Elon Musk’s reputation for making outlandish claims precedes itself—his Twitter feed is littered with statements that force readers to blink twice. And now he is making a bid to buy them! He is, however, capable of offering profound insight, as one comment from the 2011 documentary ‘Revenge of the Electric Car’ demonstrates. “Until we see every car on the road being electric, we will not stop.”
His vested interest in electric vehicles (EVs) aside—Musk has been Chief Executive of Tesla since 2008—few could have predicted how EV popularity has taken off. It is forecast that EVs will make up 54% of global new car sales by 2040. This is a mouthwatering prospect for manufacturers, but brands can’t afford to get ahead of themselves.
EVs are still in their formative stage. And although technological advancements are accelerating—BMW kickstarted 2022 by announcing its iX SUV at CES, which can change colour at the touch of a button—the sales process remains centred around employees.
Day-to-day showroom staff are brand ambassadors. Without sufficient training and resources, these individuals will be hard pressed to offer consumers a sales journey that is smooth, seamless and simple. Automotive brands that invest in their employees today can enjoy unbridled success in the EV market.
Evolution at every turn
EVs are fast becoming a staple of modern society. Research shows that 52% of adults aged 16 -19 have indicated that they were likely, or very likely, to switch to electric in the next decade. The stats are similar for adults between 30 and 49.
There are plenty of selling points attracting consumers to these innovative products: perceived lower fuel costs, increasing consumer environmental consciousness, and improved driving experience to name a few. Challenges remain in trying to convince some customers to adopt EVs, a lack of a charging infrastructure being a prime example. Poor customer interactions can be costly for brands. This is where employees can prove their worth, helping to drive revenue and grow market share.
A workforce that is blessed with comprehensive knowledge of the products they are promoting carries a greater likelihood of converting potential consumers. Brands investing time and resources into training are better poised to navigate the future EV developments on the horizon. But expecting an employee to dig for information or memorise it all isn’t realistic. Empowering people to find what they need, when they need it is key to the showroom success. For instance, the single view of the customer, enriched with product information for the employee to view and targeted content or recommendations, helps employees stay focused on their customer not their ipad.
Expecting an employee to dig for information or memorise it all isn’t realistic
Customer experience (CX) remains a key battleground for dealerships. Nurturing employee experience (EX) is the optimal way to resolve this problem yet only 29% of businesses agree that their vision for improving CX incorporates improving employee enablement.
The automotive industry is not alone in this journey; the retail sector’s concerted effort to improve digital capabilities is a result of consumer behaviour shifts towards e-commerce. Businesses that appreciate the pivotal role of employees—and recognise that CX and EX are inextricably linked—can capitalise on increased consumer interest in EVs.
Time to take the wheel
Automotive brands cannot ignore their employees forever. 58% of CX managers acknowledge that consumer experiences are hindered due to a lack of investment in employee enablement efforts. The solution to this problem lies in adopting a three pronged strategy: mindset, methods and measures.
Brands should adopt a holistic approach to the EV strategy and subsequently articulate how this fits in with the CX and EX landscape. Setting a clear vision provides an organisation with a way to align brand, purpose, culture and Employee Value Proposition. Employees are driven to purpose-focussed organisations. EV represents an excellent way for businesses to attract employees (and consumers) that are motivated by responsible business strategies.
It is pivotal to provide a clear definition of the right ways of working and this includes environment, operational procedures, policies and culture. These allow employees to thrive and continue to perform exceptionally across the customer omni-channel experience. Holistic end-to-end thinking is vital. This will ensure that dealers, employees and partners are aligned—and equipped—to deliver on the customer vision.
Brands must find a harmonious balance across the measures that indicate business health and the incentives that drive the right behaviours for employees. Gathering feedback from employees regarding existing customer interactions—supported by customer feedback and data surrounding consumer behaviours—offers a way to develop an understanding.
Steering your business in the right direction
Whilst Musk’s Twitter activities will continue to be questionable at best, his desire for EVs dominance looks set to be mirrored by consumers. Brands trying to jump on this bandwagon have to recognise that their success— or failure—will be defined by how they support their employees.
The relationship between CX and EX has never been so important. Those businesses that invest in staff now, whether in training or updated equipment, can reap the rewards of an ever-growing EV market. It won’t take long for the brands that don’t to encounter a few bumps in the road.
About the author: Patti Alderman is AVP, Digital Experience, at Cognizant