on Aug 10th, 2009 in Post Offices & Retail Network | 42 comments
 
The Postal Service has a long and proud history in public service. It has always been viewed as part of the federal government, yet has also been told to “act like a business” and to be self-sufficient. These distinctions can lead to interesting real-world implications, such as the degree to which retail associates should “upsell” or otherwise assist customers as they transact postal business. On one extreme, some claim that retail associates should do everything to find the lowest price for the customer. On the other extreme, some believe that retail associates should maximize the revenue from each transaction, and if that means selling more than a customer “needs,” then so be it. Of course, there is a wide area between these two extremes, and the Postal Service is challenged to meet these sometimes conflicting goals of providing public service and maximizing profit. But are these goals really conflicting? What balance should the Postal Service strike between finding the best value for the customer and maximizing revenue? What factors should be considered in striking this balance – transaction time (keeping the line moving), customer satisfaction (the customer feels good about the transaction), ease of use (keeping the transaction and choices simple), public service (an obligation to find the best deal for the customer), standardization of retail experience (providing routine guidance to retail associates), or other factors? There are a wide variety of transactions, so striking the right balance is difficult. Nonetheless, by looking at specific examples, one can see the implicit tradeoffs. For instance, if a customer is mailing a rather heavy box that the retail associate presumes may contain books, should the retail associate ask the customer if it is solely books and offer the reduced Media Mail price? Or should the retail associate encourage the use of Express Mail or Priority Mail, and suggest additional special services? What are your thoughts about how the Postal Service should serve customers while generating revenue? This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).

Comments

Dear OIG,
Why is the revenue per piece for competitive shipping products only $5.31 for the US Postal Service but $15.77 for FedEx, and $13.14 for UPS?

Doesn't FedEx charge the USPS about $1 per pound based on the August 2006 contract? So a simple company that ships tools could stick 6 pounds of tools in a $4.95 flat rate box and FedEx would charge $6 to transport it instantly creating a loss of $1.05 not counting labor and other fixed/variable costs.

I believe the competitive portion (Priority and Express Mail) of the USPS should be auctioned off to the high bidder with the acceptance and delivery portion retained for a fee of 20%.

USPS average revenue per piece is lower for three main reasons. First, USPS’s pieces are lighter on average than UPS’s and FedEx’s. Second, many USPS pieces are drop-shipped close to destination (e.g., approx. 200 million DDU parcels). Third, the USPS has a low share of the high-priced overnight market.

The pound analysis is faulty. Perhaps it’s around $1 per pound, though it may be more. But that’s an average derived from a cost per cubic foot, which is the main way FedEx charges for Priority Mail air transportation. So, the USPS pays FedEx about the same for a 6-pound flat-rate box as for, say, a 1-pound flat-rate box.

I ship through USPS Click and Ship. A great program until they lose a package. I have been trying to be refuned for four months on a lost package with tracking and insurance. I am getting no help. Who can help the little guy? $500 out with no help!

the postal service should start changing their lobbies to a shipping store. like fedex and ups has. the postal service must compete with the competion.also i am a postal employee and i see the waste of money by management daily. manegement has no people skills. the service would run more efficient if their were educated management.also the service needs to come up with an incentive to the eligable retirees.also the service has too many management titles. of course i mean too top heavy in management with high salaries.

They should be canvasing website who only offer UPS as a shipping option and sell the flat rate shipping boxes deal to them. Its in the spirit of competition and they should get out there and solicit business. They could also offer email birthday cards and holiday cards. They could also offer someone the opportunity to fax letters to from an east coast post office to a west coast post office and have it delivered next day. Its not that hard to come up with ideas to increase revenue. They could also get into the copy and fax business. How come the experts can not come up with these ideas?

McDonald's offers the customer the option to "upsize". They don't tell their employees not to let the customer know that they sell smaller sizes, that the least expensive option can only be sold if the customer (who may not know it exists) specifically asks for it. Does the Postal Service really want to be "like any other retailer"? Or does it want to be better?

Well stated Maggie!! You're right on the money. There's nothing wrong with offering the premier services, but our employees should NOT be required to hide the fact that less expensive options exist.

