Department of Veterans Affairs: Measuring Experience

The Veterans Experience Office (VEO) is charged with transforming VA into the number one customer service-focused agency in the federal government. The VEO idenitified three primary metrics in order to improve trust in VA: Effective (I got the service I needed); Easy (it was easy to get the service I needed); and Emotional (I felt like a valued customer). Getting specific tactical measurement for these three metrics proved to be a challenge, especially when attempting to improve specific touchpoints along a service journey.

I led the effort to identify more specific, actionable measurement criteria that could be used universally and consistently across all VA services, based in customer research findings and insights. This work resulted in eight experience principles that we recommended be considered for every customer-facing initiative and measurement opportunity.



A number qualitative field research efforts had been conducted across different VA services.  As a team we analyzed these reports for insights and outcomes. We discovered that while the context, outcomes and recommendations could differ vastly across services, the ways that Veterans said they experienced the services were very common. We clustered these expressed feelings into main categories, and discovered a set of patterns.


Eight Experience Principles

We defined each of the eight resulting experience principles, a shared vocabulary for common  understanding. This definition included synonyms, military terms that aligned with the experience principles, and antonyms of the experience principle.

We mapped the resulting eight experience principles along a spectrum, borrowing from Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: the basic essentials at the base, and the transformative experiences at the top. In addition we mapped the principles to Effective, Easy, and Emotional to tie these two measurement models together.



Measurement Model

Once these experience principles were identified, we knew we could then begin crafting feedback questions for surveys and field work that would elucidate whether interactions, in any channel, were meeting these criteria. We could then measure opportunities for improving discreet touchpoints, we could stitch these touchpoints together for longitudinal improvements across entire service journeys, and we could also link these to our mission of improving trust in VA. (NOTE: This diagram is a working model, and does not incorporate the final eight experience principles or final question sets.)


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Department of Veterans Affairs: Veterans Panel