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Applying Journey Mapping to the Personnel Security Vetting Process

By LaShawn Douglas

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In our last blog, we examined the government’s definition of customer service, and identified ways for the Government to transform both the process and experience of personnel vetting. We suggested starting with a better understanding of stakeholder goals, expectations, and touchpoints with service providers. You can accomplish this by conducting interviews as well as observing stakeholders as they work (or, “fly-on-the-wall” observations”). As a next step, we recommend documenting all findings in a customer journey map.

A customer journey map is a visual representation of the process a customer or stakeholder goes through to achieve a goal, and typically works best for scenarios that describe a sequence of events. Customer journey mapping enables you to fully capture and consider all elements of the stakeholder’s experience, including things that are positive, problematic and have potential. Documenting the critical touch points of the current experience enables personnel vetting service providers to identify opportunities to make it better, bringing you closer to your customer as well promoting a more team-oriented culture for problem solving.

Journey Mapping the Personnel Vetting Process

To get started, here are a few steps to capture the customer experience, with illustrative examples included:

  1. Identify and conduct research on your key customers/stakeholders - build persona profiles that summarize your key findings; e.g., an experienced job candidate from private industry who applied for an IT specialist role requiring a Top Secret Clearance
  2. For each identified customer/stakeholder, map the process steps, typically no more than five (5) at a time; e.g., the job candidate completes the SF-86
  3. Include front-stage actors - who/what the customer directly interacts with, as well as backstage actors - what happens behind the scenes - IT systems, etc.. Capture the high points/low points of each step in the process; e.g., the job candidate feels frustration and discouragement from not knowing where he or she stands in the investigation and/or adjudications process, leading to the job candidate to accept another position not requiring a Top Secret clearance
  4. Identify root causes of problems; e.g., the identified root cause is the lack of communication with the job candidate about his or her status
  5. Envision moments of delight to improve experience; e.g., generate automated email/text updates that alerts the candidate on where he or she stands in the process, including prospective milestone dates
  6. Design and test prototype solutions for addressing customer experience pain points; e.g,. Develop a rough and ready prototype of the automated response and gather feedback on different versions of the automated email/text update
  7. Build an implementation plan and conduct continuous monitoring to validate customer experience improvements

In this example, by being able to identify the stakeholder’s frustration through the customer journey mapping process, the personnel vetting service provider is able to resolve the problem, demonstrating respect to the candidate who in turn will feel more committed to sticking out the process and taking the position.

For more information on customer journey mapping, contact Big Sky Associates today!