Tesla Motors Model S. Credit: (Source: Wikimedia)
The differences that Tesla represents to the auto market fascinate me. The firm is run more like a cutting-edge Apple than a typical car company such as Jaguar and, in fact, exceeds Apple in the application of advanced technologies such as analytics. This is largely how Tesla has succeeded where most new car companies, including Fisker, have failed.
Tesla's customer care exceeds what every other car company provides, which more than overcomes the near-impossibility of living off a single car design and an electric platform that lags far behind the gas-based system currently in place. Tesla is the best example of what applied analytics can do with respect to competitiveness. Without it, Tesla likely would have failed.
If a gas car company such as Jaguar applied this same level of technology and customer focus, it could take massive market share and significantly reduce customer acquisition and customer churn costs.
Above All, Tesla Drivers Are Happy
I focus on these two companies because, a little over a year ago, I narrowed my choice of cars to a Tesla Model-S P85 and a Jaguar F-Type V8S roadster. This may seem unusual, but no other cars attracted my interest as much as these two very different models did. I wanted something that would be fun to drive, fast and a showcase of technology and design. (I chose the Jaguar because it was more fun and because of the lack of electric infrastructure, but I believe the choice would have gone differently if Tesla had a sports car option and a bit more range.)
Looking back over the last year, one thing stands out. Even though Tesla has had problems more so than the Jaguar, the Tesla customer is far happier. (Tesla customers are younger and richer, too.) While most Tesla car owners are likely to buy another Tesla, many Jaguar buyers, even those I've spoken with who have been with the brand for decades, won't be coming back after their F-Type experience. One forum member says succinctly that Jaguar treats customers like an annoyance.
In talking to customers of both firms, though, the real difference, which has made Tesla a success, isn't the car. It's the analytics Tesla wraps the car behind, which leads to a far better customer experience.
Applied Analytics Makes Tesla Different
Unlike any other car company, Tesla fully instruments its cars by default, connecting them wirelessly to their corporate offices for analysis. EMC uses analytics aggressively as well. In both cases, the result is a far higher customer satisfaction score and better targeting of resources to customer satisfaction. This not only connects Tesla to the customer; it helps Tesla better anticipate and correct problems before they damage the firm.
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