Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs
The Veterans Benefits Administration provides a wide array of services for veterans, including education and career training benefits.
Veterans appreciate the agency’s proactive communications—especially during the uncertainty of the pandemic—and the agency is now working to target its messages to meet customers’ need for more personalized information.
VBA is also beginning a modernization effort that will enable veterans to interact with the agency through additional channels, such as text and web chat, and get access to real-time information about their eligibility and benefits.
education benefit claims processed.
of veterans surveyed felt they were treated with courtesy and respect by VBA call center staff.
Customer Experience Insights
Improvement from last year
Room for improvement
VBA conducts nationwide email campaigns and other outreach to provide veterans with information about applying for and using education benefits. Veterans have shared that these communications are particularly helpful during times of change, such as the coronavirus pandemic, when many veterans may have similar questions, according to VBA officials. However, through their customer research, VBA officials have heard from veterans that the amount of information provided can be overwhelming and that veterans would like to receive fewer, more personalized messages. In response to this feedback, VBA has consolidated some of the messaging it sends to customers and begun sending more targeted messaging to specific groups of customers based on their particular situation—such as applying for benefits or if an individual is about to graduate from college—and what information would be most relevant and useful at that time.
VBA’s customer research has shown that veterans would like more online self-service opportunities to manage and receive their education benefits, as well as the ability to communicate with VBA through additional digital channels. The agency is currently working on a large-scale modernization effort, called the Digital GI Bill, to improve how education benefits are delivered and provide veterans with a better experience. The modernized online platform developed as part of this effort will use the secure, authenticated account process already in place on VA.gov, and will provide veterans with the ability to call, email, text and chat with the agency to get real-time answers to questions about eligibility and benefits. The account will also enable veterans to easily and immediately access their own records without having to wait for VBA to provide them. For example, as part of this new platform, veterans will be able to access digital copies of certificates of eligibility or denial letters the day decisions are made, rather than needing to wait for a copy to be mailed to them. As it implements this initiative, VBA is using human-centered design to ensure that the final product meets veterans’ needs.
VBA’s National Call Center answers questions about all types of VBA benefits, including training and disability benefits. Callers in fiscal 2021 rated the call center’s staff highly but indicated that they did not always get all the information they were looking for during a call.
To improve veterans’ call center experience, the agency has expanded its ability to quickly resolve common issues on their first call. Veterans seeking certain information corrections or changes can now have their records updated instantaneously when calling the agency.[chart]
Leading Customer Experience Practices
The Partnership and Accenture developed the following list of practices to understand how agencies prioritize the customer experience, and steps they can take to improve. The list is based on research about effective customer experience practices in both government and the private sector, and aligns with practices in a customer experience maturity self-assessment for agencies developed by the Office of Management and Budget.