The Postal Service should promote it's more profitable products. Other businesses do not offer every size to every customer - McDonalds employees are instructed to ask the customer if they would like "large" - they don't OFFER small & medium. If a customer wants those other sizes - they are on the menu. Just like USPS, whose "other sizes" are on the menu over the clerks heads. It is not USPS responsibility to educate every customer on the slower, less desirable services.

Another ween another question from the OIG, it seems even you guys could find ansewrs to your questions, please stop asking questions, we all know what's wrong, we should fix the problems not just asking usless questions.

H'lima

This survey is missing something VERY important...this option:

The Postal Service should attempt to meet the basic needs of the customer in the most cost-effective manner possible, but apprise them of RELATED products/services that offer an increased level of performance.

If an organization doesn't understand upselling or cross-selling, it has no business diversifying. And I can't even begin to imagine a clerk that either speaks broken english, or one that's been browbeat by management, trying to explain to a customer how voice mail works on a cell phone. I envision an exercise in futility.

The culture of distrust in the Postal Service MUST change in order for this organization to diversify and conduct itself more like a business, than a government entity mired in a process over results, one-size-fits-all mentality.

The USPS must first regain the trust of the American consumer. Just like the person in a preceeding comment and their missing package. You have to remember it's things like that people remember. Customer service has to be goal #1, before any thing else. Otherwise all the other efforts won't much matter
Get people OUT of management that don't have a clue in how to communicate with other people, esp. the public. The USPS must ALWAYS give the impression that they care. That is not always the case. Remove window clerks that are rude!
Ask the customers what THEY want! It doesn't matter what we THINK they want. If the USPS starts giving the public the impression they are going to give the best service possible for whatever we sell, whether it be service or merchandise, the USPS will make tons of money! But it has to be action and NOT just words or the whole process will be futile.

The poll makes the choices too difficult in that there really should be a combination of all choices. Certainly, the USPS should offer the most appropriate products and services to customers, often, customers don't know what those products and services are and consulting or "up selling" may be appropriate.

The flat rate boxes are a great idea except that it is still often cheaper for customers to ship (with USPS or the competition) using ordinary packaging and standard rates. Flat rate boxes should be step priced so that, for example, up to 10 lbs is one fixed rate, 11-30 lbs is another rate, and 30+ pays the most. This still saves the majority of customers from having to calculate precise weight, making it easier to ship and making pricing more competitive. To provide comparable service to that of the competition, All packages should have a tracking bar code and it should be included in the shipping cost. Signature confirmation could still be extra, of course, but this would serve the purpose of improving the USPS's scanning percentage - something management always points to as a reason they can't get the business from major shippers like Amazon. Carriers wouldn't have to watch for which packages need to be scanned because they all do - and its an added value for customers.

USPS should consider dropping parcel post altogether and lowering prices slightly for first class and priority parcels - this could drive increased volume and revenue in that area while streamlining the mail flow by having fewer routing options.

i am surprised that nobody has mentioned the much criticized mystery shopper program, use of this program has been challenged not only by workers but by management. it is a huge waste of money.

but how about this? staff the window so people can actually enjoy their trip to the post office. in my experience working at the window, it was hard enough to keep people moving, let alone having to harass them about shipping options. these days all people want is the cheapest option, not a 20 dollar overnight option, it sucks but thats the way it is. by the time people wait in line for 20 minutes because of no staff, the only thing they want to do is ship their package and leave, they don't want to be asked 20 questions.
let each window clerk serve the people in their own way, we had some great window clerks that worked their butts off, but had management standing over them constantly, why when people can up sell without harassment do you force them to stick to an annoying and detrimental speech?

What happened to honesty is the best policy? There is no reason window clerks need to recite certain options. Instead, ask the customer what they want to do, then offer them the best service to fit their needs. Those clerks have to be tired of reciting the same thing over and over. You can tell they don't put any meaning into what they recite. If the staffing was adequate, there would be no complaints about long lines and swearing they will go somewhere else to send a package. Bring back customer service, that's where it needs to start to get back some of the respect that has been lost over the years from customers. It takes no time to drive away customers, but it will take a long time to get them back.

The post office should bring back "pack and ship"!

The post office should have notary services.

The post office should have larger flat rate priority boxes.

