The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), one of the largest cabinet-level departments, created the federal government’s first customer experience office in 2015 to better serve the 9 million military veterans and 55 million family members enrolled in its services. A year prior, the VA had found itself facing scrutiny and criticism for failing to treat veterans in a timely manner at many of its 170 medical centers and outpatient clinics.
The Veterans Experience Office sought not only to address this situation, taking chromium with lipitor but to restore trust in VA services through a better customer experience that improved veterans’ wellbeing. Among its goals were introducing new clinical interventions and community prevention to lower veteran suicide rates that were 1.5 times higher than the general population.
First, personnel needed to engage proactively with veterans and their families and use feedback to create a more seamless, satisfactory patient experience. Fortunately, it was far enough into the agency’s digital transformation to adopt a newer technology with the ability to capture “experience signals” across multiple sources and channels.
Partnering with customer experience management software provider Medallia, the VA initiated Veterans Signals (VSignals) to collect near real-time input tied to service delivery. Feedback gathered from more than 8 million survey responses was aggregated in the Medallia Experience Cloud, where AI models and predictive analytics revealed actionable insights.
Flagging mental health issues before they become crises
By scanning surveys and free-text responses in near real-time for potential mental health issues, Medallia’s AI capabilities could identify veterans who might be in crisis and alert the appropriate VA resources. To date, this approach is believed to have helped more than 1,400 veterans with suicidal thoughts and 450 who were experiencing homelessness, thereby decreasing the suicide rate over the past decade.
This VA program is just one of the ways advanced analytics are revolutionizing customer service by enabling personalized interactions and quicker issue resolutions that ultimately improve customer satisfaction and trust.
Expanding key touch points throughout the veteran journey
Since the Veterans Customer Experience Office opened for business, it has created helpful resources for 45 critical paths and touch points representing key moments that matter across the veteran experience, including healthcare services. In the few years since it began, the office has:
- Increased accessibility by consolidating all VA-related phone numbers to 1-800-MyVA-411
- Delivered customer experience best practices training to more than 100,000 VA personnel.
- Expanded its telehealth options from 40,000 sessions per month to the same number per day.
- Increased overall trust of the VA from 55% to 79%, according to various customer survey results.
Building on the success of the Veterans Signals (VSignals) program, the VA also launched Employee Signals (ESignals) to improve employee experience and Pathfinder to improve the experience of their industry partners.
These investments continue to pay off – for veterans, for their families and for the VA itself. By prioritizing customer-centric strategies and leveraging innovative solutions like Medallia’s customer experience management platform, the VA received the prestigious Service to Citizens Award in 2019 for prioritizing veterans’ experience within the department. The Veterans Experience Office (VEO) has continued to lead in innovation, winning additional awards in 2022 and 2023.
If you are a veteran or family member in need of immediate assistance, call 1-800-MyVA-411 to speak to a live agent at any time of the day or night.
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