Tom Allin served as the first Chief Veteran Experience Officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2015, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was faced with a crisis with widespread reports of negligence in the treatment of veterans and long wait times for medical care and poor customer service. This had severely damaged the veterans trust and confidence in the agency.
Tom reached out to Secretary MacDonald after he saw an interview on 60 Minutes. He courageously volunteered to work alongside the Secretary to improve the experience of veterans and their families. Tom contributed his private sector acumen from Proctor and Gamble and McDonalds to the VA.
He believed when you put the Veteran first, you can accomplish anything. The VA launched a comprehensive strategy called MyVA, with clear goals to improve the veteran and employee experience, establish a culture of continuous improvement and enhance strategic partnerships.
Tom collaborated with the GSA and other private sector organizations to understand how they were addressing customer experience and organizing a Chief Customer Office. He started his role with four people and broadened the definition and approach from a single touchpoint customer experience to one that encompasses the full veteran journey. He established the VA experience plan by organizing around Insight and Design, Measurement, Community, and Enterprise Operations. Tom led the VA with the expectation that the agency transform the services provided to veterans with various needs and demographics, while also tackling the internal needs at the VA.
Tom relied on the expertise from the private sector, embraced human centered design, and made it a priority to map the veterans’ journeys. As a result of Tom’s leadership, hundreds of Veterans and their family members were interviewed to define Veteran life stages and opportunities to improve VA services, care and touchpoints along their journey. A Welcome Kit was designed providing a concise overview of all VA benefits and services available to Veterans. Vets.gov was created as a one-stop shop for Veterans’ online needs, migrating over 500 websites into one main website. MyVA311 was launched in 2016, on Veterans Day, providing a single phone number for Veterans to connect with VA and find local VA facilities 24/7. For the first time, Veteran customer experience metrics were established to ensure accountability, transparency, and actionable insights into the Veterans experience. In 2017, over 90 Community Veteran Engagement Boards were established to improve local services for Veterans. This brought community leaders, Veteran interest groups, Veteran Service Organizations, Veterans and VA leaders together to optimize services and ensure that the many organizations and individuals that touch the lives of Veterans were working together to solve problems and address priorities.
Tom demonstrated passion and dedication to the mission of serving the veterans and their families.