USPS has lost a $500 package with tracking and insurance. I have been trying to get this resolved since May. I have contacted USPS, Post Master General, every Politician I can find. Why does the Government make it so difficult to do what is right! I lost a $500 order, had my funds held by customer (another $500) and had to send another $500 out to satisfy customer, before they would release my funds. $1500 out of my pocket. It was tracked, they can't find it. It was insured, but they won't refund! The trust in USPS and my local Politicians are failing. They all send their letters for endorsement and vote, but not willing to help those in need. How does one person make it right?

As a window clerk, I can tell you that the 2 pages of dialogue that we are required to repeat to every customer is not only a waste of time, but makes us look like idiots. I work with a clerk that goes exactly by the book every customer, and I guarantee that she is not up-selling anymore than me. Our there any studies that show managements robotic dialogue is selling more products? Its hard to be friendly and up-sell when you have to repeat the exact words over and over and over again. It's much better to identify what the customer may want or need and try to sell that product, rather than watch their eyes glaze over and quit listening because they hear the same thing again and again. Every clerk, supervisor, and manager I talk to knows its a waste of time, but have no choice but to enforce it. Why are we spending millions of dollars on this program when we are so deeply in debt? Why aren't we allowed to use common sense with our customers?

If you feel that you look like an idiot with the up sell approach, then quit and get a different job with another company!!!!

Mary, I am trying to show that the script we follow does not work. Us clerks can sell more if we are given the freedom to read are customers and up-sell the products they may need. I sell more express than the other clerks because I can identify the customer that could benefit from this service. If we go by the script no one pays attention to what your saying because it sounds so mechanical. Because I don't agree with managements ignorant policy on this doesn't mean I should quit my job! Management needs to listen to us employees on the floor instead of making decisions far removed from what goes on in the real world.

Rich, I agree that the upselling long and robotic dialogue is IDIOTIC for the Postal Service window clerks. But, judging by the response you received from Mary the ?Manager, then I am not surprised.

The good thing is that we can talk about the issue at hand. The reason that Management is forcing employees to "read" the scripts is BECAUSE THEY THINK WE'RE IDIOTS and OUR CUSTOMERS ARE IDIOTS TOO.

I have made contact with Consumer Affairs Representative
U. S. Postal Service, Rio Grande District
Things are showing promise. I hate to be one that causes problems, though I am only fighting for what is right. This forum gives me a voice. I believe I am being heard...things are now moving forward..Thanks

The Postal Service is not a fast food restaurant yet "Upselling" can be positive for the consumer as well as the agency if handled in the proper manner. The problem with the Postal Service is that it does not want to permit it's employees sufficient autonomy when doing their jobs. A SSA (retail window clerk) usually sees the same customers repeatedly. The SSA knows who is most familiar with our services. The SSA needs flexibility to conduct the job properly. The SSA should decide what inquiries and suggestions need to be made based upon his/her experience and not be expected to follow a script.

but.....the SSA will never know if the same repeat customer is a "Mystery Shopper."

How do you convince people to start using the basics, like stamps. Well, how much does someone pay to pay a bill online. Hmmm, my water bill costs $3.00 to pay online. Would only cost $.44 if I mailed it. How much does it cost to pay a credit card online? Well, $7.95 if I use my credit card, or $9.95 if I use my bank account. These are costs that add up each month to the consumer. Education is needed to show how postal products can save customers money.

i have customers come to my window with flat rate express envelopes that are going to a local address.i explain that the flat rate is 17.50 but if they put the whole envelope in a tyback express envelope it is only 13.05.i believe you should treat the customer how you would want to be treated.i would want someone to save me 4.45.

