The TPC Mark of Ed Vergado (PAL Senior International Ticket Representative)

The “TPC” Mark of Ed Vergado

(PAL Senior International Ticket Representative)

By Apolinario Villalobos

“TPC” stands for Total Passenger Care, a trademark of PAL during its Golden Days under Roman Cruz, Jr. As a “total care”, even inquiring callers and walk-ins were given utmost attention, because they are already considered customers, though with “prospect” status. Most often, though, because of the care given, they eventually, become a full-pledge customer.

The mark of PAL’s excellent service, was again shown by Ed Vergado, a senior International Ticket Representative of Philippine Airlines assigned at the NAIA Terminal 2 ticket office. I witnessed how he offered his cellphone to a passenger, Arturo Albulario, who was in a quandary while trying to contact a friend who was supposed to meet him upon his arrival from Los Angeles.  He was taking a connecting flight to Cebu that morning and the meeting with his friend was very crucial, as time was running out.

With a smile that put Mr. Albulario at ease, Ed even offered to dial the number of the former’s friend for him. In just a few minutes, the friend who was finally contacted rushed inside the ticket office. Both were profuse in showing their gratitude to Ed. The passenger tried to show his apprehension by leaving a substantial amount to refund the consumed load for the call made, but which Ed vehemently refused. I witnessed the incident as I was inside the ticket office killing time while waiting for the arrival of a friend from Davao.

Ed began his airline career in Virac station (Catanduanes Island) as a ticket clerk, moving on to Laoag station (Ilocos Sur) with the same position. Recurrent trainings afforded him knowledge in other responsibilities such as ramp handling, counter handling (check-in), cargo handling, reservations, and manual computation of load (passenger, baggage and cargo). His expertise in the line was such that every time new stations were opened, he was among those assigned which happened when Busuanga station in Palawan was made operational to boost the tourism-related effort of the province.

With the onset of developments in the company, Ed was transferred to NAIA Terminal 2, to handle checking in of passengers for which he was well-prepared, thanks to his experience and trainings. Lately, he is now at the ticket office of the same terminal, but this time, preparing international tickets, as a Senior International Ticket Representative (Senior ITR), a supervisory position that he more than deserves.

The more than 30 years of service in PAL, made Ed a seasoned customer-oriented employee, and developed in him a sharp perception on how to make customers satisfied. He does not hesitate in sharing what he has gained with his new co-employees every time he has a chance, as what I had observed also that morning. As there was a lull in the influx of customers, Ed was entertaining questions and voluntarily sharing information about their responsibilities with the rest of the counter staff.

Philippine Airlines can encourage acts similar to what Ed did, by giving deserving employees due recognition through commendation. The emulation by other employees can create a chain reaction that can definitely add more life to the consistent excellent service of the company.

Michael Quirante: Tenacious and Resourceful Branch Manager of McDonalds-Hidalgo (Quiapo)

Michael Quirante: Tenacious and Resourceful

Branch Manager of McDonalds-Hidalgo (Quiapo)

by Apolinario Villalobos

Lately, MacDonalds has been hugging the limelight because of the incidents on food poisoning. This seems unlikely as the food chain is known for being finicky as regards their products and service. I had the chance to test the trademark for which it has been known one morning when I dropped by their Hidalgo Branch in Quiapo for breakfast.

As usual I ordered the pancakes but the Cashier, Love Castaῆares smilingly suggested their new product, launched just that morning, the cheesy egg pandesal. I gave in to her insistence, but I was disappointed as it came in the size which was not my type, so I rejected it. At this instance, the Branch Manager, Michael Quirante volunteered that I still try the pandesal if only to check its taste. I declined, and perhaps in an effort to prevent me from getting irritated, it was promptly changed with the pancakes.

While I was enjoying my pancakes, I saw Mr. Quirante slicing the sandwich into bite sizes, and offered them to the few customers at the time, as it was still early. He had such kind of persuading approach that no customer ever declined his offer, and all of them practically gave their thumb up, to confirm that their new product tasted really good. In just a couple of minutes all bite-sized pandesal slices were gone, and Mr. Quirante was smiling from ear to ear.

What touched me that morning was the persistence of Mr. Quirante in introducing a new product of the company, by personally, offering it to the customers. He was not downhearted with my rejection. Also, I supposed that such gesture was not really part of his routine, but rather his own kind of personal gimmickry that put his resourcefulness to the fore.

My interest in the attitude of Mr. Quirante made me talk to him for a few minutes before I left. I asked him if he was aware of the latest impression on their company due to the issue on food poisoning, to which he answered in the positive, that is why, he told me that they are trying their best to maintain their image. Just then, a service crew came in and greeted him. He told me that the guy was a Muslim. I was surprised because I thought only Christians were being hired by their company. At that, I was told that they want to be fair to all those who seek opportunity to help them with their studies, that is why their outlet has hired four Muslim staff. I was not surprised by what he told me as McDonalds is known for its penchant in helping working students. In fact, Mr. Quirante told me that he went through the same stage, as he was himself, a working student when he worked initially with the company.

Quiapo is one area in Manila, a historic one, yet, which is being shared by the Catholics and Muslims who live side by side harmoniously. MacDonalds contributes to this harmonious co-existence by hiring service crew members from the area, regardless of their religious affinity. Mr. Quirante’s attitude on the other hand, has enhanced the effort of the company in his own way, by doing his best as part of the company – being nice to the clients and his co-employees. He told me that his rising from the lowest position, that of a service crew, until he became manager, gave him the opportunity to understand the entire nature of his job.

While it is true that employees of service-oriented companies are mandated to smile their best to attract customers, the difference lies in the “sincerity” in how it is done. Being an employee myself that handled customer needs, I know if smiling is candidly done or words that are muttered are meant to help or appease irritated clients or not. Mr. Quirante did more than all those…he made use of his resourcefulness to help his company to show that the golden arc does not only symbolize excellent service, but superb products, as well.