• Turning complaint into an opportunity, that’s Elon Musk for you

    Barring the infrequent Q&As and live sessions, celebrities and business magnates alike do not take time out to engage or interact with their consumers. But recently SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk turned the tide of things by responding to a customer’s problem immediately and implementing a solution in a week’s time.

     Musk tweeted back saying, “You’re right, this is becoming an issue. Supercharger spots are meant for charging, not parking. Will take action.”

    Entrepreneur Loic Le Meur tweeted to Musk about an incident when he was driving up to Silicon Valley and was unable to charge his car at a supercharger because some drivers had kept their cars for charging for hours and had maybe taken off to a supermarket nearby. Musk tweeted back saying, “You’re right, this is becoming an issue. Supercharger spots are meant for charging, not parking. Will take action.”

    In six days time Tesla made an official announcement stating, “To create a better experience for all owners, we’re introducing a fleet-wide idle fee that aims to increase Supercharger availability.” The company stated that “For every additional minute a car remains connected to the Supercharger, it will incur a $0.40 idle fee.” And the fee will be waived if the car is moved within five minutes.

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    The promptness on the part of Elon Musk (who runs multiple companies) and his team, has been praised by many on social media. An article on Inc sums it up perfectly, “Social media can be great for marketing. But it’s much more valuable as a learning tool: Feedback–whether it comes from customers, colleagues, or critics–can give you much needed perspective and motivation. So, ask not what your Twitter followers can do for you. Ask what you can do for your Twitter followers.”

    In India, we have seen ministers like Sushma Swaraj using Twitter to connect and respond to the queries of her followers. Rapid implementation on the part of an entrepreneur promotes goodwill for the brand and makes customers feel valued and involved. In the cut-throat world of competition, it is not enough for someone to say that there are open for suggestions and criticisms, but prove it in their actions. And who better than Musk to set an example for how to turn a complaint into an opportunity for growth and learning.