The USPS is TOO SLOW TO CHANGE. If I were the Postmaster General, here is the three-point TRANSFORMATION I would begin right now. Right now, because it will take some time. Listen to the logic. A) Delivery Units. Wherever possible, (like where there exists a MAJOR TOWN OR CITY SURROUNDED BY SEVERAL SMALLER ONES), Delivery Units should be EXCISED from traditional Post Offices and be consolidated into a centralized Delivery Unit serving several towns, that incorporates every delivery function of those sovereign towns. WHY? Because our mail is already processed in ANOTHER CENTRAL LOCATION and that processed mail (DPS) is trucked to several tems of thousands of locations. What a waste! The simple truth is: If the truck serving several towns is at location (A) now, it isn't in locations (b), (C), (D), (E),....you get the point. And the point is....get the mail to the Hive so the Bees can deliver it, spread out and deliver it. All at once. SECOND "TRANSFORMATION GOAL": Almost without exception, every Post Office in the Nation was built and located in areas that ONCE WERE the focal point of town, but are no longer. They are antiquated facilities, poorly insulated, in need of repair, that are not handicap accessible or located WHERE COMMERCE IS CONDUCTED in America. Soooooooo-----CLOSE THEM, AND SELL THEM OFF. As you see from "Suggestion A", there are no carriers or delivery services there anymore, and rightly so. So what to do? STOP MAKING PEOPLE COME TO YOU, AND INSTEAD GO WHERE THE PEOPLE ARE!!! And where is that? Wal-Mart. The Main Grocery Store Shopping Center. (Last time I checked, every human needs to go food shopping at least twice a week if they like fresh produce and meat). So ALL RETAIL OPERATIONS NEED TO BE LOCATED INSIDE OF, OR ADJACENT TO, THESE AREAS. Go into any Shop-Rite, or Wal-Mart. See that Bank? Why are they there? (And open 7-days a week!) Because they make money. And they generate shoppers. WalMart likes banks because people need money to buy stuff (DUD!). Now picture this: 1) The way it is: You go to WalMart and buy a gift card and mail it. Great. The USPS gets 44-cents. People don't really want to do that, but what else are they to do? Christmas time. Go to the store. Buy a personalized gift. Lug it home. Wrap it. Lug it to the out-of-the-way Post Office. Wait in line. (Get parking ticket while waiting). Box it. Mail it. OOOOH YEAH, LIKE I'm DOING THAT! NOT! I go for the gift card. My Idea: 2) Locate Postal Retail Outlets INSIDE OF, OR ADJACENT TO major shopping centers. NOW, you go to "WalMart", buy that personaized gift, have it wrapped at the WalMart Customer Service Deask, then take it to the Postal Counter, Box it, Ship it, AND YOU GO HOME, NOTHING TO LUG AROUND! Instead of getting 44-cents postage for the gift card, you ger $8 BUCKS for the Priority postage! You might get more! Other products....which leads me to C): The USPS is closing hundreds of facilities. It's no exaggeration to say we have excess capacity. BUT WE ALREADY HAVE THE BEST DISTRIBUTION SERVICE THE WORLD! Sooooooo, why should "Midnight Velvet", "Collectibles Inc", Cabrellas or ANY OTHER MANUFACTURER or DISTRIBUTOR have to rely on these Clearing Houses that charge "Midnight Velvet" $4 to mail a $2 parcel, just because that Clearing House has the space to store the merchandise? WE HAVE THAT SPACE! We could easily cut out that middle-man, get the stuff that's ordered delivered fast, and by saving the manufacturer money increase their profit while simultaniously cornering the parcel post market by taking it away from UPS and FedEx. THIS IS SO SIMPLE THAT I CANNOT BELIEVE NOBODY HAS THOUGHT OF IT! We already have the facilities in place and Lord knows we have the people to do the job. SO NOWGO....GO GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE! DO IT. And stop taking so long. Nero is fiddling while Rome burs. Time for Nero to take a hike!

