Tesla Service- I felt like the most important customer in the world
Wow! Just, wow! Is the only way to describe not just my Tesla Model S, but also the incredible service, attention and personal focus that I've had each time I've been in touch with the Tesla team. And I'm hard to please!
So, people who know me would tell you I have high standards: perfection is just not good enough. As a doctor-turned-entrepreneur running an online health business in 23 countries, and someone whose idea of relaxing is to run 250km across a desert (after which my car is named, but I'll get to that), I like things to be right first-time, need quality to be excellent and I hate to waste a single moment. So how does Tesla - the car, the business and the people - stack up against such demands? And why will I never buy any other car?
I collected my Tesla Model S nearly a year ago, and by a chance of timing it was waiting for me when I got off the plane from Namibia having just completed a week-long ultra-marathon - hence my car is named Namibia. Like many others I'd been captivated from the moment I had a test drive: how can so much performance, so much comfort, so much style, so much "cleverness" actually be good for the planet? It's commonly thought that the nice things in life are normally bad for you - but the Tesla changes all of that. Zero emissions (my car does not pump diesel into the air that our children and grandchildren will breathe), proven to be the safest car on the planet, a few pence/mile to run, a car that drives itself on the most tiring parts (indeed, any part) of motorways, and I will never again have to stand at a windy, wet garage pumping litres of expensive, dirty fuel into a car.
But is that all marketing hype? What's it actually like to own and drive the car with no engine, does it really have the range needed both for business and when I want to get properly off the beaten-track and if support is needed can a small, young company like Tesla deliver to the highest standards?
It's like nothing you've ever driven and will change everything you think you know about what a car should be. A 300 mile drive is now something I (and my passengers) look forward to - yes, really. A 700 mile round trip in a day - tick! I would never have done something like that in a "normal" car, but incredibly you get out of a Tesla after such a journey feeling relaxed. Snarled up motorways and crawling traffic? Let the autopilot take care of that. This means that a weekend (or even a day's) running in North Wales, South Devon or the north of England is now easy and enjoyable. The growing network of Tesla Chargers across the UK and Europe makes it simple to charge the battery when needed en route.
When you buy a Tesla you are buying the future. These cars didn't exist five years ago and therefore you are part of a world-wide team of drivers helping shape the future of motoring. Tesla’s development process is unique, every time I drive the car, it sends information back to Tesla, so they can make improvements to the Autopilot functionality with real world data- not just for my car but to feed into the data from Tesla drivers across the world.
Aware of this newness I'd expected some niggles along the way. In a year and 20,000 miles I've had just a couple of tiny things that needed sorting, allowing me to experience a level of service and attention that can only be described as incredible. And unlike my last car, service costs are negligible.
The charge-port that opens for charging was sticking. I called Tesla who remotely logged into the car to diagnose the problem in 5 minutes and arranged for a "Ranger" to visit and fix it at a time and place to suit me. No time wasted, no morning off work, no being without my car. Awesome.
When he was there he noticed a tiny rattle that I'd barely heard and said "we can fix that for you". I'm not sure I would have even mentioned it! It had to be done in the service centre, and sure enough the next day the service centre in Birmingham called me, agreed a date and said (before I'd asked) that they'd arrange a Tesla for me as a loaner while mine was away. Once again I got to choose the time and date that suited me best. I couldn't have been kept better informed if it had been a hospital treating my child! Charming, flexible staff at Tesla kept me informed, changing the return schedule around to suit my last-minute work appointments and sent my car back on a Sunday not just with that rattle fixed, but three or four other tiny things they'd noticed all sorted.
I know I am lucky enough to own the best - and most enjoyable - car in the world, but the service from Tesla made me feel like the most important customer in their world.