I love my Tesla; and I’m not ashamed to say it.
The vehicle is a thing of beauty with how it handles, performs, updates software, drives itself and leaves a shallow footprint on Mother Earth. Elon Musk is a genius and his vision is shaping a new reality in front of us all. I’m firm in my belief that Tesla is setting the bar for every other transportation corporation in existence right now. Not only in how to create an incredible end product to the consumer. But also (for this specific thought) how to create the client experience model of the future.
Tesla gets it. Tesla bakes it in.
One night not long ago, I was out with friends and it was time to go home. Walking back to my car, the four of us noticed something strange. The driver’s side, rear door handle was stuck in an outward position. Normally it folds into the car, but for some odd reason it hadn’t. And as long as the handle was out, that door wasn’t operational, you couldn’t use it from the outside. So everyone got into the car a different way and we went
The next morning I called Tesla and after (literally) one ring, and one button pushed, I was speaking with someone about the issue. When’s the last time you called a multi-billion dollar company and spoke with a live person inside 30 seconds? The Tesla associate heard me out and said to expect a call from someone at the local Kansas City Tesla store soon.
Just two hours later, I received a voicemail from Christian at Kansas City Tesla. Here it is; just listen for yourself:
Yep. You heard that right. When could they come see me and fix this?
One call-back later, it was scheduled for the following day.
At 9 am in the morning, a Tesla service tech had driven 75 miles one way, through Kansas City morning traffic, to meet me in the Advisors Excel parking lot. He was young, had a smile plastered on his face, greeted me with a firm handshake and apologized for any issues this door handle might have caused. Then he proceeded to ask for my key and eventually not only repair the door handle, but instead take the old one out and replace it with an entirely new one!
An hour later, I was back in the parking lot, meeting with him to return my key. He was still smiling, thanked me for being a client and took back off to drive the 75 mile return to Kansas City.
That my friends, is insane.
The following day I received two emails about the experience. The first was a survey asking how my Tesla service appointment had been. (How do you think it was? Can I rate this 100 out of 5?!?) The second email was an invoice. Wow. See this one for yourself too.
Again, you’re seeing that right… Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
They actually stated the pay type as “Goodwill”.
Within 48 hours of my initial call into Tesla HQ, I’d visited with three very pleasant employees. One of them was a local technician who drove 150 miles round-trip, replaced my door handle entirely and did it with a smile. And what did all of that “cost me”? Nothing.
But that’s not entirely true. We all know there was a cost. It’s baked into the purchase.
What’s the real price? I don’t know. I’ll never know. And to be honest, I don’t care. I know the price was enough to support world-class phone service and repair technicians. I know I experienced three people who were genuinely happy to work for Tesla. And I know when I purchased the car, there was plenty of profit to go around.
But now I’m writing blogs about how incredible the service experience was! I’ll tell this story to as many people as I can. And the next time I go to lease another vehicle, you can guess what it’ll be.
My point is… How can you do this too?
How can you bake in enough margin on the front end to support a world class, unprecedented experience for your clients?
Bake in the experience.
It’s the way you develop raving fans. Baking in is the business equivalent of The Golden Rule. It’s the wave of the future for any firm, large (like Tesla) or small (relatively…like yours).
Embracing a baked in model is simply more fun too. You can smile about the way you conduct business and take care of people. Or you can keep cutting costs, nickel and diming customers (not clients). That might end up okay too. Might. Might not.
It’s up to you.