Innovative and Excellent Customer Service

GRI 103-2, 103-3, 203-1

Superior customer service is at the heart of our businesses. With our broad range of essential products and services, we are committed to delivering excellent service that uplifts the everyday lives of Filipinos. To respond to the evolving needs of our customers, our companies continuously implement system improvements through constant innovation in technology and processes. In addition, as customers become more connected to the digital world, we adopt digital solutions that enhance the overall customer experience. 

Meralco: Customer service excellence

Ingrained in the culture of our companies is the pursuit of continuous improvement. We ensure that our products and services can address customer needs and meet their expectations. We use customer feedback to develop our processes, improve the delivery of our services, and use innovative solutions that enhance the overall customer experience. 

In 2021, Meralco received an 8.1 customer satisfaction rating, 7.4% higher than its score in 2020. Various customer care initiatives on staffing and process improvement contributed to this improvement. In addition, through its Customer Centricity Transformation Program (CCTP), Meralco implemented several pilot projects that aim to enhance customer experience. 

Customers today have varying needs, limitations, and perceptions regarding customer service channels or platforms. Thus, Meralco has provided more options and access points through its Virtual Customer Assistant (VCA) service and the Online Customer Appointment (OCA) platform. Customer may OPT to video conference with a Meralco customer care representative through VCA. Meanwhile, customers who prefer to speak in person with a customer care representative at a participating Meralco business center may schedule their appointment through the OCA. 

Another initiative under CCTP is the introduction of the new Meralco bill, which aims to make it easier for customers to understand the breakdown of their electricity costs. The improved billing statement highlights the most pertinent information with a more customer-friendly design and layout.  It also provides new features such as customers’ historical consumption and payments previously made versus amounts currently due. 

To simplify the payment process for its customers, Meralco has implemented a unique Customer Account Number (CAN) for every connection in 2020. Eliminating the need for Meralco Reference Numbers that expire every month, the permanent 10-digit CAN allows customers to pay through authorized payment partners anytime, anywhere. Payments are posted real-time via the Meralco Online website, Meralco Mobile app, Bayad Online website, Bayad PH mobile app, Maybank app, and BPI QuickPay. 

Meralco also ensured the 24x7x365 availability of customer care channels to provide immediate assistance to customers. Meralco reinforced its customer service team to respond to inquiries and concerns raised via call and text hotline, email, and social media accounts. It has contact center agents on voice and digital platforms as well as business centers that handle face-to-face customer transactions.

MPTC: Systems improvement for efficiency and better customer experience 

In driving a frustration-free customer experience, it is important to ensure continuous improvement in the delivery of products and services. For MPTC, this means continually optimizing road and traffic management to ensure the ultimate mobility experience of its customers. In 2021, MPTC invested in new technologies that further strengthened toll operations, including Automatic License Plate Recognition system, improved overloading detection, and apprehension automation. As a result, average daily vehicle entries improved to 145,556 in CAVITEX, 19,010 in CALAX, and 262,221 in NLEX-SCTEX. 

Investing in the latest tollways management technology allowed MPTC to fully transition to a radio frequency identification (RFID) system, which supports contactless passage at toll roads. By eliminating human-to- human transactions, the RFID system makes passage at toll plazas faster and more convenient for motorists. MPTC has also implemented other digital enhancements in toll payments, such as system updates, antenna realignments, installation of contactless card readers, and adoption of handheld readers. 

MPTC has enhanced its road traffic management by reinforcing traffic marshal deployment, improving emergency and incident response strategy, speeding up the overspeeding apprehension process, and by using data analytics generated through up-to-date monitoring systems. It likewise worked with the national and local governments to improve traffic flow and emergency response in access roads and highways. Response time and clearing operations become faster in the 1,645 overspeeding cases and 44,065 resolved emergencies that were handled in 2021. 

To ensure timely and efficient resolution of customer complaints, MPTC has introduced One Hub, a centralized customer response team that addresses various concerns raised through MPTC’s digital touchpoints. This initiative by MPTC’s subsidiary, MPT Mobility, duly resolved 99.5% of the 69,729 complaints received in 2021. 

