Searching for a new medical aid scheme to join and where you can chat online with the scheme prior to joining?
With the ease of access to the internet, there is an increasing trend for people to search for medical aid schemes, using different search engines, when searching for a medical aid scheme to join. This, however, is often where the search ends, as the consumer may hop from the one medical scheme website to the next, not knowing what to look for, how to understand or interpret the magnitude of benefit information displayed on the various websites and also not finding direct answers to the questions they may have. To add to their misery, they can often not speak to another human at the exact time they need assistance.
The majority of individuals that join a medical scheme, join a scheme directly and without the assistance of a broker, however, trying to choose the right medical aid benefit option, together with the complexities of the industry, make it an overwhelming and veritable mine field. One’s choice cannot be based on contributions alone. You have to consider the benefits that provide the cover you need along with what you can afford.
Another important aspect is the fact that their medical scheme, for most people, remains an intangible, faceless entity, whom they never speak to (unless there is a problem or a hospital authorisation is needed) and who is perceived as the enemy that only takes their money.
Genesis Medical Scheme however has been at the forefront of using various social media platforms to assist potential new members. The Scheme actively encourages people to experience its service at a very personal and human level. Apart from its ongoing and interactive Twitter and Facebook participation, providing real time feedback to all its followers, the Scheme offers a live support and chat function to all new visitors to their website during business hours.
Visitors to its website need not search for this support function, as an invitation to chat to a real person, pops-up shortly after a visitor starts browsing the website. “People are often hesitant to initiate a conversation when prompted to do so, but as soon as they start chatting to one of our consultants and they see how easy it is, they are often amazed at the value-add of this function” says Brian Watson, an Executive of Genesis Medical Scheme.
Offering this service in both English and Afrikaans is key to its success. “Approximately one third of our on-line chats are in Afrikaans”, says Watson. Generally speaking, the average SA citizen living in and around cities have no problem communicating in English, however, a lot Afrikaans speaking people, especially in rural areas, show great appreciation for this service in their mother tongue.
When joining a medical scheme, especially if it is for the first time, people have some real important questions to ask. These questions are generally centered on affordability and the cost of a full cover medical aid or hospital plan, the restriction of network service providers vs freedom of choice, waiting periods, dental benefits, new pregnancies, or cover for specific conditions.
“People who engage with us via this chat facility are astounded by the actual value and service that they receive. Judging the service by the knowledge of our consultants and their politeness, 96% of people have rated their interaction with the Scheme as 5-star. Efficiency, outstanding service and speed of response are the key service features mostly commented on”, says Watson.
Other benefits of using this on-line chat facility include assistance in the form a telephone call from the Scheme to the visitor when more complex questions arise, or assistance with completing an on-line application at the same time, without the hassle of all the admin involved when having to complete a paper-based application form.
By providing real-time assistance and factual information on the complex issues around medical aid cover, this on-line chat facility adds tremendous value to potential new members. “This is the first time that I have used this support which is great, as often it’s quite tedious to find out information and this option really works well”, as well as “Got to the point straight away and I realized that it is a big decision on our part to move to another scheme. Gosh! Got a phone call immediately! Way to go!” are typical amongst the feedback the Scheme often receive.