The VA Secretary’s Center for Strategic Partnerships (SCSP) highlighted its programs’ progress at the State of Veteran Customer Experience Facebook Live event on October 20. The live event featured Veterans talking about their experiences with VA and partner programs, noting that many had exceeded their expectations.
SCSP creates enhanced experiences for Veterans through innovative partnerships with industry leaders. Some of the partner organizations include Philips, Walmart, VFW, The American Legion, T-Mobile and Verizon.
Walmart hosts several ATLAS virtual VA connected care sites to serve rural Veterans inside their Health Services Room. A partnership with T- Mobile set out to bridge the digital divide by removing data charges from all Veterans and caregivers who accessed VA telehealth. T-Mobile for Business went a step further, creating commercials to raise awareness to inform Veterans about these services. And the partnership with Philips is credited for developing the framework and completion of remote telehealth examination rooms at VFW and American Legion posts in select Veteran communities where easy access was limited. The collaboration, called “Accessing Telehealth through Local Area Stations” (ATLAS), is lauded for removing digital barriers to care and for helping thousands of Veterans.
Through these partnerships, Veterans tell us they’re getting more than they imagined. As part of the live event, Army Veteran Wayne Shaw described receiving convenient, customer focused services in Walmart’s Health Services Room as something “he didn’t even know he needed” but is now grateful for it.
Adding value to customer service
During the event, Deborah Scher, executive advisor to Secretary Wilkie, talked about the advancement practices that add value to customer service.
“At the Center, we are incredibly proud to have created a culture where VA and industry collaborate to realize best-in-class customer experiences for Veterans,” Scher said. “These improvements and enhancements stem from listening to the voices of Veterans, forecasting need, and applying ingenuity and innovation to determine the best outcomes for Veterans.”
Scher also recognized the Veterans Experience Office (VEO) leadership for successfully establishing new standards for customer service. VEO’s Dr. Lynda Davis and Barbara Morton led discussions in customer service/experience and shared examples of how data, tools, tech and engagement allow VEO to capture, measure and adjust, based on what Veterans report.
According to Scher, her customer experience philosophy can be tied to SCSP’s success in serving Veterans: “One, treat others the way you would want to be treated. Pretty straight forward. Two, treat people the way they want to be treated. That means spending time learning what they care about and working hard to provide it. Lastly, customer service is treating people in ways they don’t even know they want to be treated. And it requires adding imagination, thoughtful creativity and often fierce determination to change a process.”
You can watch the full video, below.
Kristin Pressly-Mills is the interim portfolio manager for strategic Communications/Partnerships at the VA Secretary’s Center for Strategic Partnerships.