The negative EV reviews raise concerns about customers’ experiences in the buying process and ownership. - IMAGE: Pexels

The negative EV reviews raise concerns about customers’ experiences in the buying process and ownership.

IMAGE: Pexels

Consumers gave direct-to-consumer electric vehicle companies low marks in the recently released 2023 Widewail Voice of the Customer Report.

The report analyzed 800,000 Google reviews of 16,000 U.S. car dealerships in the first half of 2023 to shed light on the state of customer satisfaction within the automotive industry, particularly concerning EVs.

A major finding is the substantial number of negative reviews associated with direct-to-consumer EV companies, such as Tesla and Rivian. According to the report, 25% of customers gave those companies a one-star rating for their EV purchases.

The report also reveleased that 14% of customers also gave traditional car dealerships selling EVs one-star reviews.  

The negative EV reviews raise concerns about customers’ overall experience, both in the buying process and the ownership experience, Widewail said in a press release on its findings.

The report also dug into reviews about Tesla, examining 8,009 Google reviews from 204 Tesla showrooms and service centers. The review uncovered several things that lowered consumer satisfaction:

  • Digital-First Service Experience: In-person staff interactions are missing from Tesla's service scheduling application, reducing positive reviews, according to Widewail. A significant portion - 80% - of reviews talked about staff, 57% of positive reviews naming a team member, the report noted.
  • Positive Ownership Moments Elsewhere: Tesla ownership excitement on social media contrasts with negative in-person service experiences, according to the report. Tesla had nearly 3.5 times the number of one-star ratings compared to traditional dealerships.
  • Cost Implications: Sticker shock also emerged as a prominent factor contributing to negative experiences. The average cost of replacing an EV battery pack exceeds $5,000, leading to significant expenses during service visits, Widewail said.
  • Low Review Volume: Tesla locations garner an average of just 2.6 reviews per month, significantly below the industry benchmark of 9.6 reviews per month. Ratings can be skewed by low volume when there is no structured strategy for generating reviews.

The Voice of the Customer Report also analyzed factors contributing to positive and negative reviews. Positive reviews overwhelmingly mentioned the significance of staff interactions. Consumers ranked their experiences higher when staff were helpful, friendly and professional.

Positive service department experiences also affected reviews. Positive reviews frequently mentioned a satisfying interaction with a specific staff member, efficient vehicle repairs, and meeting wait time expectations.

Poor communication was a leading factor in negative reviews, cited in 37% of cases, making it a key driver of dissatisfaction. Wait times were also mentioned more frequently in negative reviews, being referenced three times more often than in positive reviews, Widewail said.

To access the full 2023 Widewail Voice of the Customer Report and delve deeper into the findings, click here

Originally posted on Auto Dealer Today

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