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Medical schemes and healthcare advisors: The value of in-person communication



Bestmed Medical Scheme’s Personally Yours philosophy has resiliently led the way in the ever-changing and challenging medical aid industry for 60 years. This is reflected in the Scheme’s achievements in customer service and satisfaction in national benchmarks such as the Ask Afrika Orange Index® and the (former) South African customer satisfaction index (SA-csi), as well as its success in winning the FIA Intermediary Experience Award 2022 for Product Supplier of the Year: Healthcare, and ranking top three for this award in 2023. Bestmed also won the News24 Medical Scheme of the Year award in 2024.

Bestmed’s healthcare advisor community plays a key role in the member’s journey with the Scheme. Therefore, it is important for the Bestmed’s representatives (Business Consultants) to form real, face-to-face relationships with the Scheme’s advisors, not only to understand their needs and challenges, but to ensure mutually beneficial and seamless processes. Ultimately, all parties are intent on servicing medical scheme members to the best of their abilities.

The Scheme believes that face-to-face interactions allow for more personalised communication, fostering trust and rapport between medical scheme representatives and advisors. Building trust is essential in the financial and healthcare sectors, where sensitive information is exchanged and important decisions are made. Trust is, in other words, a ‘hygiene factor’, a non-negotiable, in this sector, and it is worth the time and investment required for it to be established.

Healthcare and insurance can be complex topics. Face-to-face meetings provide an opportunity for medical scheme representatives to explain intricate details, and for advisors to ask questions and address concerns in real time.

It also helps to facilitate effective problem-solving and conflict resolution. Issues or discrepancies can be addressed promptly, and solutions can be discussed collaboratively, leading to quicker resolution and greater satisfaction for all parties involved.

Although educational sessions, workshops, or training sessions can be done virtually, in-person discussions are often more productive and engaging. Non-verbal cues, such as body language and facial expressions, play a significant role in communication. Meeting in person allows for better interpretation of these cues, leading to clearer communication and reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings.

Medical schemes can assist with updates on new products, changes in regulations, or advancements in healthcare technology and benefit delivery, ensuring that advisors are well-informed and equipped to serve their clients effectively.

Face-to-face meetings also provide opportunities for networking and relationship-building among advisors and representatives from medical schemes. These connections can lead to collaborations, referrals and partnerships that benefit all parties involved. Ultimately, the entire healthcare ecosystem can benefit from positive and constructive engagements among like-minded individuals.

Some discussions or transactions may require signed documents or compliance checks. Face-to-face meetings provide a convenient and secure environment for completing necessary paperwork and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

While digital communication tools have become increasingly prevalent, face-to-face interactions continue to offer unique benefits in fostering trust, understanding and collaboration between medical schemes and advisors. Therefore, maintaining a balance between in-person meetings and digital communication channels is essential for effective relationship management in the healthcare industry.