Medibank launches new 'WeChat' channel

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Medibank has launched a WeChat channel in what it describes as a way to better connect with the growing Australian-Chinese population.

WeChat is a multi-functional Chinese messaging app with over one billion global monthly active users.

Medibank said the channel will be used to connect with overseas students and visitors who may need insurance.

It said the channel, which provides information and advice, is gaining popularity with its customers. "...there has been a 60 per cent increase in the number of followers in the first two months of this year."

"Almost 40 mandarin or Cantonese fluent employees are currently engaged in the channel across 28 Medibank retail stores and growing," it said.

According to the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs, Chinese nationals accounted for the largest number of approved student visas in the second half of 2017, with 40,92 or 24.4 percent. This represented almost one-quarter of all student visas.

China also had the largest number of lodged visitor applications with 941,088 in 2016-2017 as well.

Medibank Senior Customer Consultant Jason Huang has been working at Medibank since 2015, after moving to Australia from China in 2010.  

He has worked at both the Glen Waverly and Box Hill Medibank stores since 2015 and says WeChat is useful for many of his customers.

“Our new WeChat channel means that we can be better at supporting the Chinese community here in Australia, and particularly those who are new to the country,” he says.

“Coming to Australia can be hard because everything is different; the language and the health system in particular. I know from my own parents – who still live in China – that speaking to someone in your own language can really make a difference.

“When we are serving customers, we find that there are many new migrants who have a misunderstanding of Medicare and private health insurance. For example, Lifetime Health Cover loading might cost them more if they don’t understand what it is and how it works.

“People like my parents have a culturally different view of insurance.  It is very different here in Australia and WeChat will help us to communicate that,” he adds.