The Moments That Matter for EV the Key to the Consumer’s Heart is Human Connection Not Technology

By Sean Claessen, Chief Strategy Officer, Bond Brand Loyalty 

Tesla has been all over the headlines for its layoffs and slumping sales. And overall EV revenue is falling short of manufacturers’ expectations as consumers continue to worry about battery range, lack of charging infrastructure, and total cost of ownership. As these barriers continue to studder EV adoption, automotive brands must look to what they can control, in the short-term, to continue growing and protecting their investment in EV. The answer lies in paying attention to the moments that matter to existing EV owners, to elicit a similar decision from would-be buyers. Those who have already made the decision to go electric are the best source of learnings for the industry. They can tell us where to focus to drive willingness to a) repurchase an EV from the brand for a 2nd time, b) add another to the garage/driveway, and c) where the experience can be improved to drive conversion of intenders sitting on the fence.

Here are the moments that matter most to the EV buyers and owners based on research conducted by Bond Brand Loyalty and guidance on what automotive brands need to do to boost sales. The study polled 4,000+ EV-involved customers and examined more than 10 EV companies across 100+ consumer journey touchpoints.


Before a consumer interacts with your brand, they are doing age-specific research on your EVs. For young consumers who are more influenced by online reviews/social media, family, and friends, and less influenced by vehicle features, performance, and technology, it is important to focus on digital media ads and creator marketing to reach this target. Consumers with young children are more influenced by traditional advertising communication from the dealership and company, so it is helpful to incorporate TV/CTV, print or radio in your approach.

Once they show up at the dealership, brands can maximize conversion of intenders by providing seamless test-drive experiences, and by empowering proactive, well trained, engaging representatives to effectively educate consumers on the benefits and features of EV, ensuring the information is relevant to their stated lifestyle and needs.


Once the prospect is impressed by what they see, and they begin the move to the purchase stage, the moments that will influence their behavior take place in face-to-face personal interactions with on the ground staff. Human elements, like being greeted in a personal way that prioritizes hospitality and understanding, are foundational for meaningful individual connection.

Brands that invest in delivering an empathetic onboarding process for their consumer will see stronger owner satisfaction, loyalty, advocacy, and retention. This should include tech specialists supporting new EV owners by patiently walking them through any new or overwhelming features, dealerships and / or OEMs progressively sharing digestible educational material through the right channels, and dealerships and / or OEMs offering new EV owners an accessible contact that can be reached with any EV questions or concerns.

Receiving follow-up communications once the purchase is made is also important as it reflects a relationship that is growing over time. This interaction has a more profound influence on customer satisfaction than the functional elements of the purchase phase, such as discussing service, warranty, and trade-in options.


The ownership phase is the most critical for automakers to diagnose where they stand amongst their current base of consumers who have already chosen to go electric. Insights here represent the most potent opportunities of uncovering priority investment areas to maximize loyalty, advocacy, and retention amongst existing EV owners.

Once the EV is in the consumer’s possession, brands can boost owner satisfaction by investing in aspects of the vehicle ownership experience, including supporting owners by reducing the friction that exists while charging their EV in public and at home, and limiting anxiety by transparently communicating details during Over-the-Air updates.

Owners require empathetic human-interaction to feel supported by the dealership throughout the experience, including being greeted in the showroom during visits, open discussions about service including follow up, and receiving gestures of appreciation and milestone recognition.

To better understand consumers and the barriers ahead for EV brands, you need to focus on the entire journey from purchase to ownership to renewal and create better experiences during the moments that matter most. Despite the revolutionary technology being built in EV, you cannot put human connection on autopilot with technology when it comes to building and maintaining consumer loyalty to your brand.