The VA Secretary’s Center for Strategic Partnerships (SCSP) highlighted its programs’ progress at the State of Veteran Customer Experience Facebook Live event on October 20. The live event featured Veterans talking about their experiences with VA and partner programs, noting that many had exceeded their expectations.

SCSP creates enhanced experiences for Veterans through innovative partnerships with industry leaders. Some of the partner organizations include Philips, Walmart, VFW, The American Legion, T-Mobile and Verizon.

Walmart hosts several ATLAS virtual VA connected care sites to serve rural Veterans inside their Health Services Room. A partnership with T- Mobile set out to bridge the digital divide by removing data charges from all Veterans and caregivers who accessed VA telehealth. T-Mobile for Business went a step further, creating commercials to raise awareness to inform Veterans about these services. And the partnership with Philips is credited for developing the framework and completion of remote telehealth examination rooms at VFW and American Legion posts in select Veteran communities where easy access was limited. The collaboration, called “Accessing Telehealth through Local Area Stations” (ATLAS), is lauded for removing digital barriers to care and for helping thousands of Veterans.

Through these partnerships, Veterans tell us they’re getting more than they imagined. As part of the live event, Army Veteran Wayne Shaw described receiving convenient, customer focused services in Walmart’s Health Services Room  as something “he didn’t even know he needed” but is now grateful for it.

Adding value to customer service

During the event, Deborah Scher, executive advisor to Secretary Wilkie, talked about the advancement practices that add value to customer service.

“At the Center, we are incredibly proud to have created a culture where VA and industry collaborate to realize best-in-class customer experiences for Veterans,” Scher said. “These improvements and enhancements stem from listening to the voices of Veterans, forecasting need, and applying ingenuity and innovation to determine the best outcomes for Veterans.”

Scher also recognized the Veterans Experience Office (VEO) leadership for successfully establishing new standards for customer service. VEO’s Dr. Lynda Davis and Barbara Morton led discussions in customer service/experience and shared examples of how data, tools, tech and engagement allow VEO to capture, measure and adjust, based on what Veterans report.

According to Scher, her customer experience philosophy can be tied to SCSP’s success in serving Veterans: “One, treat others the way you would want to be treated. Pretty straight forward. Two, treat people the way they want to be treated. That means spending time learning what they care about and working hard to provide it. Lastly, customer service is treating people in ways they don’t even know they want to be treated. And it requires adding imagination, thoughtful creativity and often fierce determination to change a process.”

You can watch the full video, below.

Kristin Pressly-Mills is the interim portfolio manager for strategic Communications/Partnerships at the VA Secretary’s Center for Strategic Partnerships.

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Published on Oct. 21, 2020

Estimated reading time is 2.4 min.

Views to date: 142


  1. Jerry r Welch October 31, 2020 at 8:35 am

    This is so VA!!! A FAKE benefit that does NOT work for us who need it! They push this crap out in areas where the VA
    has a huge presence, and leaving us who are living in rural area, outside the 40 mile radius of the VA’s Choice Program standards stranded with nothing! The choice program is a scam, just only on paper, does NOTHING for us! We are FORCED to travel in excess of 40 miles just to get our meds mailed to us1! Even the representatives of congress and senate are LYING to our Commander in Chief when they espoused a modern VA health system which does NOT exist!!

  2. paul kavanaugh October 28, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    Ok. This is the second time I have to post because you don’t want to hear bad news. As a former Customer Service Professional, this story is bullsht. The Jackson VA posts phone numbers on its website that doesn’t exist, when you leave messages no one returns your call. I have been waiting since March to get a steroid injection in my back that had taken not one but two congressional investigations to get any kind of reply. Even the Director ignores patients. They just push you to “community care” which means nothing but delay and dismiss. I understand customer service because I taught it and monitored it for a living. These people don’t care one bit for veterans, they only care about their paychecks. Maybe you should hire people to monitor the treatment of vets by your employees and hold them accountable. But that won’t happen because you don’t give a damn either. Even my congressman’s office suggested I switch my care to the Biloxi VA. What does that tell you?

    [Editor: Every comment goes into moderation for approval before posting. I’ve edited this comment’s profanity.]

  3. paul kavanaugh October 28, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    This is ridiculous. I was a customer experience professional and can tell you that the Jackson VA has no idea what that means. Wrong phone numbers posted on the website, wrong numbers given by VA employees to get help, patient advocates that could care less about you and indifferent employees that kick your case down the road to nowhere, absolutely no interest in helping Veterans. They are only interested in keeping their jobs. I’ve been seeking treatment for my back since March and have only been delayed and pushed off to “community care”. Why did Houston contact me? Even my congressman’s office suggested I switch to Biloxi. Your “Customer Experience” is a line of bullsht.

  4. James Hennessey October 21, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    I’ve Been Waiting Two Months For Someone In The Philly VA To Call Me About My CPAP Machine And Two Years To See A DOCTOR Veterans validate customer service experience improvements??? Sorry Not In Philly Or Gloucester County New Jersey… One Pissed Off Vet.

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