Charging Forward: Embracing Customer-Centricity in Public EV Charging

By Sarah Neely

3 mins


Charging Forward: Embracing Customer-Centricity in Public EV Charging

By Sarah Neely

3 mins


The electric vehicle (EV) market is rapidly expanding, but there’s a critical issue at play – customer engagement and loyalty. It’s time for Charging Point Operators (CPOs) and energy providers to shift their focus as we head into 2024. The challenge isn’t just about building efficient infrastructure; it’s about crafting winning customer propositions that align with both the functional and emotional needs of customers.

 

The Current State: Infrastructure Over Customer Experience

 

The legacy energy sector’s capabilities have been, until now, focused on efficient infrastructure management rather than building winning customer propositions.. This approach, while efficient, overlooks the nuanced needs and pain points of EV customers. Range anxiety, a plethora of apps for charger access, subpar customer service, and cumbersome payment methods are just a few of the challenges facing consumers today. These issues highlight a significant gap: a lack of customer-centricity in the EV charging experience.

 

 

The Shift: Thinking Like Retailers, Not Utilities

 

As we enter a new era of EV adoption, it’s crucial for energy providers to adopt a retail mindset. This means leveraging usage and profile data to deeply understand customer missions and tailoring solutions to diverse customer groups. If energy providers can do it well, they will apply cross-sector best practices to design propositions that build both functional and emotional loyalty .

 

 

Adopting a Retail Mindset Case in Point: EV Go and Volta

 

Take US-based EV Go, for example. By segmenting customers based on residence types, they’ve gained insights into charging habits and tailored their services accordingly (such as reserving a charge point at the shops and earning coupons with partners for charging.) Similarly, Volta is thinking like a retailer by adopting an innovative approach of using charge points as advertising billboards. This creates a secondary revenue stream while reducing costs for consumers.

The Future: Innovating Customer Propositions

 

The future of EV charging isn’t just about installing more stations; it’s about making each customer interaction count. This means thinking innovatively about subscription, membership, and loyalty models to grow customer engagement and value, as well as exploring indirect revenue streams such as advertising and affiliate partnerships.

 

Customer-First Approach for Long-Term Success

The key to maximising ROI and driving the EV market forward lies in understanding and addressing customer needs. It’s about transitioning from a infrastructure-focused approach to a customer-centric one, akin to leading retailers. By doing so, CPOs and energy providers can not only enhance customer engagement but also drive behaviour change and contribute to the broader goals of EV adoption and carbon emission reduction.

 

As we navigate the path towards adopting low-carbon energy solutions, the role of loyalty propositions becomes increasingly vital. Recognising this, we are dedicating our upcoming research and discussions to this pivotal area. Our next series of loyalty roundtables will delve into how these strategies can accelerate the adoption of EVs and other low carbon energy solutions. We invite interested parties to join this crucial conversation. Please get in touch if you want to be a part of this transformative dialogue.


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