Tesla Service Challenges and the Paradigm Change

This is part of a series that covers my experience with a Tesla Model Y.

I had to bring my car into the service center to get the tire fixed. While I was there, doing a little work, I had the chance to interact with service personnel, but more fascinating was watching others do the same thing.

I saw some older people that were happy with the cars, but struggling to use the technology. Maybe some of the car reviewers have a point here with the paradigm change.

One older gentleman was struggling to get his new phone to sync as a key. He struggled with getting email logged in, a general problem with older people. He couldn’t figure out his email, and I mentally applauded the rep that was trying to help him get logged into email on his phone so that he could authorize it as a key.

Another lady had come in for service, which she’d called to schedule. When the tech asked her to check her mobile app for instructions and approvals, she said she never looked at the app. In fact, she wasn’t carrying her phone in her purse. They worked with her to look up her account and get her car in for service.

What was more interesting to me was that this was an integrated system, with one rep handling the walk-ins for both service and car pickup. I saw 6 people processed in the first 30 minutes by one person. At other dealerships, I’d see 10 or more people wandering around, with about the same level of inefficiency.

My Service Experience

When I realized my tire was leaking air slowly, I knew I’d need to do something. I reached out to the roadside service group, but they only offered a tow to the service center or a tire shop. Since I’d paid for a repair, I was looking for some credit. A tow to the repair center is less useful to me than just driving over and waiting.

The roadside people were too busy to schedule anything in the next few days, so I decided to try the service center. I tried to schedule through the app, but I couldn’t find appointments this week in Denver. I could have driven to the Colorado Springs location, and I was tempted, but I decided to call the Denver location first. I talked with a tech who told me to come in early one day and they’d fit me in.

I arrived and since I didn’t have an appointment, was told to call them. The only person outside at opening time was busy with a customer. I called and was told a tech would be outside in a few minutes. About 3-4 minutes later a  rep walked outside and grabbed me. I explained the issue and he checked for tires. He told me if the patch didn’t work they wouldn’t re-patch it. I needed a new tire, but he said he’d credit the patch cost.

He scheduled me and said it would likely be about an hour as they slipped me into the schedule. I sat down with my laptop, worked about 40 minutes, and my car was done. I approved the charge in the app and paid and was on my way.

All in all, a good service experience, and in general, faster than I’ve had in the past if I just show up.

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