The poll that begins this post leaves out the best answer. What if we asked our customer what they were trying to accomplish and then offered alternatives; no pressure, no scripts, no misdirection, just good solid information?
Does anyone remember the scene from the old movie Miracle on 34th Street where Kris Kringle offers that a competitor may have the merchandise the customer wants at a better price? The end result is that customers flock to the original store based on its reputation for credibility and service. Naive? Perhaps but I've been doing that for thirty years and customers like me and they like my office. I think people are tired of marketing as a science of manipulation and extraction. As a consumer I want to be afforded the opportunity to explain my need and in return receive good basic information that allows me to make an informed choice. Sometimes that may mean a very simple transaction where I tell you what I want and you give me exactly that. Sometimes it means I want more information. It takes attention and discretion for a sales associate to evaluate a transaction and provide just the right amount of information.
We don't teach or encourage that skill. Instead we create a transaction based on an adversarial relationship. You, the customer, have revenue and we want as much of it in each individual transaction as we can get. Most of our marketing efforts are based on coercion and extraction - subtle but that really is the end result.
I work in a small rural post office. My sales opportunities and my relationships with my customers are different than if I worked in a larger urban office. Retail Standardization tells me that nothing but targeted marketing material may displayed on the walls of my post office. So I removed the art work from the local school and the pictures of the kids that come in the office. The thing is, people liked that stuff. They come to my office because there is a sense of credibility and trust. They come when UPS or Fedex may be cheaper or more efficient because they like the relationship we have.
These are the same people who consistently give us high grades in polling, the people whose positive opinions influence decision makers when they look at what we are and what we should be. In the age of the internet these people's opinions are not just subsumed by the isolation of a small rural community. Their opinions can be viral and create positive attitudes they transfer across the demographic spectrum.
Now not every facility can do the things I can. There are places where it isn't practical. There are places where the culture doesn't value it as it does in my community. The problem is that because of our top down autocratic management and because of our rigid evaluating systems we cannot exercise the kind of flexibility that utilizes our skills and experience. We design programs like Carrier Connect with just this sort of goal in mind but because they become so bureaucratized they lose effectiveness.
Our institutional blindness is what's killing us.

As always, USPS, someone, decides square peg will fit in round hole and has the enormous power to try to make it work, and that's that. It doesn't work. I have never, ever bought a doughnut because the cute Brazilian girl asked, as she is forced to do; never. This dumb initiative has ruined window clerks' jobs for good.
There is no sales creativity in this robotic mandate whatsoever. It kills all initiative and feeling of personal accomplishment, already in very short supply in this job. I once led our District by a wide margin, personally, selling Black History comm. sets, $19.95 I think at a whack. Know why? I was in a heavily black area and felt like doing it for the sense of accomplishment. Every time someone wanted "interesting" stamps, I pulled out the semi-postal sheets with the birds and animals on them, gathering dust everywhere. Sold all of them. I put up small displays of new stamps. Sold all the ugly Buck. Fuller ones to the geeks who thought they were cool. You have crushed and in many formal ways forbidden such stuff. No one cares anymore. I know people with 25 years on this window job who ask me every time I see them if there are jobs at the plant, that's how disgusted they are

While we run amuck in the publicized woes of the Postal Service’s alleged financial crisis, we seem to have lost focus on the reason for its existence.

The Postal Service is obligated to provide Universal service to the American public including remote and rural locales. If this means that it cannot turn a profit, so be it. The Postal Service is not a privately owned enterprise nor should it be. It was designed so that every individual within these United States could receive mail! Don’t let the capitalistic arguments of profit, profit, profit!!! steer us away from this fundamental ideal.
Consider that Fed Ex and UPS are private corporations which need to meet operating costs and turn a profit to remain in business. The federally owned Postal Service at best should only be required to maintain its operational costs to do the same.

I believe that in today's economical tough times that it is time to consider suspending mystery shopper program. Too much money is being wasted on this program and the basic question remains are the costs of this program delivering the revenue results that are being sought. Is this program paying for itself or is something we have always done? Temporary suspend the program and see what happens to the revenue. It might remain unchanged and the cost savings would be runnning this program. Empower the employees to come up with creative ways to drive the revenue. Nothing more disconcerning then sitting on a two hour telecon because our office has failed a mystery shop. We can't get the employees to buy in a program no one believes in.

In my opinion is better to talk to the customers as they are human beings. Each letter, each parcel and each service means a lot to the individual who mails it. Quickly determine if the customer is looking to spend more for additional items or services and offer the best possible advice in your common interest. Help the customer get the best value for their money (or else said, GIVE'EM THE BEST BANG FOR THEIR BUCK!) Oh, and be courteous and polite as much as possible and have a stack of complaints cards ready. Just my 2 cents - please don't raise the prices.

Mr. Tyndale above said it best. We need to make meeting the needs of our customers as a first priority. Our needs in the form of increased business and revenue will follow. It has been said that we have focused on being the "best buggywhip maker in the business at a time when there is no demand for buggywhips". While there is truth to that concept, it is also true that until science comes up with a reliable method for teleportation we will still need some form of reliable hardcopy delivery in this country. The USPS is positioned to fill that need, but its success in this area is at risk for getting lost in the details. There are many changes afoot, and after 30 years, I am in constant amazement, but I think if we keep from letting "the tail wag the dog" the USPS can get back into the business of offering good, reliable, and affordable service. If we don't lose sight of this need, we will survive.

