Deep in the roots of Fēnix Power’s origins is the drive to address many of the failings of the EV industry and the auto industry as a whole. We believe both the whole industry and yes, even the more progressive EV segment, is missing the target of what modern auto-owners’ needs and expectations are.
One of the obvious missing links that we’re addressing is to solve the problem that auto manufacturers simply can’t be bothered to support the cars they make after the warranty expires. This is evident in our chosen launch solution with the Nissan Leaf, it and its owners have been abandoned by Nissan, so we’re here to fill that gap and keep these cars on the road, and keep their owners confident that their Leaf can be relied upon for many years past the warranty.
But the not-so-obvious gaps that the industry continues to fail to address are very important to us at Fēnix Power as well. So much so that a year ago we created a whole new role to ensure that we don’t lose sight of these market needs. In addition to the usual titles you find at a startup, CEO, CTO, CFO, etc, we’ve incorporated a role that is somewhat new to the business world, the CPO, or Chief People Officer. And while our CPO has much in common with CPOs at other businesses, such as overseeing HR needs, our take on this role steps outside of their definitions as well. We put more emphasis on the PEOPLE in Chief People Officer and expand that emphasis beyond just our internal staff needs. You see our CPO oversees all aspects of our business to ensure we never forget why we exist, to begin with, which means they also focus on our customers and on our partners.
Of course, we should be mindful of the needs of our employees, they make the Fēnix Power machine work, but so do our partners and it’s very important to us that our partners are just as customer-focused as we are. This is why we haven’t rushed our list of installation partners out yet, our CPO is developing our evaluation methods to verify our partners understand our focus on the people. She is also developing our plan to keep the feedback channel open so our customers can be confident that they are heard if a partner isn’t delivering the best possible customer experience.
But most of all, beyond evaluations and processes, our CPO has invested countless hours of research into how the auto and EV industries have failed to understand the new automotive consumer. You see, the auto consumer of today is quite different than they were 50, 20, heck even 10 years ago. I’ll explain:
Buying, owning, driving, and maintaining cars used to be a man’s world, and the industry knew that. Car ads sold virility and statements about how their car fit a man’s needs, salespeople at dealers approached the man when a couple was shopping, and service departments often assumed that women didn’t understand the technical details of automotive service. And these habits are still very present, even today. But the majority of automotive customers aren’t men anymore, a few statistics our CPO has learned that may find surprising:
- Nearly 60% of all new car purchase decisions are made by women.
- Nearly 80% of all new car purchase decisions include a woman in the choice.
- Women shoppers do more research before going to a dealer than men.
- 75% of women that go to a dealer have already decided to buy, and simply want a couple of questions answered before they do.
But in the Electric Vehicle segment, these statistics are lost:
- More than 60% of EV buyers are male.
- Tesla sales top that at 77% of sales are male.
So here at Fēnix Power, we’ve taken on the strategy of ensuring our women customers get the service they expect. Thanks to the direction of our CPO, we make a point of never “talking down” to our female customers when questions need answers, and we never apply pressure sales tactics to those conversations. We’re still learning about our customers, and learning how to best address both our male and female customer’s questions and needs, but we’re confident that we’re a step above the usual automotive experience for our female customers.
And our CPO’s efforts have not gone un-noticed. Just like the title of this article says, our CPO has found a great ally in Lynne Mason and her wonderful mission: Electric Cars are for Girls a great blog and EV evangelism effort focused on bridging the gender gap in the electric vehicle world.
You can find her socially through any of the links below, give Electric Cars are for Girls a follow!
We’ll share more about our CPO’s efforts to keep us focused on people in the future, stay tuned, more to come!