Buying a car online and a lack of dealerships makes buying a Tesla a very different and forward-leaning experience compared to almost any other automaker on the planet.
When Tesla unveils a new vehicle to the world, like the Model 3, Model Y, Semi and soon the Tesla Pickup, they open reservations on their website. To reserve a vehicle, you complete a form, deposit money and your place in the queue is secured.
It is at this point where the magic Silicon Valley company that is disrupting the industry, goes into radio silence. While other car companies like BMW have offered full vehicle tracking since 2009, Tesla does not, not even close.
Vehicle purchases are understandably excited about the second-largest purchase they’ll make in their life. In the case of a Tesla, they’ve also likely stretched financially to achieve the product. Providing data about the construction and delivery process, would provide owners with comfort that progress is being made on the order and give some insight into an expected delivery date, while not committing to an exact date until close to the arrival.
When it comes to supply chain logistics, particularly for a modern automotive manufacturer, you known the quantity and estimated time of arrival of each part that makes up the vehicle. The slowest determines how long it takes to make a vehicle.
Once the production line is nearing completion, the online configurator will open and owners are notified to login and customise their vehicle. Again owners are asked to transfer another payment stage to Tesla.
Again, the data go dark, with months of deafening silence, as the expectant owner waits anxiously with less information on a delivery date than a pregnant mother expecting a newborn. Turning to forums and groups online where speculation and misinformation is allowed to spread. This lack of information flies in the face of what’s expected from a modern business in 2019, that relies on word of mouth as a marketing plan.
Customers deserve better communication and engagement along the way.
With the production lines for the Model S, Model X and Model 3 lines now well established, it’d be trivial to track when a specific car begins and completes construction.
Imagine the vehicle gets damaged during shipping and needed to change prior to delivery to another order that had been cancelled. Does the customer care if the spec is the same? Just update their account and notify the owner of the change. Instead, owners are currently searching around the source code of the Tesla website to find a VIN and have no idea if that’ll be their final number. These VINs are shared online to assemble an estimated order of delivery and some are even able to loosely match VIN collections with transport ships. These ships are then basically stalked to the point of delivery.
This is all incredibly unnecessary in a world where we’re so connected, Tesla has the data, but are choosing not to expose it to vehicle buyers.
The Tesla mobile app is significantly underdeveloped and misses a massive opportunity to keep owners engaged and retained, avoiding them cancelling deposits and requesting refunds.
Tesla’s technology strength is on display when you can unlock, control and even summon your car from your mobile, but they really should use the mobile app as an information gateway to customers.
From the point an owner creates a Tesla account and places a reservation, they should be able to leverage the mobile app to check the current progress of the car. Push notifications to prompt the user for more information or to prepare them for delivery (organise finance, insurance etc) would be incredibly beneficial to Tesla.
Right now, even in later 2019, scheduling a delivery requires Tesla staff to make phone calls. Owners should be prompted to select an available date and time from the app and automate this entire process.
The Tesla delivery staff could be notified of an impending delivery/pickup, update the software, clean and charge the vehicle. Many medical practices are already leveraging this and its fairly backwards for a forward-leaning company like Tesla to not be using it already.
In countries like Australia, the time between placing a reservation and receiving a Model 3 (some will occur this week), can be as much as 3 years.