As technology continues to advance, we expect our gadgets and appliances to work seamlessly, almost without thinking about them. However, when something out of the ordinary happens, we hope that companies will listen to us and understand the gravity of the situation. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. This was precisely the case for a Tesla Model Y owner in California, Bishal Malla.
Malla was driving his Tesla Model Y in Elk Grove, California, when the car started shaking. He pulled over to check if he had a flat tire. However, things would quickly spiral out of control as the car started to billow smoke, and eventually caught fire. Terrified, Malla quickly abandoned the car and called for emergency services.
After the ordeal, Malla contacted Tesla’s customer service to report the incident.
At first, Tesla’s response was baffling:
“It’s been two weeks, yet not a single follow-up or check-up call from Tesla. Yes, insurance will cover the car, but I need to hear from Tesla, and I hope they will do RCA on what caused this and what they are doing to mitigate it. All I need is the answer from them and protect others to not go through the same issue.”
However, the response he received was less than satisfactory. According to Malla, the customer service representative asked him to take his burned car to a Tesla service center. To Malla, this request was ridiculous, as the car was a total loss and could not be driven. He wished that he had rented a flatbed truck to drop the destroyed vehicle at the service center’s doorstep.
“I’ve tried them more than 10 times but those folks at roadside assistance customer service can’t do anything. One agent I talked to had an audacity to tell me to take my fully burned Tesla to the Tesla recommended servicing center. My car was fully salvaged and a total loss. How in the world am I going to do that? Phewww”
Malla is not the only one who has had this experience. Consumers are often frustrated by the lack of common sense in customer service. Companies often have pre-set responses and a script to follow. However, when something out of the ordinary happens, frontline staff must be trained to listen and empathize with the customer.
In the case of Tesla, the company has been heavily criticized for its lack of communication and understanding of the devastating effects that car fires have on owners. Earlier this year, a Tesla Model S owner from Shanghai, China had a similar experience when his car caught fire, and Tesla’s response was deemed insufficient.
Other car manufacturers have been more responsive to such incidents. For example, in 2019, a BMW i3 owner had a similar experience when his car also caught fire. BMW acted swiftly and, within a few days, a senior executive met with the owner and promised to investigate the incident.
It’s essential for companies to have common-sense policies in place when dealing with customers who have experienced traumatic incidents such as car fires. Companies like Tesla need to implement better training for frontline staff to deal with such incidents effectively. Communication is key, and companies must take customer complaints seriously and act accordingly. Failing to do so can damage brand reputation and consumer confidence. It’s high time for companies to realize that common sense isn’t so common anymore, and they need to step up their customer service game.