How VA improves CX with journey mapping

How VA improves CX with journey mapping

When launches on Veteran’s Day, it will be the culmination of both front- and back-end efforts to build a one-stop shop where veterans can easily change their addresses, add dependents, make an appointment or check on claims.

That kind of seamless experience takes a good deal of work. Currently, to meet the spectrum of veteran needs, the agency must sift through 225 databases of siloed customer information. And because of all the myriad systems and processes across the VA, Tom Allin told the audience at ACT-IAC’s Oct. 7 CX Summit, “the user interface not a very good experience for our veterans.”

As the head of the recently created Veterans Experience Office, Allin aims to use data integration to improve customer experience, starting at the user end, then working inward to backend systems. By mapping the customer journey and making improvements based on the insights from that analysis, the agency hopes to get its satisfaction ratings to 90 percent for veterans, facilities and agency staff alike.

The journey map follows and collects data from the end-to-end customer experience -- before, during and after the veteran’s contact with the agency.  The analysis also explores  three distinct levels: front-end, which is visible to veteran users only; on-stage, where VA staff interact with veterans; and the back-end systems and processes, which are visible only to VA staff.

“In mapping the experience, you very quickly find the seams in the organization where the customer experience actually falls through the hole,” Allin said.

In order to understand the user experience, the VA uses human-centered design to ask veterans what they are doing, what they are thinking and how they are feeling. This approach tells the agency what, exactly, needs to be achieved based on the needs of the person using the product.

On the back end, Allin's team takes the findings from the user journey mapping and attempts to understand where the disconnects are, why it is affecting the customer experience and how it can be fixed.

The challenge is architecting a seamless journey from start to finish. 

“This is where we proactively and deliberately orchestrate the end-to-end journey. This is where we unite the organization silos to deliver a one-company experience,” Allin said.

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a Reporter/Producer for GCN.

Prior to joining 1105 Media, Ziadeh was a contributing journalist for USA Today Travel's Experience Food and Wine site. She's also held a communications assistant position with the University of Maryland Office of the Comptroller, and has reported for the American Journalism Review, Capitol File Magazine and DC Magazine.

Ziadeh is a graduate of the University of Maryland where her emphasis was multimedia journalism and French studies.

Click here for previous articles by Ms. Ziadeh or connect with her on Twitter: @aziadeh610.

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