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  • Writer's pictureEmre Can Anlar

Service orientation as the key: New perspectives for public charging networks

In a world in which emobility is becoming increasingly important, it is essential to find innovative and user-oriented solutions to the challenges of the industry. Dr. Andreas Pfeiffer, known for his implementation orientation and expertise in service-oriented business models and digital transformation, provides insights into the future of emobility and the role of public charging networks in our interview today. Based on the experiences of his team at energieparkmakler and his in-depth understanding of service-dominant logic - an approach that focuses on service rather than product and views the customer as an active contributor to value - Dr. Pfeiffer offers a unique perspective on designing a sustainable and customer-friendly charging experience.

How would you assess the role of public charging networks in light of current developments in electromobility?

Dr. Pfeiffer: Public charging networks are a crucial part of the our emobility infrastructure. However, they need to go beyond simply charging vehicles in public spaces and should be considered as part of a comprehensive service ecosystem that integrates technology, sustainability and user experience. Unfortunately, I still observe that the latter in particular is often understood as a more technologically oriented user experience and not as a holistic user experience.

Can you explain this in more detail?

Dr. Pfeiffer: Charging stations for electric vehicles should be embedded in inviting environments, with cooperation with 'Hosts' ; such as cafes, local stores or shopping centers is crucial to provide a pleasant experience with options such as dining, shopping or relaxing while in store. These hosts are central to creating a pleasant atmosphere and additional services that enrich the loading experience. Our goal is to establish charging as an integral, pleasant part of everyday life, leveraging existing concepts such as 'BK world',and 'REWE ready' or the requirements of the Nationale Leitstelle Ladeinfrastruktur for the “Deutschlandnetz” project. show promising approaches. We are only at the beginning of this development, but charging network operators can already achieve excellent results in collaboration with existing hosts and contribute to a win-win-win situation at the location.

What specific recommendations would you give a charging network operator to implement such a model?

Dr. Pfeiffer:A charging network operator should strive for a business model that has a strong service orientation. So far, this has tended to involve technology and implementation-oriented partnerships with energy suppliers, technology providers and local authorities. As for that they strive for providing intelligent charging solutions tailored to volatile energy market conditions and customer needs. Further, flexible pricing model that adapts to energy prices would also be recommended in a basic perception of service orientation.

From the holistic perspective just mentioned, the relationships with the local location partner, which we like to call the host, represent a new and quite complex relationship that has the above-mentioned aspects as a basic requirement. In our work as brokers at energieparkmakler we concentrate on this new and important aspect.

How does energieparkmakler contribute to a higher level of service orientation and what advantage does this have for the “fast charging” business model?

Dr. Pfeiffer: At energieparkmakler, an initiative of greenventors, we act as a bridge builder between the location owners, such as restaurants and gas station operators or retail companies, and the operators of fast charging networks. Our main task is to identify these hosts, educate them about the advantages of emobility and support them in the matchmaking process with potential operators. Our focus is on ensuring that an optimal service experience is created for electric vehicle users at these locations. Our approach goes beyond the technical side by promoting a positive user experience supported by the right hosts and locations. We work to integrate charging stations into a comprehensive service offering by finding the best partners for each location. In this way, we contribute to establishing electromobility as part of an attractive and functional service ecosystem.

And how would you see such a business model in the context of service-dominant logic according to their fathers Vargo and Lusch?

Dr. Pfeiffer: By understanding charging stations not as isolated units, but as part of an interactive service ecosystem, value is added for everyone involved. This corresponds to the idea that value arises not in the product itself, but in its use and the associated services. In this sense, we act as catalysts for value co-creation by creating the conditions for optimized use and an enriching user experience. This approach is in line with the vision of Vargo and Lusch, who propose a paradigm shift towards a service-centered economic world.

What role do digital technologies play in this?

Dr. Pfeiffer: Digital technologies play a central role in such a holistic business model approach and in the context of service-dominant logic. First, digital technologies help improve the user experience at charging stations. Through digital platforms, apps and smart charging technologies, we can offer personalized services, such as real-time information about the availability of charging stations, flexible tariff design and seamless payment options. Second, digital technologies support communication and collaboration between everyone involved. Digital communication tools allow us to interact efficiently with partners and customers, resulting in faster decisions and improved service.

In short, digital technologies are essential for the implementation of our business model. They make it possible to create better service experiences and ultimately maximize the value that we strive for within the framework of the service-dominant logic.

Digital technology in electromobility using the example of integrating the charging process into a mobile app
Digital technology in electromobility using the example of integrating the charging process into a mobile app

Based on which existing business model would you, Dr. Pfeiffer, recommend the development of a model for a charging network operator? Would the business model of an energy supplier be a good basis?

Dr. Pfeiffer: Yes, the business model of an energy supplier actually offers a solid basis for the development of a charging network. Energy suppliers already have the infrastructure, knowledge and experience in energy networks and energy procurement, which is essential for operating an efficient and sustainable charging network. In addition to specialist knowledge, we believe it is crucial that energy suppliers invest in a holistic design of the charging experience. The aim is to go beyond the pure construction and operation of charging networks and develop a comprehensive service offering that includes user experience and local partnerships. This in no way means that the energy supplier will become the new Starbucks. Rather, we need to invest in a new understanding of partnerships and shared value creation. In this transition to a more service-oriented model, with energy park broker as an intermediary, we offer the bridge to create synergies between charging network operators and local players and thus create an attractive and user-centered charging experience.

What role would the end customer or store play in such a model?

Dr. Pfeiffer:The core idea pursued by energieparkmakler is the development of real partnerships between operators and location partners, with the end customer always being the focus. From a scientific perspective, we view the customer as an active participant in the value creation process. Our aim is to create a comprehensive and customized charging experience through these partnerships.

The main goal is to create a charging experience through the synergy of operators and location partners that not only meets the expectations of end customers, but exceeds them. We attach great importance to how charging stations and their surroundings influence the user experience, be it through key aspects such as toilets, additional services or the smooth integration into the users' everyday lives. The value comes not just from the technical function of the charging station, but from the entire service experience, which is developed in cooperation with our partners. This promotes the creation of an attractive service environment that both increases value for the customer and sustainably strengthens the charging network and the location.

Three key recommendations: promoting collaborations, using digital technologies to improve the customer experience & developing a service-oriented business model
Three key recommendations: promoting collaborations, using digital technologies to improve the customer experience & developing a service-oriented business model

In our conversation, we highlighted the crucial role of end customers in the development of emobility infrastructures and showed what opportunities the service-dominant logic approach offers for the design of the “fast charging infrastructure” business models. Dr. Pfeiffer showed how energieparkmakler acts as an intermediary between charging station operators and location partners in order to create not only technical solutions, but holistic service experiences. His vision clearly shows that the key to success in electromobility lies in the seamless integration of customer needs, digital technologies and cooperative business models. His insights offer valuable suggestions for the future of the industry and make it clear that a comprehensive view of the customer experience and a strong service orientation are essential for success in the world of electromobility. In this context, Dr. Pfeiffer said charging station operators should actively seek partnerships with local businesses and service providers to enrich the charging experience with additional amenities. He also emphasizes the importance of using digital technologies to enable personalized services such as real-time information, flexible tariffs and easy payment methods that improve the customer experience. He also recommends that energy suppliers entering the emobility market should develop a service-oriented, partnership-oriented business model that goes beyond simply building and operating charging stations and offers a comprehensive charging experience.


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