The fowarding mail after 90-days needs to stop. Just send it back after 90-days WITH THE NEW ADDRESS ON IT. That makes the mailer send it out twice. More revenue...more volume...less cost....and an accurate mailing list which in turn would eventually be used by companies that send out 3rd Class mailings.....again leading to less waste.....making this class of mail more user friendly. I've sent this suggestion to the USPS often. I have difficulty believing they still waste over a billion dollars a year subsidizing deadbeats that refuse to take personal responsibility for notifying publishers and correspondents of their correct address. Presently the USPS forwards for 12-months and then from 12-to-18 months returns the piece with the new address attached. Simply changing that to forwarding for 90-days and then returning the piece for months 4 thru 18 would save us billions of dollars while actually inproving service and value for our customers who pay to send out all classes of mail. These are uour REAL customes...the rate payers. The recipients of the mail they pay to send are our patrons. It would cost virtually nothing to impliment this new strategy. Try it. What's the worst thing that could happen?

It does help seeing so many other comments that validate the feelings I constantly struggle with. Asking a customer who comes in to mail a book to her sister(no hurry, she says)if she would like to guaranty delivery by tomorrow for $34.95, then having to ask if she would like cash back, and would she like to rent a P O Box, on top of all the other questions, is insulting to the customer and demeaning to me as a SSA.

I have never been to McD's and had to listen to "Would you like to buy a jar of mustard and apply for a job here today?" We are the Postal SERVICE. Have a little faith in your employees to help the customers that need it and to promptly give service to the customers who already know what they want.

Also, think long and hard before trying to retail other items. Remember the phone card debacle?

Thanks for the forum. I do need to vent sometimes, and discussion and communication is always a good thing.

I am a 30 year Postal Employee with several years experience as an SSA and 204-B Acting Supervisor. I am well known and respected by my customers at the window for providing excellent customer service and for my product knowledge. In my opinion the Postal Service is heading in the wrong direction by “standardizing” all Post Offices and requiring SSA’s to follow a “script”. The first example of this I can give you is that a few years back, we tuned in to a local Classic Rock station playing music in the lobby for customers to enjoy while they were waiting for service. We were so popular that the local radio station would mention us on the air frequently and dubbed us the “Rock and Roll Post Office”. What great Public Relations that was! Sadly, someone sitting behind a desk somewhere decided no more radios, TV’s or clocks in the lobbies. Horrible decision!
As for the “script” we are being forced to follow. I cannot express strongly enough my, my co-workers, and our customers, distaste for this manner of doing business. I have attempted to follow the prescribed script and this is what I have observed. The customer, at first, listens to what I am saying, then a look of impatience crosses their face, and by the time I have finished my spiel, they just want to get the heck out of there and not come back. In my opinion, my job is to professionally assess my customers’ needs, (How soon do you need this to arrive?, is there anything requiring insurance? Do you need someone to sign for the article? etc.) and provide the shipping and services that best fit their needs, whether that is Express Mail or Media Mail. Up selling to increase revenue is a bad, bad idea. In fact, in the POS system, if a customer asks for Media Mail and the article would be cheaper to send by First Class Mail, the software prompts me to ask the customer if they would prefer the lower cost, faster service. This is as it should be, seeing as we are the United States Postal SERVICE. Personally, I have no problem with a business that explains the options that are available to me, but when I go to a business that tries to pressure me to upgrade to their “premium” product, (offer Express Mail first, then force the customer to respond), I will go out of my way to NOT use that business again. As for “do you want fries with that?”, if fries are plainly listed on the menu and I haven’t ordered them, then you have just wasted my valuable time asking me stupid questions. My customers tell me that transaction time, public service, and ease of use are the primary factors in determining customer satisfaction. I would agree with that. If we are to increase revenues, then we should do so by providing our customers quality, efficient, friendly service, so that they will want to return, not by using quotas or up selling techniques

