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eMobility Insights: Q&A with Kris Kluzak, Former Head of Customer Care at Enel North America

Meet Kris Kluzak, a distinguished customer service executive and former Head of Customer Care at Enel X Way, the EV charging (eMobility) arm of Europe's largest energy company Enel. Kris brings together a unique combination of technical chops in electrification AND eMobility with years of customer care leadership and operational excellence. She pioneered the first AI implementation in eMobility customer care to augment her contact center reps during calls - with Minerva CQ technology of course.

So, Kris tell us how it all started?

Well, my dad was an electrician and would sometimes take me on jobs when I was young. I started out putting plate covers on outlets and switches, and eventually joined the electrical apprenticeship right out of high school. I then started to go on side-jobs with my dad, learning more about personal touch with customers, and how to make them happy. 

What I gleaned from the apprenticeship was a stark realization: in new commercial construction, the focus wasn't on the customer; rather, it revolved around the contractors, the politics, and the neglectful treatment of employees. Paid holidays were non-existent, as were basic amenities like a break room or proper toilets, and oftentimes, vacations went unpaid.

It certainly seems you had a customer-first mindset from the early years in your career.  

Absolutely. You gotta. And the more I worked in commercial construction the more I realized that this style of work wasn’t for me. Taking the time to ensure things looked good or to do something correctly, even if it meant working at a slower pace, unfortunately didn't align with the owner's perspective of a job well done.

So I moved on to The Home Depot and worked in the electrical department. Customers began specifically seeking me out, which eventually led to me assuming the role of Professional Business Contact for electrical contractors seeking parts or products. After a few years at The Home Depot I redirected my energy to raise our daughter while my husband worked. Fast forward 18 years, a postcard from BMW, a message on Facebook, followed up by a phone call and...


I was in a beta test group for the BMW ActiveE where I was chosen as one of 450 drivers in the US. I was happy to help answer questions on our group page about electrical questions, wiring a charging station, or weird ways to bring the ActiveE back to life when it would give us the equivalent of the “blue screen of death.” That lead to my work with a startup known as eMotorWerks.

What gets you excited about customer experience in eMobility and electric vehicles (EVs)?

My passion for EVs grew out of what turned into a family of drivers in that beta group. One person in that group asked me to help a ‘friend’ of his that was making electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) and needed someone to answer their phone and answer questions. I agreed to talk with him, and although we really didn’t know what I was going to do, I started to take over questions on Facebook in its Power Users group and its incoming calls and emails. I was mailed a cell phone with a sticky note on it that said “answer this when it rings.”  What I realized was that my passion, my ability to understand an EV driver and those unique needs were a win-win for the customers and the company because I was/am a customer, myself. 

EVs and that passion came from driving and learning the ease of “filling the tank” at home while I slept. There is still a long way to go for public charging, and until everyone has a way to charge where they live or work, that challenge will be there.

You’re known as the unicorn in the eMobility industry. Can you tell us why...though we can kinda guess at this point? 

<smile> As an electrician, I have not only the practical skills to execute tasks but also a fundamental understanding of the engineering principles behind them. This enables me to effectively communicate with engineers and articulate customer issues, facilitating a smoother resolution process. Can't fool me.

My primary focus has been on empathizing with our customers, comprehending their experiences and requirements, and transforming them into positive interactions. This customer-centric approach propelled the product (for the startup I worked at) to the forefront, earning us the coveted position as the top choice and garnering widespread praise on social media, particularly from customers who sought assistance or encountered challenges.

Working in that startup environment provided the flexibility for me to implement changes and address issues promptly. Little did I realize at the time, but I was laying the groundwork for how EV customers would be supported and cared for, incorporating unique support strategies.

One such innovation was the introduction of 'advanced replacements,' a concept where customers would receive a replacement before returning the faulty item, streamlining the support process and enhancing customer satisfaction. This enabled our customers to resume charging within a short timeframe, typically ranging from two days to a week.

What do you see as the biggest issues in the world of EV charging customer experience?

Public charging will be an issue until it is readily available in all locations. Public sites are often damaged, or not working. The time needed to roll a truck to fix them can be slow, and when there are only a few every 100 miles, that’s a problem. The two main issues at a public station are either mechanical or user interface–:

  1. it won’t charge

  2. It won’t take the credit card or app initialization

The only fix is remote start (if a CC issue), or find another station.

NOT ideal.


Living in a Multi-Unit Dwelling is also not a breeze for home charging. Getting approval to install in a common area, or even an assigned area is complicated if separate metering is needed. It can be done, but most MUD owners/HOAs, etc don’t want to be responsible for someone else's use of their shared electricity. This is often a misunderstood concept because with smart EVSE’s, all usage can be tracked and billed for, even if using a shared electrical circuit.

Tell us about some of the new technologies you’ve come across that you feel will have a demonstrable impact in EV charging?

Some of the newer technologies in play now to help drivers are starting to show an impact.

  • Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) apps that can help with installation by pointing at the EVSE and giving guided directions.

  • AI, or agent-assist when drivers/users call in with problems. In most cases the customer issues are not unique, so having an answer pop up either in an app, or right in front of the agent to help the customer quickly and efficiently makes a difference in the overall satisfaction with the customer and how quickly their issue was resolved. 

  • Smart charging. I’ve seen huge growth in technology in the last 12 years of driving an EV that has spread widely in other products. Smart charging changed the way utilities look at energy use–when spikes would come, and how energy could be redirected for high-demand loads. 

Double-clicking into that…when it comes to technologies what do you see as fads and which will stand the test of time?

AI is and is not a fad. It’s a double-edged sword with a lot of hype. 

It's obvious if a company is trying to use AI to save money on its customer service by using self-service and AI improperly for the purposes of deflection. There may be too many buttons to push, or the option needed isn’t there, allowing frustration to creep in and by the time the customer does reach an agent, if ever, the customer is even more frustrated.

If used properly it can be a great tool to help not just the customer, but the company as it provides insights, soft leads, intent, etc. If used as a “fad” it could be seen as ineffective, more work for the agent, or worse, shunned by the customers if it doesn’t help resolve their issue. Basic expectations and acceptance by both companies and customers means issues are solved more quickly, have more details/data, and give a positive experience. 

The key to the above is “the CX.” It doesn’t matter if you have the perfect AI application. If either the agent, the customer, or both aren’t buying how it can help them, it will not work, becoming a “fad.”

Where do you think we will be five years from now – where would the needle have moved the most and why?

  • Picture this: Companies will know us so well, it'll feel like they're reading our minds! With all of the data analytics and AI, they'll be able to tailor experiences just for us, making every interaction feel super customized.

  • No more boundaries: Say goodbye to the line between online and offline shopping. It'll all blend together seamlessly. Imagine browsing online, trying things out virtually, and then popping into a store to pick up your order

  • Feel the love: Brands will really step up their game in making us feel special. They'll focus on connecting with us emotionally, whether it's through heartfelt customer service or stories that tug at our heartstrings. It'll be like having a friend on the other end of the line, not just a company.

  • Talk the talk: Get ready to chat away! Voice assistants will be everywhere, making life easier. Need help finding something? Just ask. Want to sort out an issue? Your friendly AI buddy will be right there to lend a hand. It'll be like having a personal assistant at our beck and call.

  • Fix problems before they happen: Wouldn't it be nice if companies could swoop in and solve our problems before we even knew they existed? Well, that might just happen. With super-smart predictive tech, they'll be able to spot issues before they become headaches, keeping us happy and hassle-free.This couldn’t be true with more and more connected, smart devices, like your charging station.

  • Keep it real: Let's not forget about trust. Companies will be all about being upfront and honest. They'll make sure we know exactly how our data is being used, where our products are coming from, and what they stand for. Transparency will be the name of the game.

Do you have any examples of companies out there that you think do a great job in CX and why?

Customer experience is a real thing, and valued by the customers more than some companies are willing to admit. 

  • Louis Vuitton: Yes, it charges a lot of money for its products, but the company treats you like family, it gets to know you and understand what you want vs need. Employees make sure you are happy when you leave and take care of any issues after that sale.

  • Amazon: No-fault replacements or refunds (for the most part still). Easy to get problems taken care of, orders replaced or returned and refunded. Policies that favor the customer, even if it’s a detriment to the seller.

  • Disney: Probably self-explanatory, but Disney exists because of the customer. It was not always that giant, though. Roy, not Walt, decided that they needed merchandise as part of their portfolio. You cannot go anywhere without seeing something from the Disney family of products. And customers will keep on buying because they know they will be taken care of.

Can you tell us about a CX project that you were involved in and the past, how you came to define the problem, and what steps you took to solve that problem?

I had a few customers that would call or email us that they were not charging overnight, and they didn’t know why. It became a pattern with a couple of vehicle manufacturers, so I explained what was happening to our engineer, and in turn he rented one of those EVs to try and duplicate the issue, which he did. 

He found that the car would “go to sleep” and when the “time of use” was set on the charging station, the car would not wake up to take the charge. He came up with what we called a “pilot break.”  This would simulate the car being unplugged and plugged back in by breaking the pilot signal. Lo and behold the car would wake up and start to charge on the schedule.

What advice do you have for eMobility companies in the space when it comes to being strategic about CX?

  • LISTEN to, and EMPATHIZE with your customers;

  • BE your customer;

  • EDUCATE your customers with as much info as you can get online and self-serve as possible. There will still be customer questions, but in a lot of cases customers are happier if they can solve their own problems at 2 in the morning and not have to call a phone line where the agent is less than empathetic, or worse, just there to “answer a phone” because it’s a job; and lastly

  • PRIORITIZE your public stations for maintenance.

If you had one question to ask the industry leaders in the eMobility space (and they had to answer) – what would that be?

What are your 5, 10, and 50 year plans?

Which actor would you pick to portray you in a Christopher Guest movie?

Sandra Bullock!!! I admire her talent & versatility, particularly her knack for portraying strong, relatable characters—qualities that I aspire to possess & continually strive to develop.


Well you have all that and more! Thank you Kris Kluzak, aka "KK"!



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