New CCO Reshapes Meralco
Meralco’s New CCO, Ferdinand O. Geluz, Is Reshaping How The Company Supports
Its 7 Million Customers
The power utility’s Chief Commercial Officer says that in order to address their customers’ pain points,
the company must be one step ahead.
By Cris Laraño
Published October 5, 2020
Ferdinand O. Geluz never shirks from a challenge. He welcomes and embraces it, looking at it as another opportunity to improve himself.
Geluz was appointed on September 3 as Meralco’s Chief Commercial Officer and helms Customer Retail Services (CRS) which oversees operations that directly impact the daily engagements and transactions of the Philippines’ largest power distributor with its 7 million customers.
Until he moved into this present role, he did an almost complete tour of the Meralco Frontline; as Senior Assistant Vice President and Head for South Distribution Services (Networks) in 2007, as Vice President and Head for Central Area Home & Micro Business in 2011, to Vice President and Head for South Business Area Home & Micro Business (Customer Retail Services) in 2016.
His last appointment was as Vice President and Head for Supply Chain and Logistics Management Group in 2018. Geluz thought this would be his last assignment in the company. His wife, Amelia “Amelou” Lourdes Geluz, left Meralco five years ago and he plans to retire in a few years—with enough time to see the youngest of his three children complete a college degree.
There is no doubt in Geluz’s mind—a belief universally shared by those who found a home in Meralco—that the company is a life changer, an agent of progress, and a herald of hope in the communities it serves.
A customer-centric approach
“While in Networks, when we energize a community, I already saw how Meralco helps people,” said Geluz, his voice filled with pride. “But it is in CRS, that when we face the customers, this is where I realized how we could actually impact their lives more,” he said.
His immediate goal as CCO, Geluz said, is to push customer service back to the level where it was, if not better, before the government imposed the community quarantine to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“My learning, coming into management, is that we should not only serve customers but also anticipate what they will need. And to be able to satisfy customers in the future, we have to be a step ahead,” he said.
Geluz’s group is already making an aggressive digital pivot, harnessing the power of technology to make life easier for customers and Meralco frontliners. The company has hired more customer care agents to improve the quality and speed up responses to queries across all the touchpoints.
Geluz said Meralco is pilot testing the system that will allow customers to transact business with the company using only their account numbers, doing away with reference numbers that have been the source of customer stress lately.
He said talks are also underway to substantially reduce the convenience fees collected by Meralco’s third-party service providers when customers pay online.
Virtual Customer Assistance (VCA) is also being deployed in business centers and other locations including shopping malls to allow customers quick face-to-face access to agents that could help decongest Meralco business centers.
“The pandemic taught us many lessons. One of them is the need for stronger communications,” said Geluz. “Customers will always have concerns, but communication is key. Customers will understand, but what they won’t understand is why it takes us along time to respond.”
Geluz said CRS is also looking at “business pain points which prevents us from immediately addressing customer concerns.” While Meralco employees are more than willing to help, they are sometimes limited by existing capabilities, a problem that is now being addressed, he said.
Lessons from MVP and RCE
As he immerses deeper into customer care, Geluz recalls lessons from his bosses—Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan and President and CEO, Atty. Ray C. Espinosa—on how to provide practical solutions and not be bogged down by over analyzing a problem.
“What I admire in MVP is his drive to help uplift the country, from improving basic infrastructure and services, to helping develop world-class Filipino athletes,” said Geluz. “And with RCE -- he is not only practical but very decisive, he does what needs to be done.”
For those who have worked with and known Geluz, they will swear that he is both a gentle and firm boss, a ready ear for those who dare to speak sense, a fearless manager who leads from the front, and a tireless advocate for customers who are the reason for Meralco’s being.
“Without our customers, we are nothing. We are just a building, a few people working,” Geluz said.
“We want to treat customer engagement in the perspective of a journey. We want to see the holistic experience of the customers and really address all the pain points they have with us the best way we can.”
To learn more, contact your Meralco Relationship Manager or call 16210.
Story originally posted on Power Club.