Social media success seems to be a mystery to many organizations. Many firms don’t have the manpower and are stretched thin when it comes to marketing. Content marketing takes up much of the efforts for many marketers. Many executives are so busy trying to grow the business and put out daily fires that come up. They are too busy to be reading a social media feed.
But, there is one CEO who has his finger on the pulse of his customer base and he replies directly to his customers. Last Friday evening, August 18, 2017, a Tesla customer, Paul Franks posted this comment on Twitter at 8:47 PM.
“@elonmusk Can you guys program the car, once in park, to move the seat back and raise the steering wheel is wearing.”
In most cases, this comment would have waited over the weekend, until employees returned to work on Monday. Then, after the Monday morning routine is finished, and morning meetings are finished, a response might be in the cards…..maybe.
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, believes in customer engagement and learning what he can from social media posts. So, at 9:11 PM, he had a brief exchange of posts with Mr. Franks, learning about the problem, then posts this instant decision –
“@paulfranks Good point. We will add that to all of the cars in all of the upcoming software releases.”
To quote Justin Bariso, who regularly contributes to INC. and Time, reported the story on MSN Money, “Now that’s how an effective CEO uses social media. What’s missing from this exchange is what we see in many companies: making excuses, shifting blame or responsibility to another department, or some other form of stalling that usually results in the death of good ideas.”
Tesla is a smaller company, they are nimble enough to make decisions and implement changes quickly. Most of the larger auto manufacturers would have rolled this change out with the next year’s model. Musk realizes that releasing the change to all customers would keep customers happy and evangelizing the brand. This is a reason for Tesla’s amazing customer satisfaction record.
Last December 2016, Tesla decimated Consumer Report’s Owner Satisfaction Rating yet again. 91% would buy again from the company, out distancing itself from prestigious Porsche who came in second with 84%. Musk has become a Twitter Master, keeping his thumb on the pulse of the customer.
An unhappy customer tweeted that Tesla customers were abusing the Supercharger Network of charging stations. They were parking their cars for hours after they reached full charge. It took exactly six days for Musk to implement a new policy charging any Tesla owner $0.40 per minute of idle fee after the sensors show that their car had been fully charged. If the owner moves within five minutes of completion, the fee is waived.
Bariso hits the nail on the head, writing “But a quick look at his (Musk’s) Twitter feed reveals the man knows how to use the platform. He regularly responds to customer questions and complaints. And he does it all while allowing his personality and humor to shine through.”
These are just a few examples of how Elon Musk leverages social media as a learning tool, harnessing customer feedback for perspective and motivation. I’ve always employed the practice of watching and learning from the smartest and most successful. Business leaders should keep an eye on Musk’s Twitter feed. Who knows how much can be learned by following this remarkable business leader.
Famous Last Words
“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.” – Elon Musk
The Big Kumbaya in CyberSpace
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To hear the rantings of other voices on the same subject:
How the World’s Top CEO’s Use Social Media by Dillon Baker
The Surprise Reason That CEO’s should Be Social Media Savvy by Stephanie Neal