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What We Can Learn From Elon Musk's Take On Customer Complaints

Last Modified: 20/12/2017

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In December last year, an entrepreneur who owns a Tesla car tweeted at Tesla CEO Elon Musk. He complained about the fact that other users seemed to be using a charging station as a parking lot, leaving their cars there for hours. Elon Musk reacted to the tweet within minutes and acknowledged the problem. Six days later, Tesla implemented a new policy to discourage people from leaving their car at a charging station for longer than necessary. The way Tesla handled the situation highlights three considerations that, each in their own way, affect any brand’s customer experience (CX), particularly when it comes to complaints.

 

Customers have come to expect excellence

The rapid expansion of all things digital has transformed customer expectations. Through social media and mobile solutions, we have become accustomed to personalised interaction that feeds us personally relevant content. Using these platforms, it only takes a few clicks or swipes for a consumer to purchase the good or service they want, when and where they want it. This speed and quality of service needs to be met regardless of the nature of the customer’s interaction with your company. Inconsistency will negatively impact how your brand is perceived. 


By acknowledging the complaint and acting quickly, Tesla created a positive experience for that one customer, but also generated positive PR for their brand as a whole.


Siloed approach vs. operational agility

Company culture is often governed by vertical and horizontal silos, making it hard for departments to work together. Processes are not aligned with today’s reality and lack agility and speed. As a result, complaints are often little more than a statistic on a report. The CX is the beating heart of your business. A complaint should be approached as feedback that the relevant department can use to develop a quick and satisfactory response. The Tesla example shows how a decision maker implemented a new process that positively impacted the business model by solving the problem one customer was having and preempting a potential general pain-point. By being more task focused than marred by overly complicated bureaucracy, Tesla managed not only to meet expectation, but exceed it.

 

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The need for an all-encompassing culture

Stepping away from the siloed approach will only yield tangible results if the drive for CX excellence is shared by the whole organisation. The Tesla example shows that no battle is too small and no query too puerile for decision makers to get involved. Instilling a culture of service excellence on all levels will benefit your entire brand. Customer management impacts your whole business model. 

What may be a simple customer complaint can help your marketing department develop a new communication strategy or help your sales department earmark untapped market potential where they can develop a novel business development strategy before your competitors.

 

Implementing durable solutions

Sound customer management solutions lead to processes that will greatly decrease reaction times when complaints arise. Your call centre is both your first port of call and your last vestige for CX. As such, it is also often the first physical contact point with a customer. It is where you can build a durable relationship and increase your customer loyalty using care in how you approach service. If your staff, processes, waiting times or even the audio quality of your lines are anything less than adequate, you risk losing customers to bad CX.

Within that context, call centre outsourcing can help ensure your CX is the best it can be. A call centre still has a place in this digital age as, in the end, your customer experience strategy is only as strong as its weakest link.

Merchants is a specialist in customer management outsourcing. We offer innovative solutions driven by best practices and technology to deliver optimal value and help you meet and surpass customer expectations. For more information on Merchants and how we can help you, feel free to contact us.


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