I've said it before, I'll say it again:

On Friday evening, Tesla customer Paul Franks tweeted the following:

"@elonmusk can you guys program the car once in park to move back the seat and raise the steering wheel? Steering wheel is wearing."

Just 24 minutes later, the famous CEO replied with the following message:

"Good point. We will add that to all cars in one of the upcoming software releases."

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.

In contrast, this is an example of active listening and bias for action.

Of course, this exchange illustrates the competitive advantage Tesla holds over competitors, as Elektrek's Jameson Dow explains:

One of the things Tesla is able to do, as a smaller company, is to make changes a lot more quickly than larger companies can. It also helps that Tesla's cars are capable of over-the-air updates, so if a feature is missed, it can be added later in a software update. Most manufacturers would add these as part of a new model year, in order to entice owners to upgrade their cars, but since the cost of the upgrade is so minor to Tesla, there's no reason not to push the software out to every owner. This keeps customers happy and keeps them evangelizing the brand, resulting in high customer satisfaction numbers.

The beauty, of course, is how Musk continues to work that competitive advantage, time and time again.

A Twitter Master

There's a lot to learn from observing Musk's Twitter habits.

Like how he similarly addressed a separate customer complaint some months ago. Or the leadership lessons he taught via this 19-word tweet to the SpaceX team. Or how about the time he shared the epic story behind Tesla's beginnings--in just five tweets?

Musk can't please all customers, though--and he refuses to try.

When one customer complained about older Tesla models not benefiting from newer technology, Musk didn't hold back:

The key though, and what separates Musk from most other CEOs, is that he's actually listening--and responding.

Take a look at Musk's tweets, and you'll see this isn't some PR team putting their heads together to form appropriate responses. This isn't a social-media specialist that has to get everything approved by the higher-ups.

This is the (very smart) chief executive officer of one of the most innovative companies in the world, actively looking for feedback--and using it to solve problems.

Come to think of it, maybe it's not so complicated after all.

Published on: Aug 21, 2017
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