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Reviewed: Tesla Model S part 8: How Tesla deals with issues

With nearly 30000 kilometers behind the wheel of my Model S, I have seen the good and the bad. The car behaves well in most conditions, and winter driving is absolutely no problem (as it has been since very shortly after winter came in my first season with the car. We have been all over southern Norway, from Kristiansand in the south, to Stavanger and Bergen in the west, and Trondheim in the north. The car has been – and continues to be – an absolute joy to drive. Inevitably, there have been some problems.

I have long been of the opinion that it’s easy to deliver good service when things are going well, what really matters is how you deliver when things are not going well. I have had a bit of experience in this regard:

The car has been in the shop for one routine maintenance service, and twice to resolve issues. When I bought the car, we also requested a prepaid eight-year maintenance plan, which was very cheaply priced at the time. For some reason, that order never went through. Over a year after taking ownership of the car, I approached Tesla about it, their answer wasn’t “no”; it was “we’ll get back to you soon”. And so they did. Honoring the original agreement, at the original price point. They would have been well within their rights to say that I came too late.

Early on, I noticed an issue where, if I was parked front down in a down hill, the car would complain that it didn’t have enough braking fluid. I called Tesla about it, and was told that it shouldn’t be an issue (the brakes worked without a problem), but that they would note it in the service log to be seen at the next time the car was in the shop. Then, about May in 2017, the window washer pump gave out. I called Tesla, and got a service appointment the next day. The car was in the shop overnight, and when I picked it up, both issues had been resolved.

Then, in December 2017, the rear driver side door started opening and closing of its own volition. Here’s how that looked:

I immediately called in to Tesla, reported the issue, and was told that I would be contacted about fixing the issue. About a week later, not having heard anything, I called in again, and asked if there had been any progress on fixing the issue. The service rep said that they would check, and request that I be contacted as soon as possible. Another week went by with no response, and I called in once more, with the same request to the service center. Two days later, I was called by Tesla, who had a range of dates for a service appointment. That service appointment then had to be postponed, so that they could source the part they needed for the repair.

The sad thing is, this latter one has been about par for the course, and I know why: Tesla has grossly underestimated the need for qualified manpower in Norway. They are taking steps to correct this situation – they are planning on adding three hundred additional service personell to their staff in Norway alone this year.  That is good, and should help. I think, however, that they would be well served by immediately creating a ticket – and giving the ticket number to the customer – upon contact. That would make contact with them significantly easier, as it also means that they don’t have to look through a customer’s service call record to find the issue in question.

Simply put, I think they should put some serious thought into establishing a proper system for service management, as well as the routines that follows it. Giving your customer a ticket number, and keeping them informed when a service appointment might take time – due to whatever reason, be it personell or parts availability.

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