Veterans and their families contact VA millions of times per year. This happens in-person, via phone, letters, e-mail, through VA.gov, and by responding to digital surveys. Each contact – whether a question, concern, recommendation, or complement – is unique, important and deserves respect. And, when appropriate, that contact deserves a timely, relevant and informed response.
This is VA’s priority commitment to ensuring the best Veteran customer experience (CX).
VA is listening more by inviting customers to provide feedback through multiple channels, and then adding channels where they are missing. Where does this listening occur?
It could be a comment sent to a Red Coat Ambassador at a VA medical facility, the Veterans Signals (VSignals) surveys (6 million last year), or calls to VA contact centers, including the White House/VA Hotline and 1-800-MyVA411 (18 million last year). These and other channels are the critical front door for Veterans to participate in VA’s growing feedback-driven culture of customer service.
But an equally important part of listening is responding.
For example, the wife of a Vietnam Veteran from Florida contacted VA’s Office of Client Relations because she wanted to accompany her husband to his medical appointments. Due to COVID-19, she was told she couldn’t. The client relations representative learned that the woman’s husband suffers from a cognitive disorder and that she needed to assist him. This is the detail that was missing from her previous requests. But because that feedback was fully captured, VA could respond. Capturing this minor detail made all the difference and paved the way for home health physical therapy services, medication prescriptions, and an adaptive housing evaluation.
VA is also using automated tools to quickly triage cases needing immediate assistance. When Veterans leave a survey comment that indicates they might be at risk for suicide and/or homelessness, VSignals uses natural language processing and artificial intelligence to route the message to the team best suited to respond, such as the Veterans Crisis Line or National Call Center for Homeless Veterans.
If concerns or recommendations show a certain trend, then we institute program improvement or targeted outreach.
VA hosts special outreach efforts to share educational information on high interest topics and offer resources to address emergent trends. In the last two years, VA hosted 17 Veteran Experience Live events reaching 2.45M viewers whose 10,000 questions were publicly answered by VA and community experts.
“To meet its customer service commitment, VA has increased its ability to listen – to capture valuable feedback from millions of Veterans through multiple listening channels, like hotlines and VSignals surveys. Also, to respond quickly and consistently to Veterans’ concerns, [we implemented] recommendations and compliments with VA’s Service Recovery Council and a unified customer relationship manager platform.” – Dr. Lynda Davis, VA’s Chief Veterans Experience Officer
Honoring Veteran feedback by listening and then responding with action leads VA’s customer service modernization efforts. The newly established VA-wide Service Recovery Council brings leaders and experts from across the department to identify not only patterns and trends but the processes and platforms needed to ensure the best Veteran customer experience.
Through this critical feedback loop of listening and responding, VA is continuing its commitment to meet the ever-changing needs of its Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors.