The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) emerged as one of the top companies in the Philippines on service excellence, leveraging both digital and traditional customer channels despite the challenges brought about by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In the recently concluded 2021 ASEAN Enterprise Innovation Awards presented by Asia IoT Business Platform (AIBP), Meralco was recognized for its entry, “Transformation Powered by Technology and Tradition”, which showcased the power distributor’s programs aimed at enhancing customer experiences through process improvements and digital transformation.
Among Meralco’s key customer-centricity initiatives are its Facebook Live Chat, which serves 8,000 transactions per hour; Virtual Customer Assistant, which allows customers to speak with Meralco representatives via video conferencing; and Online Customer Appointment, which enables customers to schedule appointments before visiting Business Centers. All these are geared towards ensuring the safety and convenience of Meralco customers.
In addition, Meralco introduced the Customer Account Number, which is a permanent reference number for all payment transactions.
Another important initiative is the redesigned electricity bill, which aims to help customers better understand and manage their energy consumption. The new bill format is easier to understand as it provides all necessary information such as the customer’s 24-month consumption and payment history.
To augment these customer-facing programs, Meralco also arms its crews with a Meter Reading App that helps in optimizing service routes and ensures accurate readings of electricity consumption. Through the Real-Time Payment Validation App, Meralco avoids incidents where the electricity service of customers is disconnected due to the late reflection of customer payments for unsettled bills.
Meralco Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Customer Retail Services Ferdinand O. Geluz said that the Company has always advocated for “service with compassion” as it commits to making customers the priority while adapting to the challenges of the new normal.
“Moving forward, and as signaled by all our efforts behind customer centricity, we will continue pursuing our passion of transforming customer experience across all our transactions and touchpoints,” he said.
In 2021, Meralco also unveiled its most advanced Operations Platform and Telecommunications Integrated Command Center (OPTIC), which manages all information, communication, and technology (ICT) systems across the Company.
The first of its kind among electricity distribution utilities in the country, OPTIC is a state-of-the-art facility that aims to reduce unplanned downtime of critical ICT systems, increase employee productivity, and enhance service delivery to Meralco customers.
Meralco First Vice President and Head of Information Communication Technology and Transformation Rocky D. Bacani said the AIBP recognition affirms the Company’s commitment to service innovations that improve customer experience.
“What guided us through our journey is the clear and decisive leadership which accelerated the change and ensured that everyone marches to the same beat as we move forward with our transformation program,” he said.
“We also embraced agile delivery allowing us to address customer pain points rapidly through incremental improvements. We knew that beyond technology, the success of our transformation relies heavily on our crews, their ability to embrace change, and their ‘malasakit’ and sacrifices to go above and beyond in the service of our customers. This Innovation Award is indeed a recognition of Meralco’s continued and strong thrust for customer centricity and digital transformation,” Bacani added.
Meralco President and Chief Executive Officer Atty. Ray C. Espinosa, meanwhile, said: “Excellent customer service and communication are at the core of what we do in Meralco, and transparency is a value we have long adhered to. To be recognized internationally for campaigns focused on these is a remarkable feat, and a great honor to the many women and men of Meralco who toil relentlessly for the fulfillment of these programs and their objectives, despite adversities brought by the pandemic.