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Press

CUSTOMER-DELIGHTING: THE STANDARD FOR INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP

Convention would tell you that the best way for a company to survive in any service industry is to ensure that it meets the minimum standards of customer satisfaction. By doing so it ensures that its clients are pleased and the possibility of return-business grows accordingly. For Mario Silos, President of Intellicare, one of the country’s leading Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), customer satisfaction, however, is just not enough.

According to him, one must "move beyond simply giving what you promised. You must delight in the quality of your service and go beyond mere customer satisfaction." He then adds that the secret of Intellicare’s continued success is that his organization emphasizes the further step of "customer-delighting."

Before expounding on this novel concept of customer delighting, Mr. Silos explained that, "every business must start from knowing your customer. Your customer defines what quality service is and sets the benchmark within which one must operate." In this regard, he illustrates that Intellicare takes great pains in ensuring that they know who their customers are. They accept the truism that all customers are unique, with their own respective wants and requirements. In order to understand their customers, they have put in place internal processes, using specific actuarial data to know a customer's demands, to determine the best way to price the service and to find ways to surprise the clients. Therefore, their products, highlights Mr. Silos, are anything but "de-kahon" or run-of-the-mill. He prides in the company's undertaking to match their client's specific needs to Intellicare's various health programs and packages.

As a minimum, Intellicare clients are assured that the health service they require is available as and when needed. Understanding this, Mr. Silos said that Intellicare is the only HMO with a truly comprehensive nationwide network. Intellicare has regional offices in Cebu, Bacolod, Davao and Calamba, with satellite offices scattered all over the country. They make it a point to be present where their clients and service providers (hospitals, clinics and doctors) are. Further, Intellicare's hotlines for their clients are manned 24 hours a day 7 days a week, which guarantees that clients get to speak with trained officers to assist them. Through this network, Intellicare's response to their client’s needs is faster and more efficient.

Aside from being merely present, Intellicare ensures that their Patient Relations Officers, or those who help clients as they get themselves checked in hospitals and clinics, are equipped with a medical background, in order that they can provide intelligent support and guidance. These front-liners of the Company are there to explain to the patients the processes to be undertaken, to assist in hospital admission, to clarify why certain tests have to be made, to help in the check out process and even to lend a hand in filing claims with PhilHealth. These PROs are expected to ensure that clients will be attended to properly, professionally and compassionately. As such, these Patient Relations Officers live by the creed of "working in the most humane way to address the patient’s needs."

Being present and having highly competent and professional PROs however only meets customer's minimum requirements for HMOs. As mentioned earlier, this for Mr. Silos is not enough. He says that Intellicare endeavors not only to meet their client's demands but to surprise them, to further "delight" them. Intellicare strives hard to provide their clients something much more than what is expected. As an illustration he relates the experience of one client who signed up its officers under one of Intellicare's many health programs. Without the prompting of the client and as a means to surprise them, Intellicare offered to give an additional rider in the policy, for free, whereby officers of the client were enrolled under Assist America, which provides medical evacuation services from areas beyond 150 kilometers from the client's home base. Therefore, officers of that client who may fall ill while in some far flung province can be evacuated by Assist America and brought to an Intellicare partnered hospital.

For some other companies, Intellicare offers the additional service of helping administer their clinics and health facilities in compliance with the requirements of Philippine labor laws. Workers are therefore given not mere token medical assistance but quality healthcare in their work place. As an added bonus, Intellicare even goes so far as to give health seminars on stress management, nutrition, weight management and the like.

These unexpected additional services are the keys to customer-delighting. Their clients not only receive the service standards they expect but are treated further to additional, unexpected benefits. This conscious effort to delight their clients is what sets Intellicare apart from their rivals. This is one of the strategic ingredients that continues to propel Intellicare to the higher stratospheres in the HMO industry. This is what makes Intellicare service a notch above the rest.