2019 Government Innovation Awards
Putting veteran services on speed dial
The Department of Veterans Affairs launched the White House VA Hotline to provide live answers to questions about benefits, resources and services. The hotline is open around the clock and staffed by 60-plus agents, 90% of whom are veterans. And it was deployed in only six months.
It runs on Salesforce Service Cloud, a secure environment that lets agents log, update and track call details. They can easily personalize conversations and route more complicated questions to another office.
The hotline is built on two Service Cloud components. The Salesforce Lightning console, a customizable interface to the company’s contact center and case management solution, allows agents to review multiple cases on one screen. A preconfigured layout displays crucial case elements, and a utility bar gives agents rapid access to related data, making it easy to navigate profiles.
Salesforce Knowledge is built from informational documents on the platform’s processes and functions and lets agents share data within the organization.
In May, the VA announced that the hotline had received more than 250,000 calls from the veteran community. Wait times dropped from an average of about 20 seconds in 2018 to just nine seconds this year. More than half of the calls were general inquiries, and 94% of callers had their concerns addressed promptly.
The hotline exceeded VA’s and veterans’ expectations. About 1% of callers rang the hotline just to praise agents’ service.
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