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A 14-Month Customer Service Experience

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by BertL, May 12, 2018.

  1. BertL

    BertL Active Member

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    Customer Service remains something Tesla can definitely improve upon. Given Tesla was a relatively new company, I gave Tesla a lot more slack when I first purchased my MS than I tend to today. I've had more than one poor Tesla service experience that I won't rant about here. I always strive to stay calm and keep my cool with personnel trying to help me, but decided to share my latest rather extraordinary experience here for your consideration: a seemingly simple warranty problem with my leather seat that from my experience was resolved the same-day at Lexus on my former RX450h using a subcontracted expert, but took 14 months for Tesla to complete on my MS involving more than a dozen customer interactions, untold hours of Tesla employee involvement, and likely huge Tesla warranty costs:

    March 2017
    - I made an appt at my SvC which is 45-75 mins away one-way. Amongst other warranty items, I reported that the stitching on my nextgen driver's seat was coming apart where the side airbag deploys from. I fully expected Tesla would have a 3rd-party leather expert come and repair the problem on-the-spot, just as Lexus and BMW did for me in the past with similar leather seat stitching issues.
    - ...but no. I was told the entire seat would need to be replaced. It's a special order and should take 4-6 weeks to arrive. OK.

    May 2017
    - After 8 weeks, I called Tesla and politely inquired with a SA. I was told that we missed the original cutoff date for the order, so it's going to take more time. OK.

    August 2017
    - I received a call that my new seat was in, and made an appt at my SvC
    - The Techs said they could get right on it, and they should be done within 90 mins. GREAT. That's a win for us all. I wait.
    - 60 mins in, a SA came up to me very apologetically. They had the right seat, but the wiring connector to my MS was wrong as Tesla had changed the physical mating connectors between the two as part of their "constant improvement". Another seat needed to be ordered as it was not something the SvC could resolve. He took pictures of both to show me and to send in to ensure we got the right seat and connector the next time around. Again, we missed the special order cutoff by just a day, so it was going to take longer, but he appreciated my patience.
    - My original seat with the stitching problem was put back into my MS and I drove home.

    October 2017
    - After making an appt, I went in to the SvC for my annual service, and politely asked if they could also check on status of my replacement seat
    - Upon pick-up of my MS, I was told the 2nd replacement seat was still in the queue

    March 2018
    - I called the SvC on day 355 since originally reporting this problem. The (new-to-me) Call Center answers; I explained; The agent talks with a couple of people at the SvC and tells me an SA with the Parts people are researching and will call me within the hour.
    - No call back

    April 2018
    - I called the SvC again; Get the Call Center, and after explaining all this again, was connected to a local SA.
    - The SA told me there is no record in their system of my replacement seat being ordered, and there is no open service invoice against my VIN. I point him at my invoice numbers from last March and August with what I was verbally told each time about the seat being ordered. I was additionally told that Tesla no longer replaced full seats, and only separate bottoms or backs. It seemed to me, regardless of internal "improvements", Tesla must have dropped the ball with outstanding full-seat special orders like mine. Anyway, the SA said they would look into it and call me within an hour. I additionally took and sent a photo of the problem to try and get this right at last.
    - No call back
    - 2 days later, I called the SvC again; The Call Center answered and I pushed to talk directly to the same SA I was dealing with since I am never provided with anyone's direct extension.
    - Oops, as has happened before, the SA says he TEXTed status to me, but it for some reason must not have arrived. I explained that my experience is Tesla does not receive an error with whatever texting service they use -- as I have my home landline listed as the contact number in my Tesla Profile -- which of course does not accept TEXTs. A test TEXT was sent to my cellphone that I never give out the number to, and I keep it plastered to my body around home just-in-case a new TEXT comes through.
    - ...and yes, months ago I sent Tesla an email suggestion to add an indicator in our Tesla profiles if the contact phone is a landline or mobile, so this problem does not happen to me or other customers in the future. So much for that. ;)
    - The SA said the seat back was on order when he last checked a few days earlier, but he will research and get back to me within an hour.
    - I got a call!
    - There are seat backs of my type and color in Fremont stock. A new seat back is on order, but for an unknown reason has not yet been picked for shipment, but it should be at the SvC it in the next couple of days.

    May 2018
    - It took more than a month since the last ETA, but I received an email from the SvC that my new seat back was in and to contact the SvC, as the Tesla Mobile Service can come out and do the replacement at my home or work, or I can come to the SvC -- whichever I prefer. Great.
    - I call the SvC asking for the individual that emailed me, but get the infamous Call Center.
    - I explain; The Call Center agent says she needs to check with the person at the SvC that contacted me via email, but she can make the appt. She does that while I'm on hold.
    - I'm told all is OK with the guy that told me to call him, and she has placed the Mobile request. The Mobile team will now call me back in the next 2-3 days to make an appt to have the work done. (That seems like a very inefficient process especially from a customer POV. Oh well.)
    - Two days later I get a call -- get this -- from the original person that sent me the email and who the Call Center talked to, that a Mobile Tech can come out at 2PM the next afternoon. Great.
    - Tech calls on the scheduled day, a little early and says he can come now if convenient. GREAT.
    - He arrives and gets started. What a nice fella -- IMHO all the Tesla Tech's are.
    - A little later: Oops, an over-tightened bolt broke off upon removal, so a tool will have to be brought out from the SvC to deal with it (it's an hour+ away with afternoon traffic). Note: Apparently Tesla doesn't use that type of bolt any more because of this sort of problem.
    - The tool arrives via another Tesla guy.
    - A little later while they are both at my home: Oops, they can't get the broken bolt out, so the seat will have to go back to the SvC to have it removed.
    - We can leave your MS here, but it won't be drivable without the seat. ;) Do you need a loaner? Yes, as my MS is my only transportation and there could be an emergency. No problem, we'll have one delivered.
    - A loaner MS arrives via a 3rd Tesla employee after the Tech has left with my seat, while the other guy stayed waiting in his truck to take the driver back. I won't complain too much as this was my first Tesla loaner (always Hertz or Enterprise rentals), but it didn't have AP2 enabled to play with. Shucks! ;)
    - The next day, the Tech calls a little early and says he has my seat and can come now if convenient. GREAT.
    - He arrives; I give him the loaner key and he calls to have it picked-up, then begins work.
    - A little later: Oops, it will be best to have new bolts put in to tie-down the seat to the floor, so those have been ordered and will be delivered with the two other guys already on the way to pick up my loaner. OK.
    - Bolts arrive; Loaner is taken away; My seat with new seat back is installed.
    - All appears good again with the new seat back, and this interaction is finally closed after nearly 14 months.
    - Interior MS cleanliness was even better than what I have received from former SvC visits. Thank you.
    My point with all this?
    For me, Tesla SvC Techs remain the best part of Tesla's Customer Service. In my experience, they always try to do what they can taking a customer POV, but are many times hindered by lacking HQ processes and things beyond their control. That being said, overall Tesla Customer Service remains not even close to my expectation compared to other premium auto brands I've owned and loved, or even close to the mass-market brands my family owns today. This poorly handled and elongated experience is not my first with Tesla. Instead, I'll just say that IMO, today's Tesla Service experience is likely a result of Tesla's business model of not desiring to make money off of service, combined with Tesla Execs not caring as much about creating and ensuring extraordinary customer service experiences each and every time. I don't believe Tesla will change until they loose money on warranty service, problematic service experiences like this get negative Press, or it more directly impacts new car sales.

    I appreciate not all existing or potential Tesla owners have the same expectations I do. Some may see this example as a one-off, or something that is almost a comedy of errors if it were not so sad. For me though, as much as I love my MS and want Tesla to succeed, my multiple uneven Tesla Customer Service experiences, combined with Tesla's lack of demonstrated ability to resolve long-standing firmware bugs such as those in Media Player, are why I no longer recommend Tesla without always first taking a deep breath, then saying how technically great my MS is, how wonderful the SuperCharger network and not using dino-fuel in 2+ years is, then caveats about Tesla having no excuse for aggravatingly buggy firmware and that you may encounter challenging Customer Service when you need it. YMMV of course!
     
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  2. JenniferQ

    JenniferQ Supporting Member

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    Wow, what a mess. And I also hate the new "Call Center." I suppose it was inevitable, but so much fluffing around to get nowhere. Sigh. Growing too fast.
    But like you, I still love my car! I'm enjoying the ride, but very concerned about the company as a whole.
     
    • Like x 1
  3. Pentium2004

    Pentium2004 Vendor

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Lakeland, FL
    A2760BB4-8B1A-4008-9C99-59CC52E0C25D.jpeg CB77293F-0DA4-40C7-8034-89F2BEAD9313.jpeg A769E0E8-15C9-43EF-AE15-3652BEAE5740.jpeg F0E99CFB-D875-40FD-BFAA-417F74D29293.jpeg Sounds like my experience. So far the SC has painted half my car 6 times to correct a factory defect. They have had it a combined 6 weeks. I requested them strip it back to aluminum before painting again since it had so much paint on it. They agreed and said they would send a picture to prove it was stripped. I had to ask about 3 times before they sent a fuzzy looking pic that turned out not to be my car. It was a picture of a gray car that they figured they could fool me with because the gray looks like aluminum. The reason I know it’s not mine is because it was a picture of a front door and they didn’t work on my front door. They also zoomed in a bit trying to hide it was a front door. See pics of it sanded and the claimed picture of my car. Now they passed the blame and say they can’t explain the picture because the painter took it not them. Tesla is very shady.
     
    • Informative x 1
  4. Pentium2004

    Pentium2004 Vendor

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    Location:
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    They also sprayed red paint inside my charge port and now have to replace that. They also accidentally sanded into my bumper and now have to remove and paint that too.
     
    • Like x 1
  5. zwede

    zwede 2013 P85+

    Joined:
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    Well, at least they never accused you of time travelling like they did me. Called the call center for the airbag recall and also a new charge port that was diagnosed during an earlier visit. They had ordered a new charge port and were supposed to call me when it came in, but (of course) no call.

    So this call center guy tells me they had the charge port (great) but since I never showed up for my December 8th appointment to install it, it was sent back.

    Just one small problem with that: The service visit the charge port was diagnosed and ordered was December 18th.

    He had no explanation for this apparent time travel and insisted all he could do was order it again and someone would call me. 2 weeks later and (surprise) no call.
     
    • Funny x 2
  6. logan

    logan Member

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    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Wow sorry to hear this. Tesla service remains the absolute worst part of the ownership experience. Anyone who defends them is quite frankly delusional IMO. Just glad it finally got resolved for you.
     
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  7. rallykeeper

    rallykeeper Member

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    Location:
    Southern California
    Second all of the above. "Streamlining" management will do wonders to the experience, I'm sure. ;)

    Years ago, we had learned that Tesla had built their own internal CRM. It wasn't good.

    They've since moved on from that CRM (or at least altered it significantly). It is much much worse. Calls are rarely returned and very little is followed up on.

    The biggest problem, imho, is that no one individual appears to have responsibility for monitoring a customer's service experience.
     
  8. sharpgator

    sharpgator Member

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    Location:
    Birmingham
    I’m really impressed with my car, but this experience exactly mirrors my experience with Tesla service. The Mobile guys are fantastic. Everybody else has horrid customer service skill. Unless this and the collision issues get ironed out, I won’t own another one.
     
  9. David29

    David29 Supporting Member

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    I hope the Op sends his detailed write-up by certified mail or some other certain method to every member of the Tesla Board and to every senior executive whose name you can find. Somebody is simply not paying attention.
     
  10. Bet TSLA

    Bet TSLA Active Member

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    Great description of your looooong experience. Good for you that you are able to take it philosophically. It is notable how much cheaper, simpler, and better for everybody it would have been to just get the leather repair person out to fix the seat. Pretty obvious in retrospect how stupid Tesla's approach was. I wonder if they'll learn from this and similar experiences.

    I think Tesla does have the possibility of delivering the best service ever now that they're going mobile. But unless they fix their communications, parts handing and tracking, and customer follow-up they won't do it. It's pretty mind-boggling how often nobody follows up.

    They are certainly making the service job extra difficult due to their continuous improvement process.
     
  11. BertL

    BertL Active Member

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    Unfortunately, I don’t intend to.

    I tried the certified letter with signature confirmation approach about 2 years ago with Tesla — a long, but business like letter, outling the facts and my multiple Tesla interactions related to my battery pack loosing peak charge too early in its life — asking for a single person to take ownership to help me because of multiple conflicting directions I was receiving from the Owners Manual and multiple SA interactions, and my honestly not knowing what approach I should take to protect my investment. I won’t go into all that detail again here, as it’s covered in excruciating detail in another thread elsewhere... except to say, I received not even an acknowledgement from Tesla of my letter being received, even though I have signature confirmation of its receipt.

    As a side note, while I’ve all but given up on reporting MP problems, I have persisted bringing up my continuing battery problem very politely with updated summary stats every few SvC visits, and hit the jackpot last October when I had my MS in for annual service, reported the range problem, and upon pickup found my MS had a loaner battery pack installed while mine was being sent back for refurb under warranty... I inquired earlier this year when I should expect my real pack to be returned, and was told it may take a year or more. (Does that make you take a deep breath as it did me?) At least I’m operational with my loaner battery, while I sadly know of at least one other MS 90D owner with a similar problem that has not fared as well and has even a bigger problem now than I did last Fall. Sighhh.
     
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  12. msnow

    msnow Active Member

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    Wow, well this is one testimonial that won’t make it in their Annual Report. You’re a stronger and more patient man than I will ever be.
     
    • Like x 1
  13. xborg

    xborg Member

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    Ordering the wrong part. I heard that a lot. I guess their inventory system is not very good or non-existent.
     
  14. redy

    redy Member

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    Brooklyn
    I think it would be better if it was non existent
     
  15. zwede

    zwede 2013 P85+

    Joined:
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    Plano, TX
    Updating my story from post #5: Still no call from the call center yesterday. A new Service Center just opened where I live so went by to say hello and check it out. Chatted with them and they pulled up my history and proclaimed that multiple balls had been dropped. Promised that mobile service would call that day and they called within the hour. I'm booked for tomorrow for airbag and charge port replacement. Seems everyone is having good experiences with mobile service so I'm looking forward to it.
     
    • Informative x 2

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