My experience at a Tesla Store

My experience at a Tesla Store

I just want to let everyone know how my experience was at the Los Angeles store in CA.

Yesterday a friend and I went to the Tesla store because I wanted to put down my reservation for the Model S and also get some questions answered.

We got there and to my surprise the store was a little bit smaller than expedited. We were greeted nicely by a lady that was obviously new there. She tried her best while we asks questions about release dates, warranties, options, etc etc. Since she was new many of her answers were "I'm not too sure so I'll let Layla (sp?) answer when she gets back. She's the sales rep"

So we wait awhile for the resident sales rep to get back into the show room area. We started to ask her the same questions and her attitude was very rude and negative. She pretty much made us feel insignificant and didn't want to help or answer us. When we asked about specifics she said that those details are not released yet which is quite understandable. But what really ticked me off was her general attitude. She made it seem like she didn't give a crap if we put down a reservation or not. She was saying that they have over 5000 people that have reserved a model S so since there is so much interest Tesla doesn't care if you put a reservation down now or just wait for the Model S to be released before we make a decision. If I remember correctly her words were something like, "You can put a reservation if you want, if not just wait for the car to come out." It's hard to relay how her attitude was typing this out but she really didn't give a crap about us. After a very short <5 minute conversation with her she returned to her computer and left us while the other rep was still around. Maybe it was because it was a holiday weekend and she just didn't want to be there. Maybe she was busy chatting with her friend on the computer or browsing the web. Whatever the reason, it was unacceptable!

I ended up putting in my reservation anyways because I knew most of the answers from reading these forums and on the site. It not like I was going to give her my commission when the car was actual released. I'm definitely going to head to the Newport showroom to pick up my car.

Tesla, if you are listening I hope not all of your reps are untrained and rude! I was seriously thinking about just leaving and forgetting the whole thing all together but I love the this company and the car. I'm still unsure of the whole thing now. I did put in my reservation regardless but I wanted to share this experience with the rest of you.

My reservation # was RN063491.

VolkerP | 30 May, 2011

splitsec your complaints are all right but please do not cross post it to multiple forums.
It has been pointed out that the store teams sell roadsters. This is of course not an apology to handle other customers the way you report it.

Volker.Berlin | 31 May, 2011

splitsec, thanks for your report, particularly for the way you report it. It is surprisingly refreshing to see a complaint like this in a calm, almost objective voice without LOTSACAPS and rows of exclamation marks!!!!!!!

I am happy that I can report a contrary experience from the Tesla store in Munich, Germany. I had an appointment for the last weekend to test drive the roadster, although it was clear from the beginning that I am primarily a Model S reservation holder, and -- with three kids and 197cm tall -- it was quite unlikely that I would become a Roadster customer.

Email communication in advance of the appointment was very friendly and to the point, although some emails were replied to immediately (like, within minutes) and others took a week or did not receive a reply at all, which is ok in a way b/c I was able to place all my questions at the personal appointment.

The guy at the shop was very friendly, taking a lot of time and trying to answer my questions best as he could, but turned out that there is practically nothing about the Model S that is known to the sales stuff and is not already known here in the forum. No surprise. So essentially, the sales staff have the same questions like we have...

But what is more, although he was alone in the store that day (due to a trade fair going on in Hamburg at the same time) he closed the store with a note saying he'd be back, and went on an extensive test drive in the Roadster with me. I spare you the details, just saying that my impression of the Roadster was very much along the lines of all the other reports and reviews you can find online. Extremely fun to drive, extremely little (negative) headroom for a guy as tall as I am, and a surprisingly comfortable ride.

ggr | 31 May, 2011

I've dealt with Leila a lot since getting our roadster two years ago, and she's been very friendly and easy to deal with in my experience. I don't know why she might have been having a bad day, or whatever, but I feel like I want to assure you that what you experienced is not necessarily normal.

Brian H | 1 June, 2011

And there was no "commission" to "give" for the sale. The staff are salaried. Which is part of the reason for running a company vs. franchise or dealership operation.

Volker.Berlin | 6 June, 2011

Actually I wanted to post a link to this thread below the latest blog post on Tesla's store strategy, but for some reason it is not possible for me to comment on the blog post. Thus I add the link to the blog post here, just in case you have not read it yet:

Stop In. Go Electric. By George Blankenship

Here's one thing I do not understand about their strategy to separate service centers from stores: To me, it seems they loose cross-selling opportunity with service customers. When I turn in my car for service, I will naturally look around for latest models, souvenirs or after market options. It seems to be the most natural starting point when thinking about buying a new car. Plus I may want to kill some time while waiting for service, and a store with some exhibition of latest models, with Tesla's "Design Studio" etc. offers some welcome distraction. As an existing customer, why would I make some extra time to visit one of those stores?

Nicu | 6 June, 2011

If they want to get in high foot traffic locations (malls for example), you cannot get your car to the store. And the rent for a repair shop would not be justified. So probably there will be two types of stores : with or without repairs. Those without repair shops sell more to new customers. Those with repair shops, can be larger, easier to access by car, and have relaxation space and activities. More oriented towards existing customers. Some owners may even prefer to get repairs / checks / updates at home and not bother to travel and wait for those pesky things.

Volker.Berlin | 6 June, 2011

Here is another thought, loosely related. Given their idea of store vs. service center, I think the Stilwerk (Hamburg, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Vienna) would be a great place for a Tesla store.

The Stilwerk is a mall that is focused on upscale products for living, like design furniture, stylish accessories, but also high-end HiFi, Steinway (grand) pianos, contemporary art, or design items for kitchen and dinner. The mall has a very comfortable, calm atmosphere and it is a great place to go window shopping without the crowded and flashy air of other malls. The Stilwerk not only attracts the people who can afford it, but also those who are willing to spend more than usual on great, ageless, long-lasting products (LOHAS). IMO, a Tesla store would be spot-on in this neighborhood.

splitsec002 | 7 June, 2011

Really I have no idea why I was treated that way. It's not like she told me to get out of the store, she just wasn't as courteous as I'd expect. Maybe I am just used to a higher level of service.

Update: I wanted to post this because someone from Tesla head quarters called. She pretty much explained that my experience that day isn't the norm and that most people have the exact opposite experience. It goes to show that Tesla reads the forums and do care about how their customers are treated. She actually thanked me for giving an honest report so they can "wake up" and see how other aspects of their business is being viewed.

stretchrunner | 8 June, 2011

Well Splitec002, I do understand your excitement of this auto but interested or not,I would have asked to place my order from someone else inspite of her attitude. I would not want to do bussiness with such a person even if they are having a bad day.

If you are a sales-professional you do not carry such an attitude regardless if they gave 50 or 5000 reservation to buy .You want my bussiness then I would have placed my oreder but with someone else.

call her out on her attitude and then proceed back to the lady who was new and deal with her.

VolkerP | 8 June, 2011

splitsec thanks for follow up information. Good to hear that Tesla actually cares tightly about customer experience.