Tesla’s solar division asks employees to scour social media for complaints about both the company and Elon Musk, trying to get customers to delete their posts, former employees say

Elon Musk phone
Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Joe Skipper/Reuters
  • Tesla Energy has a dedicated team to hunt for complaints on social media, two former employees said.
  • In addition to resolving issues, the team tries to get customers to delete their posts, they said.
  • One former employee said nine people hunted for complaints directed specifically at Elon Musk.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tesla’s solar-power unit, Tesla Energy, asks a team of more than 20 employees to scour social media and reviews sites for customer complaints, a former employee told Insider.

The person, who left the company this year and asked not to be named, said that as well as solving customers’ issues, the team tried to get customers to delete their posts.

A separate team of nine people looked specifically for posts aimed at CEO Elon Musk, the ex-employee said. This chimes with a job ad Tesla Energy put out in January for a “Customer Support Specialist” – the advert said applicants would address “social media escalations” aimed at Musk.

A former manager at Tesla Energy, who worked at the company until last year and asked not to be named, also said a dedicated team searched for social-media complaints. “They would basically just look up #TeslaEnergy, #Elon, just anything that has to do with Tesla and energy and Elon,” they said.

On top of resolving the customer’s issue, both employees said staff were instructed to politely ask customers to delete their social media complaints. Insider verified the identities and employment of both former employees.

Read more: 
Tesla and real-estate giant Brookfield are building a neighborhood in Austin full of renewable-energy tech

The first former employee said they did not work on either of the social media complaint teams, and usually dealt with complaints that came through Tesla’s customer-service channels.

But they were also expected to scour the internet for unhappy customers in their “downtime.” The ex-employee estimated they dealt with an average of 18 complaints from customers from the regular customer service pipeline every day, so they had to find time around these to look for angry posts on social media.

“There’s almost no downtime and that’s what makes it difficult,” they said, adding that they worked during breaks to avoid getting swamped by deadlines.

The former manager said that posting on social media was sometimes a faster way for customers to get the company to address complaints than going through customer service.

A Tesla Energy customer, who asked not to be named, told Insider they received this exact advice from their dedicated project manager when they had problems with their solar roof contract.

“She told me to go online and complain … on Twitter or Facebook, because she said the only thing this company listens to is social media sentiment,” the customer said. The customer posted on Twitter, but said they didn’t know if it made a difference as they were never specifically contacted by Tesla about it.

Tesla Energy customers told Insider in May that the company had ghosted them for weeks on end. One prospective customer that Insider spoke to for that report said a Tesla rep called him after he complained on Twitter. The same customer told Insider in an email that nobody from Tesla asked him to take the tweet down.

Tesla did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Do you work at Tesla Energy? Contact these reporters at [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected]. Always use a non-work email address.