As a customer of USPS, I would appreciate retail clerks at the PO to inform me of the best cost to send. I absolutely RESENT a business who has their hands in my pocket as soon as I walk in the door! Its a matter of trust. I want to feel as if they are looking out for me as well. They need my business, I need their services, lets keep it simple. I would suggest "extra services" windows at PO for those who have questions regarding their shipments. With alot of the available employees on "standby" there should be no reason customers should have to wait inside the customer service lobbys. Get all the clerks trained on retail sales. Make the premium products comparable to Fed Ex and UPS. Please make sure managers in area offices AND plant operations constantly keep on top of Express and delivery comfirmations...this seems to wax and wane depending on the amount of pressure to perform. Employees bid on different positions within a plant and their expertise on these products does not go to the next employee without any "real training" resulting in product failures. Managers should keep on it and have accountability with it. Or else the products are waste. Would it hurt managers to learn and perform scanning and tracking processes so they are aware of the products importance? In addition, the Post Office is at every household every day, as an employee of the USPS, we are a walking, talking advertisement to every person in the US. Could we not contract with companies to pitch their products as well as our own? While customers are in lobbies, do we have screens they can view as they are waiting in line? For a certain product..either ours or a clients? (fee based) Would this be to much red tape? Is there a clerk at the window who can assist customers bring in their packages? Do we have an "EXPRESS" window for those only mailing Express mail (especially during holidays) And the simplest question, of which I partially have an answer for, why cant those window clerks at least smile and show a little gratitude to the customers? I rarely visit a post office where the clerk is glad to do business. In fact, I will not go back to a business if I am treated as if I am imposing on some time they might have had if I had not interrupted....but I try to buy only USPS because I am an employee. I will not buy from a business who just contributes to me having a bad day. Come on "lets step it up"

I think that the Postal Service should be self sufficient there's enough debt about without adding more to it. Some people will be willing to pay more for additional services so target them!

I think that this is all a joke. Eveyone has there opionions. So leave it at that!!!!!!!

I must be one of the "lucky" ones. I receive great service from my local post office. I'm glad the employees offer "extra" or "special" services because sometimes I forget. (It's like going to the grocery store-you go there frequently but not for the same items every time.) It's nice to go to the post office and be helped by clerks who suggest things, without a shopping list to remind me.

Getting to know your post office people, just like your butcher or baker at the grocery store, makes each trip a pleasant experience. They get to know your needs and let you know of new stamps or services that you might need.

Lucky One

Great articles , very Informative thanks for sharing with us

While I haven't worked direct for USPS in my prior experience I have had to use a written set of scripts for my call center support operators to use. Prior to implementation my customers were experiencing many shortcomings in customer service that I felt to had be addressed.

Proving the employees with a script/faq that they could reference turned out to be progress in the right direction. It also needs to be understood that the employees need to have wiggle room to think on their feet without being reprimanded. For this reason I also set a budget for them to act accordingly within which in turned speed up the whole proccess.

Sheigh OBrien

For me is the matter of trust. If we are sure enough that they are doing their best with all add on that we paid as long as the beneficiary will received it.

Add new comment

This site provides a forum to discuss different aspects of the United States Postal Service and how it can be improved. We encourage you to share your comments, ideas, and concerns.

This is a moderated site—we will review all comments before posting them. We expect that participants will treat each other with respect. We will not post comments that contain vulgar language, personal attacks of any kind, or offensive terms that target specific individuals or groups. We will not post comments that are clearly off-topic or that promote services or products. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted.

We ask that reporters send questions to the USPS OIG Media Office through their normal channels and refrain from submitting questions here as comments. We will not post questions from reporters.

We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. Given the need to manage Federal resources effectively, however, we will review comments and post them from 9:00 a.m—5:00 p.m Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. We will read and post comments submitted after hours, on weekends, or on holidays as early as possible the next business day.

To protect your own privacy, and the privacy of others, please do not include personal information or personally identifiable information such as names, addresses, phone numbers or e-mail addresses in the body of your comment.

Except when specifically noted, any views or opinions expressed on this forum (or any other forums available via an RSS feed) are those of the individual bloggers. The views and posted comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, or the Federal government.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy and disclaimer. We plan to blog weekly on as many emerging new media topics as possible. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.