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Ensuring a Smooth Experience for Electric Vehicle Customers

Issue

An energy utility needed to ensure that its customers interested in electric vehicles (EVs) have a positive experience from the time they first reach out about EVs through the electrical home modifications to rate plan enrollment and vehicle charging. Ultimately, the client wanted to compare these results against previous findings to track any changes in customer experience and to identify key satisfaction drivers that would serve as a roadmap for improvements.

Process

Over four years, we conducted 300 phone interviews annually with customers who contacted the utility about EV charging or requested a rate change. Specifically, we asked questions to expose the challenges customers face when integrating an EV into their existing home electric service; to gauge whether they felt confident about the rate they chose for EV charging; and to identify the types of information they need to be more satisfied with their EV charging experience and rates. Additionally, we investigated the proportion of customers who experienced each touchpoint and the percent who had a positive or negative experience. The combined results indicated which touchpoints had the biggest influence on overall satisfaction.

Result

Our research revealed that call center satisfaction was the primary driver of overall customer satisfaction. Although the majority of customers tried to resolve their questions online, more than two-thirds were unsuccessful and needed to call a representative. Further, the online rate selection tool was viewed as inaccurate and not specific enough to help customers make a rate decision. It was clear that improving the website content and functionality could increase customers’ self-service task completion and decrease the utility’s operating costs. In addition, we found that customers’ have low confidence in their rate selection and that there is a latent desire for a rate structure that does not currently exist.

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