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August 17, 2018

Customer Journey Analysis for the USDA Direct Farm Loans Program

The Customer Experience Center of Excellence followed a customer journey mapping model for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to evaluate the experience of producers and service center staff in applying for and processing direct farm loan applications.

We conducted interviews and ethnographic observations with over 40 FPAC subject matter experts and employees in Washington DC and at six service centers, and almost 40 producers in six states. We also hosted four workshops with stakeholders in Washington, DC to guide the research, update the customer journey map, vet important findings, and develop recommended solutions to improve the customer experience.

Among the 13 key findings, the following were identified as the most impactful:

  • Producers value in person interactions with Loan Officers
  • Loan Officers deal with fragile and limited technology at service centers
  • First-time borrowers need help understanding the entire loan process
  • Producers find loan forms challenging
  • Producers find the current loan limits constraining and inadequate to cover their needs

This report spans three volumes:

Research Findings and Recommendations (PDF, 3 MB) View the PDF
What we learned over the course of four workshops and visits to six different regions
Methodology (PDF, 14 MB) View the PDF
How the research and related activities were accomplished
Stories (PDF, 4 MB) View the PDF
Fictional stories derived from field visits that are composites of real producers and Loan Officers
Farm Loans Final Report Briefing (PDF, 13.5 MB) View the PDF
An executive summary of the findings

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