Authored by David Morton, Sales & Solutions Director at Arvato CRM Solutions
The UK’s electric vehicle (EV) charging market will grow by 29 per cent year-on-year through to 2030 according to Delta-EE, an energy market research consultancy.
This will create a significant opportunity for automotive organisations committed to delivering the most outstanding customer experience. Charging points offer a host of new customer touchpoints and those that align their customer service strategy early will undoubtedly build stronger relationships with customers making the switch from traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
When it comes to charging infrastructure, there are three key considerations for manufacturers in implementing the most effective customer service strategy.
Proactively ease customer concerns
Talk to any driver about EVs and they will have questions about charging the vehicles. As battery technology evolves, concerns about vehicle range are being replaced by charge anxiety, which spans from installation and maintenance of home charging points to the availability and compatibility of public ones.
Allaying these concerns through clear and proactive communication will offer a simple way to build customer loyalty in the EV era. Not only will regular updates ensure you are front of mind, but being able to solve customer queries proactively and confidently will drive brand preference as drivers make the transition from their ICE vehicle.
A key component of this will be equipping customers with the tools and contacts they will need in the event of any problems with their battery or charging equipment. The vast majority of drivers won’t be familiar with frequent problems that can arise – from a battery not retaining its charge to a broken charging point – and the steps they will need to take to solve them. Utilising available data to identify the issue and proactively support the resolution will reduce customer effort and impact.
Ensuring that they have the information to hand before driving their vehicle away for the first time will be critical. For example, to build trust and loyalty, manufacturers should take the opportunity to educate their customers on how to get the best from their battery, by providing advice on different types of public chargers, typical charge times and how to maximise battery life.
Take ownership of the customer relationship
The ecosystem around a charging point is complex and involves many different parties, from the charging point installer and maintenance provider to the electricity supplier.
Navigating this can be daunting and confusing for drivers. They will expect that the first person they speak to will be able to provide the advice they need to solve their query quickly and concisely. Not having the tools or processes to facilitate this is not only frustrating, but can potentially be damaging for the brands involved, including the vehicle manufacturer.
Simplifying the customer journey by reducing effort on their behalf is key to providing an outstanding experience and manufacturers have a big opportunity to place themselves at the heart of this process.
By building relationships with both energy and charging point providers, manufacturers can provide customers with access to a broad network of charging options while acting as the central contact for managing any issues they experience.
At Arvato, we have supported a premium German automotive manufacturer in implementing this, forming partnerships with charging infrastructure providers that could install charge points for customers up front as part of the purchasing journey. This not only delivered the best technical solution for customers, but ensured the manufacturer remained the single point of contact and reduced customer effort.
This demonstrates that collaboration between different providers across the EV ecosystem will be critical to getting customer experience right. Helping customers to solve queries and issues as easily as possible will be vital in building longer-term loyalty and advocacy among drivers using their EVs.
Equip customer service teams with the right knowledge
Central to delivering outstanding customer service in any business is ensuring that those dealing with customers are well informed and knowledgeable. But in the largely unchartered territory of EVs, drivers will lean on manufacturers for advice and support, meaning it’s crucial to reassure them.
In the EV era, customer experience will extend beyond the vehicle itself. Drivers will be contacting agents for assistance in troubleshooting problems with charging infrastructure and not just their cars or vans.
In this environment, the relationship between human agents and technology has never been more important. While customers will expect human contact to help overcome issues, such as encountering faulty charging points, data will be the key to finding the right solution quickly and effectively.
Having systems in place that automatically collate data from both vehicles and the charging infrastructure means that agents can run diagnostics and provide bespoke advice to customers to help them get back on the move.
Training will also be vital. While brand immersion and knowledge has grown in prominence with the standardisation of vehicle features, it must become the norm as connected car functionality and EV adoption increases, to ensure that agents have also experienced the expanding range of technologies involved in the pre- and post-purchasing journey. This will not only support with the effective resolution of issues being encountered, but will also help with the promotion of features and benefits to drive loyalty with the brand.
Charging infrastructure offers new chances to build relationships with drivers and automotive companies must be ready to make the most of the opportunities that the expanded range of touchpoints will bring. Those that act now and set the benchmark for best practice customer service as EV adoption grows, are likely be the ones that thrive when the Government ban on petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles is implemented.
To learn more about how Arvato can support your business with the transition to an electric future, contact our team here.