thought they would based on the amount you paid for the warranty, but saying those services were free does not seem accurate.

Mark said...

Technically, you are, of course, absolutely correct. I should have said that the incremental cost to me was zero. I could also perhaps have noted that no other car detail, regardless of the amount I paid, ever handled a service appointment so well.


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