What Is Tesla’s Greatest Liability In 2019? (And How To Fix It)


Perhaps this suggestion can help Tesla become even more successful?

Not long ago, we shared an article and video about Tesla’s biggest asset. While there are many assets that people will call the company’s greatest (the Supercharger Network, Model 3, Elon Musk, Autopilot, etc.), our friend Sean Mitchell concluded that the company’s supportive customer base tops the list. He presented that information in part one of a two part series, and we’ve been eagerly awaiting the sequel. So, what is Tesla’s greatest liability? Moreover, how can the company fix it and surge forward even more successfully?

Like the asset question, people will have mixed responses pertaining to Tesla’s top liability (Elon Musk, financial situation, low gas prices in some areas, vehicle quality, haters and short sellers, etc.). According to Sean, the company’s biggest issue comes down to customer response time. Now that the Silicon Valley automaker has grown exponentially, it seems it just can’t keep up with a multitude of its responsibilities. Fortunately, Sean has a viable solution and presents it as an open letter to Elon Musk. Check out the video for more details.

Do you agree with Sean? If not, what do you think Tesla’s greatest liability is? Additionally, how can the automaker work to fix it? Finally, leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.

Video Description via Sean Mitchell (AllThingsEV.info) on YouTube:

***I have no financial interest or tie to ZenDesk***

Part 1: What is Tesla’s most valuable asset (also embedded below)

Open letter to Elon Musk: Tesla’s largest liability in 2019

Customer response time

-Phone support wait times

-Delivery reps


Two solutions:

Hire Owner Happiness Exec

Implement Zendesk

-This allows for an omnichannel approach to servicing owner’s questions and issues: email, chat, social, knowledge base, and AI bot. Owners can in most cases find answers to their own issues with a Tesla run knowledge base. Every correspondence is automatically logged and an open support ticket is created. Ticket volumepen tickets and can be integrated with Tesla’s CRM, Salesforce.

Cost: ~$2m-$4m and could save the company hundreds of millions of dollars in make-goods, billions of dollars in brand damage, and increase owner satisfaction score (or CSAT score)

Categories: Tesla


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15 Comments on "What Is Tesla’s Greatest Liability In 2019? (And How To Fix It)"

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I experienced almost all of Sean’s points. The response from my delivery specialist was horrible. Waited for days to hear back from emails and had an equally difficult time reaching anyone to discuss issues. I experienced the registration temp tag issue too and that was with me hounding my delivery specialist and the service center. So for a wonderful product, I think Sean has nailed it here. I like Sean’s suggestion of hiring someone to oversee customer service. Service time is way behind the automotive norm. Now I have to cut them some slack here for they are growing exponentially. Service in general. I have to give them an A+ on this one. I have considered writing an article on just how spectacular the process went. I scheduled my service easily online which is the future. Though most car dealerships give you the same option, I have typically given in to calling the dealership. Just for curiosity, I tried to schedule service online for my Chevy Volt and found many holes in the process from two different dealerships so Tesla is ahead on getting it scheduled though the backlog is still high. What happened next was spectacular. Upon arrival, I… Read more »

I also experienced all of Sean’s points. While this does have a plug for Zendesk, it may be just what Sean knows. Either way as owner and user of said software Tesla needs a solution. The level of growth is only going to increase with time and someone to hold employees accountable at each level of customer support is very important. There are also a lot of software solutions that could be implemented that would make the customer experience amazing instead of terribad.

The video is a big plug for Zendesk software. Don’t bother.

Agreed, this guy is a schill for his buddies…

Amazing how any dweeb with an internet connection can suddenly be an “expert analyst” capable of lecturing company executives when their real world corporate experience is zero.

Okay, but it’s spelled “shill”.


So what would happen to the enthusiasm, dedication and loyalty of that customer base if Elon Musk left the company? I think a lot of it is tied to Musk’s charisma and vision making it still Elon Musk that’s Tesla’s most valuable asset.

As Tesla is moving into the mainstream and its customer base becomes more mainstream I would expect the value of the customer base to drop as it attracts customers that are just that, not necessarily ardent supporters of the company and yes, probably less understanding of the growing pains/service issues of a fast growing company.

Bingo! If Tesla is to grow beyond being an enthusiast favorite shiny thing to a major player in the car biz (and no, they’re not there yet), they have to get beyond the Steve Jobs Personality Cult stage. Will they do that? I have no idea. But I will say that while I think Musk’s personality is a big draw for many, including a good portion of people on this site, among the people who just want a better car and aren’t EV enthusiasts, let alone Tesla fans, Musk is often seen as a negative. I run into this all the time, unprompted, when talking to acquaintances about EVs. A lot of people think he’s a 50/50 mix of Tony Stark and Doc Brown, and they’re not comfortable buying a car from him.