Frequent users of MPTC’s toll roads are assured that the company is constantly finding ways to ensure that these roads are safe for travel. Using technology and other means, road safety is realized through timely traffic updates on our communication channels, efficient traffic management and enforcement, community engagement programs and seminars, and installation of additional road safety features in all expressways. MPTC achieved a milestone for these road safety practices in 2021 when NLEX Corporation became the first tollway operator in the Philippines to receive ISO 39001 certification, a standard for road traffic safety management systems. ISO 39001 is awarded for effective road safety standards and initiatives which aim to reduce death and serious injuries related to road traffic crashes. 

MPTC continues to strengthen its advocacy for road safety awareness through internal workshops with employees and road safety seminars with motorists, which include Draybers of MPT South and KalSaDa (Kaligtasan sa Daan) of NLEX Corporation. Motorists in particular are constantly reminded about road safety through communication materials posted in the company’s social media platforms where it receives significant positive engagement. 

Moreover, MPTC partnered with non-government agencies to improve existing road safety programs and develop new ones that contribute to global road safety targets. In December 2021, MPTC signed a multiyear agreement with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to promote the safety of children on the road under the United Nations’ Second Decade of Action for Road Safety. MPTC, including its subsidiaries, has committed to support UNICEF’s goal to reduce the number of road traffic fatalities involving children by 50% by 2030. This involves scaling up models for improved road safety and safe journeys for schoolchildren in high-risk areas via road safety awareness, health systems strengthening, child responsive urban planning, and enhanced child rights principles in business practices.

Maynilad: Elevating customer experience

Aside from providing continuous access to vital services, we run the extra mile to ensure that we deliver a superior customer experience at all times. Our customers deserve a seamless experience of having convenient access to information and customer service whenever they need it. At Maynilad, customer- centric initiatives led to an overall Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) rating of 91% in 2021. A customer-first mindset and the elimination of silo mentality drove Maynilad’s business units to achieve specific key result areas and key performance indicators that translated to greater customer satisfaction. 

Gathering insights from customers is key to creating an effective strategy for elevating customer experience. Through the results of the Customer Satisfaction Study 2021 and the insights from the 2022 budget study, Maynilad implemented an organization-wide cascade of the CSAT results. This resulted in a CSAT improvement roadmap and the consolidation of insightful inputs from business units regarding how each can contribute to customer satisfaction and delight. Through these insights, Maynilad also conducted the analysis, conceptualization, and finalization of possible interventions or corrective actions for areas with 8% or higher general dissatisfaction rating. Maynilad was able to come with a clearly defined plan that aligns with customer satisfaction objectives, the effects of which are expected to be felt in the results of the next customer satisfaction study. 

Maynilad also made use of previous insights gathering initiatives such as its Customer Satisfaction Study 2017 and the Residential Customers and Commercial & Industrial In-depth Interviews (IDI). These studies guided the formulation of the customer experience roadmap and customer-centric digital roadmap. From the Customer Segmentation and Profiling Study 2020 (Project Impreza 2.0), Maynilad obtained insights on new customer characteristics, behaviors, and personas particularly driven by the pandemic. Additionally, Maynilad used the Corporate Reputation and Brand Imagery Study 2018 (Project Impreza 1.0) to obtain insights on corporate reputation and brand image, as well as insights from concept tests. 

These initiatives led to process improvements for complaints handling, turnaround times, and customer touchpoints. The insights were also helpful in pursuing organizational changes, including the change in division name from Business Area Operations to Customer Experience and Retail Operations, which now emphasize the importance of overall customer experience. The insights gathered also improved Maynilad’s digital endeavors such as digital payments and paperless billing. As an effective guide when it comes to messaging and positioning, the insights also led to the revival of Maynilad’s platform for advocacy and social responsibility activities — Water Warrior Facebook page, the “Higit sa Tubig” internal brand cascade, enhancement of the Kubeta PH campaign, and a more deliberate communication push for non-regulated business (NRB). 

Maynilad also delivered a remarkable customer experience by providing an improved customer response. In 2021, it spent P100 million on initiatives that resulted in the prevention of customer complaints, real-time customer response, and convenient digital services. One such initiative is the pilot implementation of the Maynilad Zone Accounts Management System, an automated reporting tool that analyzes account behavior using previous billing information and detects anomalies including consumption abnormalities. The automated analysis enabled zone personnel to proactively respond and resolve issues. Meanwhile, Maynilad implemented its paperless billing system in the last quarter of 2021, which allowed customers with an existing portal account to enroll to paperless billing via SMS, through its call center, or the business area frontline. 

Through its mobility project, Maynilad empowers its zone specialists by giving them access to different application systems on-site using a tablet with data connectivity. This allowed zone specialists to inmediately respond to customer billing and service- related concern, inquiry, request, and complaint on-site. 

Maynilad is also developing its own chatbot, which is expected to roll out in the 4th quarter of 2022. This chatbot will make use of a conversational artificial intelligence (AI) messaging platform that will engage customers for specific types of concerns such as general inquiry, billing inquiry, and reporting of water outages. It will provide real-time answers to customers’ basic inquiries without the hassle of long queues through 1626. It will also lessen the traffic/transactions being attended to by Maynilad’s contact center and increase social media response rate. 

Another ongoing project is the development of the Maynilad app, which is expected to be released at around the same time as the chatbot. This project aims to migrate the existing Customer Portal into a mobile application with enhanced capabilities including a digital payment functionality. The mobile app will also push notifications like current billing information via SMS to make sure that customers receive relevant information instantaneously. 

To maintain its customer responsiveness, Maynilad benefits from its previous customer response-related projects such as the Customer Portal launched in 2014 and the Automated Customer Communication (ACC) implemented in 2020. Maynilad also proactively manages customer concerns with the help of the Workflow Management System (WMS), Billing Complaints and Preventive Measure (BCPM), and In Zone Program. 

LRMC: Digital experience for customers

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In the digital sphere, there are so many opportunities to enhance customer experience. LRMC, the operator of LRT-1, improved the commute experience of many Filipinos by introducing the mobile app ikotMNL, a digital one-stop source of information for LRT-1 passengers. In 2021, LRMC spent P500,000 for the development and maintenance of the app which has an active user base of 14,876. To help commuters plan their trips ahead of schedule, ikotMNL provides data on train arrivals and departure, fare information, and train station crowding. It has other useful features such as safety reminders, passenger advisories, news and announcements, point-to-point navigation via, contact tracing via Bluetooth LE technology, and customer service assistance and feedback report. 

Digital technology helped LRMC ensure the health and safety of its customers and employees during the pandemic. Teleconsult and Daily Health Check (DHC), which were among the main initiatives under LRMC’s COVID-19 management program, helped the company achieve zero workplace transmission in 2021. These initiatives contributed to the effective overall COVID-19 management of LRMC, which was among the positive findings in the ISO Audit conducted by global testing service provider TUV Rheinland. LRMC also received a safety seal certification from the local government of Pasay for its handling of COVID-19 in its train stations and depot located in the city. 

Through the LRMC Company Clinic digital platform, employees with health concerns availed of virtual medical consultations. The teleconsult platform also has an automated DHC for employees, contractors, and visitors. The DHC is based on Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 issued jointly by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The platform also supports the electronic submission of one’s health status, keeping employees’ health in check thereby keeping passengers safe as well from COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. 

LRMC also leveraged digital technology to promote its advocacy campaigns and public advisories. In 2021, it allotted P6.3 million for information displays and media access, such as the installation of Public Information Display System (PIDS) in 3G Trainset (6 units per LRV or 24 units per trainset). LRMC provided free public Wi-Fi in all 20 stations of LRT-1. These digital upgrades helped boost LRMC’s safety awareness campaigns and public advisories including COVID-19 reminders from the government.