One stop shop

By William Koch

Still Serving Veterans is Veteran Service organization that endeavors to help any Veteran that has served honorably with any need they might have. I want to use a cliché…we are a one-stop-shop.

What is a one stop shop? I hear this catchphrase often, and it generally annoys me because the people claiming to be a one-stop shop do not truly embrace the “buck stops here” philosophy. A true one-stop shop should be where the client/customer/patient comes with a need and the organization goes about processing that need, period. That is not how most of these so-called one-stop shops operate. Too many times I hear stories of people seeking help and not receiving it. They are being sent down the road with comments like “we don’t do that” or “you need to go see so and so or such and such.” To me, that is not taking ownership, and is often frustrating for those seeking help.

In my opinion, to call yourself a one-stop, you should take ownership of whatever the need is and find a way to “fix-it” or ”Solve it”. The process should look something like this: A person comes in and states his/her need. Someone should be assigned to case manage and “peel the onion”. In other words, find out what is going on, what is the root of the problem? Once the problem is identified, the case manager starts making calls to known resources and/or connections. This “footwork”, in my world, we call this “connecting the dots” by the case manager, keeps the client from having to run all around and getting frustrated when organizations won’t or can’t help.

Many times the problem they come in with is only symptomatic of a bigger problem. After discovering the need(s), the case manager should attempt to solve either the problem or find a resource that can. If the need cannot be met at that particular time, then the case manager should take ownership and help solve the need by working with other organizations. Sometimes the only answer is no, but a good case manager will only say that after they have tried every avenue possible to resolve the need. Once the case manager finds a resource ready, willing and able to help, then there is a warm hand-off to the new resource. What I mean by a warm hand-off is that the case manager gets all relevant information for the new resource, ensures that the resource can fill the need, then connects the client to that resource either via phone or e-mail. This process prevents the client from running all over town chasing shadows. I have seen it done by other organizations, telling the clients they don’t do that there but so and so does, here is their phone number, address or e-mail. The client then proceeds to the resource only to find out they have run out of funds until next quarter. The bottom line is the client is running around all over the place and getting more desperate with each call, visit, or e-mail made with no results. Organizations need to step up and return to good customer service.

To be a true one stop shop, the client must be able to leave with a resolution to their problem.