MARCOS R. LOPEZ, 47, of Narberth, is president, chief executive and majority owner of eXude, an employee-benefits and consulting firm that works with nonprofit and for-profit businesses. Among its clients are the National Constitution Center, Congreso and Esperanza. He co-founded eXude in 1996. It has 30 employees in a three-story building on Race Street near 22nd, and had $5 million in revenue in 2012.
Q: What does eXude do?
A: We manage health-care, life-insurance, disability, dental, vision and prescription plans. We also do human-resources consulting, risk management and commercial insurance. In 2008, I started TrustScripts, a prescription program for the uninsured.
Q: Is that the philanthropic aspect of your corporate culture?
A: Yes, and it doesn't break even. Since inception, we saved people $3.5 million on their prescriptions. I'm a distributor for a pharmacy-benefits manager in Colorado, which gives us the discounts. We cover the printing and distribution of the cards.
Q: And the name eXude?
A: We're a 24-7 operation. If somebody calls on a weekend because their prescription card isn't working and it's to the insurer, they get an answering machine. You call us and you'll get a live person. So we exude who we are.
Q: What's the business model?
A: The typical consulting model is lots of sales people, very few service people. You have to give wow service to your clients, who then become your biggest advocates. [Marketing guru] Seth Godin wrote the book Purple Cow, and the idea is to become the purple cow in your space. Everybody knows what a black-and-white cow looks like, but a purple one stands out.
Q: The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce gave eXude an award for "excellence in customer service" in 2011.
A: The other customer-service piece that's not as tangible but just as important is our culture. We've won numerous "Best Place to Work" awards.
Q: Why's that?
A: We're half-staffed Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day. In other words, staff gets every other Friday off in the summer and we don't close down. Our employees spend at least eight hours a day here. Our core values are respect, integrity, service and enjoyment. So people can come here and find a challenging workplace but not be so sapped they can't go home and be a good family member. Our vacation policy says take as many days as you need as long as it's OK with your team; we're broken down into teams here. I also chair a [corporate] culture committee here. Its goal is to create a workable, livable and happy workplace.
Q: What's the biggest challenge you faced growing the business?
A: You have to stay one step ahead of your competitors. You don't want to grow too quickly or you'll lose on customer service and commitment. Keep clients happy and they'll refer you.