While the ongoing pandemic continues to affect our personal lives, business operating models across the nation are also feeling the pressure to innovate. Private companies and federal agencies have had to rapidly shift and make significant changes to ensure continuity of operations and sharply focus on customer service. From transitions to telework to an increased demand for internet bandwidth, these organizations worked tirelessly to meet their customers’ needs.
This past year, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Office of Information and Technology (OIT) stood out once again in its commitment to provide exceptional customer service to our nation’s Veterans, our business partners across VA, and our stakeholders. Through the annual Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS), OIT’s customers across the Department spoke out, and the results were nothing short of amazing. Despite a significant operational shift, the 2020 survey reported a six-point increase from 2019’s overall American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) score — from 70 to 76 — putting OIT on par with Google (79), Microsoft (77), and Dell (77).
This survey, distributed to all VA employees and contractors, measures IT customer satisfaction trends across key areas including information security, onsite technical support, business partner collaboration, and government-furnished equipment. By harnessing the ACSI, the only national cross-industry measure of customer satisfaction in the United States, the survey results provide an overview of customer perceptions across the organization and allow OIT leaders to use the results to inform strategic decision making, with the ultimate goal of improving the customer and Veteran experience.
Of the 32,559 completed responses, many provided detailed, open-ended feedback to ensure OIT leaders have an accurate picture of the customer experience.
OIT’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) — an indicator of how likely our customers are to recommend our products and services to a friend or colleague — saw a massive increase across all of VA’s administrations. Most notably, survey respondents from customers in the Veterans Benefits Administration and the National Cemetery Administration indicated significant improvement in satisfaction with OIT’s services. Those administration’s Net Promoter Scores increased 33 points and 31 points, respectively.
For Abe George, Program Manager of the Customer Service Improvement Program, the survey not only provides the opportunity to customers to reflect on the IT products and services they received, but also shapes leadership’s perspective of the customer IT experience and quality assessment.
“While the basic measurement methodology has not changed in the last ten years,” he says, “the individual focus areas within the survey have changed to align the questions properly to OIT’s strategic direction.”
As VA’s telework and telehealth landscape have evolved over the past year, questions have been added or modified to reflect OIT’s telework, telehealth, and virtual connection support. Survey results show that onsite technical support, telework and virtual connection support, and business partner collaboration have the highest impact on overall satisfaction. While OIT’s engagement and support throughout the transition to telework has been rated exceptionally strong, Enterprise Service Desk support continues to improve across all administrations while simultaneously delivering more consistent service.
As OIT looks to the future, Mr. George aims to encourage managers across the country to harness the insights from the survey results and use them to improve their customer service. To measure and track our trend of customer experience throughout the year, OIT administers a monthly IT Customer Experience Survey to 30,000 VA employees each month.
As OIT continues to support VA, our Veterans, and the nation’s health care system, we thank every one of our employees and business partners. Your dedication and teamwork ensure VA can continue to provide our Veterans, their families, and their caregivers with the high-quality care, benefits, and services they deserve.
Our commitment to digital and IT transformation is shaped by daily dedication to customer service and the close collaboration of our workforce, managers, and leaders. Ready to join us in improving Veterans’ care? Check out all current information and technology career opportunities on DigitalVA. You can also contact VA’s Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer at 512-326-6600, Monday thru Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST or by submitting a resume to VACareers@va.gov.