“Smart Tank” co-creates future of retail with PLDT, Smart customers


The Philippines’ largest fully integrated telco PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) recently held “Smart Tank”, a customer-driven workshop aimed to transform and co-create the future of the two telcos’ retail stores across the country.

Patterned after the American reality show Shark Tank, selected PLDT and Smart employees from different units of the company — spanning IT, business development, customer experience, and other departments — worked hard together to paint and pitch their vision of the future of PLDT and Smart stores within ten minutes. Channel Transformation executives Monica Mabuti and Ian Lopez, together with Retail Operations Head Jonston Ong, conceptualized and produced the Smart Tank workshop and invited a panel consisting of customers who may or may not be PLDT or Smart subscribers, partners, and company executives to “invest” in the best idea from the workshop.

According to PLDT and Smart President and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio, activities like Smart Tank is part of a broader program of PLDT and Smart to focus on elevating customer experience and is all about listening to the customers. “Customer behaviors have changed, and we must see it from their lens. We should always strive to do a better job in making it easy and simplifying our services for our customers – our north star,” Panlilio said.

The panel members were free to ask questions or suggest improvements to the presentations made by the participants: from applications to ideas on the best use of space, and other customer-centric programs.

For entrepreneur Dorthee Li, the whole activity was “super refreshing.” “It’s not every day that you hear ideas from Smart’s young leaders. Some of the ideas are crazy and ambitious, but if there’s someone who can execute these ideas, it’s you guys. It’s very inspiring,” she said.

“I don’t feel like a customer, I feel like a stakeholder. I would like to be part of its transformation, of its improvement. No matter how great we are, we must continuously improve, that is why I’m very thankful to be a part of this activity,” shared Atty. Jop Esquivias, a multi-business owner and a Smart Infinity subscriber.

PLDT and Sun subscriber Donna Ong shared that as a customer, she felt heard. “Thank you for involving us, for co-creating these ideas with your customers. It’s one thing to do things on your own, from a company’s standpoint, but it’s completely on another level when you involve us customers in the ideation and the co-creation of solutions. It’s being part of something that makes me feel valued as a customer.”

The Smart Tank initiative is aligned with PLDT’s group-wide commitment to Awesome Customer Experience and Quality of Service, one of the pillars that comprise the company’s sustainability framework, and in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goal #9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure as PLDT’s SDG anchor.


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Gabriel

Introvert, wanderer, blogger, foodie, a hip-hop music writer, and one of the co-founders of a tech start-up company called GigsManila.