Elon Musk is proving to be a wonderful example of how innovative a company leader really can be. Not only is he disrupting several industries with his Tesla and SpaceX companies, but he is constantly pushing his companies to the boundaries of what is currently possible.
Not only this, he just showed everyone another example of how social media can actually be used effectively to find new ways to improve your offering.
A few weeks ago, Tesla owner Loic Le Meur shared a story about how he tweeted to Musk after being continuously frustrated by the experience of using his local electric car charging ports:
I was recently driving to a meeting in Silicon Valley and had to charge my Tesla. I decided to stop at the San Carlos supercharger 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.
Here is the actual Twitter exchange which took place:
@loic You’re right, this is becoming an issue. Supercharger spots are meant for charging, not parking. Will take action.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 11, 2016
Just six days later, Tesla announced the following policy on its official website:
“We designed the Supercharger network to enable a seamless, enjoyable road trip experience. Therefore, we understand that it can be frustrating to arrive at a station only to discover fully charged Tesla cars occupying all the spots. To create a better experience for all owners, we’re introducing a fleet-wide idle fee that aims to increase Supercharger availability.”
The announcement reminded Tesla owners that the company’s app will alert them once their car’s charge is nearly complete, adding: “For every additional minute a car remains connected to the Supercharger, it will incur a $0.40 idle fee.” (The fee is waived if the car is moved within five minutes.)
Tesla has the ability to improve their product so quickly because they can push out updates to their cars as software updates over the internet. Even so, taking a complaint, finding out the root cause of the frustration, coming up with an idea for a solution and innovating it into the hands of the customers in 6 days is very impressive.
This is how you use social media to innovate your customer service
The above example is an almost perfect description of how to always focus on customer service.
It is something which far too few companies have figured out how to do, because they think that complaints on things like social media or email / phone lines should be a way to take an unhappy person and find ways to make them less unhappy.
Instead, what it should be doing is using these systems to find out the things which are causing people to become unhappy, and fixing those by innovating the offering into something better. This way, you will have far fewer unhappy people in the future.
Once this mindset shift occurs, customer service becomes one of the most effective ways of finding new avenues to innovate within your company.
They might not all be implementable in 6 days like in the Tesla example above, but they will be much faster than how most companies currently approach innovating.
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