Right now, Musk is definitely Tesla’s biggest asset, but that situation won’t scale unless Musk changes his public persona a lot.

Another Euro point of view

I don’t know.
It’s very clear that for many Elon is a big asset but for many others mainly because of last year’s silly tweets he is a big a@@ with an oversized ego. We will never know the exact balance between the two. I believe that ultimately for general public (obviously not the tiny communty of the EV enthusiast of this site) it is mainly a good product. Tesla is mainly an outstanding team of engineers with a (ex) CEO that makes everything possible to keep his name and Tesla on top in the news. Good combination.

Tesla cars don’t top Consumer Reports’ survey for customer satisfaction among car owners, with the Model S in the #1 place year after year, because of a small group of dedicated EV enthusiasts. The reason Tesla cars score so highly on customer satisfaction surveys is because they really are that much better than most other cars.

The saying “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts” fits Tesla’s cars like a glove.

Guess one might wonder about the mainstream appeal of Elon Musk. Those who believe the mainstream media (the technical term for such people is “idiots”) probably have him pegged for this unhinged pot smoking loon rather than a guy who systematically does what they say can’t be done.

He has plenty of appeal among young people though who tend to have wider range of web based sources than the MSM which at the very least is a long term asset

Ridiculous. Merely being popular on Twitter doesn’t translate to people wanting to buy the second-most-expensive thing most people buy.
Tesla’s cars generate such enthusiasm from buyers because they really are that much better than other cars.

This whole “Tesla is a personality cult” meme is a case of far too many people swallowing the Big Lies of the anti-Tesla gang. People aren’t excited about Tesla cars because Elon or Tesla hoodwinked them into being an “Elon worshipper”; rather, it is the marvelous superiority of Tesla’s cars which drives admiration for Elon. Well, that and the sometimes spectacular successes of SpaceX.

I find it very strange that so many people, including many who ought to know better, parrot this Big Lie that has the tail wagging the dog, reversing causality: The idea that being a Tesla “cultist” is the cause of thinking Tesla builds better cars than anyone else… rather than the truth, which is that it’s the fact that Tesla builds better cars that makes so many people enthusiastic Tesla fans!

The tail doesn’t wag the dog; the dog wags the tail.

The best thing for Tesla is that the rest of the industry seem to be fumbling fools who can’t make a car which fully competes with Tesla products in numbers that are significant. Their other problems are just growing pains, which they will eventually overcome.
Their object is to make the best vehicles on the planet for the money, and they are a success, hopefully they will continue in the same vein.

Eventually the Legacies will figure out that they must compete in the EV space with a range of excellent products. They have no choice — it will be do that or go out of business. The fascinating thing will be watching how this happens. The companies won’t have their epiphanies all at once. Some, like the EU luxury brands, are terrified of Tesla, and we’re seeing them respond. But where’s Honda, Toyota, GM, Mazda, et al.? Lots of foot dragging there as companies don’t yet perceive (critical word) that they have an overwhelming incentive to go full-bore on EVs. Hyundai/Kia are fascinating, as they clearly see the EV disruption as a way to leapfrog into the top tier of car makers. If they produce the Kona, etc. in decent volumes and have the kind of success we’re expecting, that will likely push at least other Legacy to take the leap, which will in turn push others. Nissan, with their public promise of 4 new all-EV Nissans and a pair of Infinitis, is a special case. I have to believe that one of those Nissans will be a Rogue (or Rogue Sport) EV, which would sell as fast as they could… Read more »

A lot of people say that when the legacy automakers are ready they will “just do it” and build amazing EVs that Tesla will be too small to beat.

Ignoring their ability/ competence to actually build an amazing EV for a moment, the *massive* challenge confronting legacy automakers is that they will have to fund and market two businesses at the same time. This will be exceptionally difficult!

By this I mean they will need to invest in, hire talent, retool factories and advertise their new EV lineup *and* exit from their ICE manufacturing investments *without* upsetting shareholders. How will they continue to market the benefits of ICE while also selling the benefits of EVs when these technology solutions are almost polar opposites?

I don’t think most of them will be able to “just do it” without massive pain. This is why there are not more Hyundai Konas and this is how Tesla will be given a window of opportunity to survive and thrive.

Good summation of what will probably be an insurmountable problem, or a series of same, for some legacy auto companies.