on Dec 21st, 2009 in Post Offices & Retail Network | 20 comments
 
Last Monday was predicted to be the busiest day of the year for Post Offices™ across the country. Have you visited a Post Office recently? If so, we would like to hear your story.

Why were you there? What worked well? What didn’t work well?

Has your local Post Office adopted any best practices that should spread across the country? Are there any low-cost improvements that would improve the retail experience?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Keep in mind that Pushing the Envelope will not publish comments that contain personally identifiable information, so please don’t include any names in your story.

This topic is hosted by the OIG's Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).

20 Comments

The last time I was at the post office I had prepared my package online using Click-n-Ship but needed to wait in line for one of those plastic customs pouches. If these pouches were on the counter, I could have taken one home and used carrier pickup.

I mailed a few large packages from Merrifield last Tuesday evening and was pleasantly surprised. The line was long (30 minute wait), but they had 6 extremely friendly people behind the counters and a separate 'express' line for folks just needing stamps or mailing envelopes. They also had two people walking around answering questions and helping them with packing questions or lending out pens and packaging tape. They were doing everything possible to help people and get them through the line as fast as they could.

What might of helped was to have the website hours updated. It showed they closed at 8, when in fact they extended their house for the holidays and were open until 10.

The "if it fits, it ships" campaign seems to be working, but I think they need to add a "click and ship" message to it. So many people were coming in with priority mail flat rate boxes, which they could have mailed from the comfort of their home if they 'only knew' about it.

Kudos to the Merrifield staff for being helpful and friendly.

The lobby in Stafford, VA did not open until 10. I used the APC but the parcel drop was locked so I had to wait in line anyway just to drop my package at the window.

The post office continues to cut employees causing long lines and frustrated customers. There is NO CUSTOMER SERVICE. The manager appologized for the long lines but she should have opened up another register. There were several "supervisors" walking around but only two clerks helping customers. Make the supervisors help customers and work the registers. I visit the post office weekly and it is getting worse. MAKE THE SUPERVISORS WORK THE REGISTERS. This is poor customer service.

I stopped inside the PO during my commute to work to buy one stamp for a bill I needed to mail. I never buy the book of stamps at the automatic machine because I rarely use stamps anymore. I was disappointed that only one person was working the counter during the busy Christmas season. I hate having to visit any PO to mail one letter.

I do all of my business at the small office in my hometown, I never go to a large post office anymore. There is never a line or any kind of wait there, and the people are friendly. I think the postal service should emphasize the availability of these little offices to let people know that they are out there, and that the mail will get to where it is suppposed to go just as quickly (at least from my experience). This would also lighten the load off the bigger offices, and in the long run you will have more staified customers.

Another thing- get rid of that spiel that I have to hear everytime I send out a package. The suggestive selling is such a turnoff.

Not enough registers open. Talk about poor planning, I can understand when there's only one or two open during a wednesday and non holiday. But you'd think the PO would expect there to be more customers and respond with more open registers during one of the busiest mailing times of year.

Very encouraging to see video. "Enterprise Architecture". Finaly creeping out of the dinosaur age.

Had to go in to the PO to pick up a package after I received a delivery "notice" marked final notice stating that I had to sign for the package. Here's the thing, I was in my living room and watched the mail carrier drive by the day I received the notice. Apparently, the first notice was delivered to another address, haven't we always heard our mail should not be given or taken by anyone other than the addressee or it's a federal offense? so why is it ok for the mail carrier to give it to the neighbor??? ESPECIALLY since it is only an envelope?? I no longer pay anything via USPS since I NEVER KNOW if it will get there, especially since there are many times I DON'T EVEN GET THE BILL TO PAY IT!!! I have found almost all aspects of the USPS to be substandard. Mail is mis-delivered, long lines, constantly increasing prices, it's no wonder so many use other means of package, or mail delivery, as well as bill paying. AND WHAT HAPPENED TO "...RAIN, NOR SLEET, NOR SNOW, NOR ICE..." If there is a snow here, we might not see mail for two or three days.

I don't go to the post office often, but whenever I do I see several people standing in line while I walk right up to the APC. I get a lot of looks that seem to say, "I wish I'd done that, but I'm too stubborn to admit I made a mistake by getting out of line and going over there now."

Two questions: 1) Instead of complaining about the lines, why not use the APC? 2) Why aren't post offices doing more to encourage their customer to use the APC? A customer who has been standing in line for a long time is usually not a happy one, and who wants to deal with unhappy customers?

I usually visit post office when there is an occasion or event is about to come and i go there for sending something as a gift to my love ones. Usually i get a long line rush full of men women, it usually takes half hour to get the turn.

We just visited an automated postal center at the Liberty Road Station in Lexington, KY. It was not operational, and the screen message said that it was out of service for maintenance. So it wasn't very convenient for us!

The APCs need to be installed NOW--before the Saturday closings. We are still receiving complaints because of the vending machines being removed.

I don't understand why so many APC machines have been removed from high volume post offices with long lines. And even the few locations that still have them, they lock the deposit door so you can't put in your package. Very frustrating!

Twenty years ago we would laugh at the notion that a newspaper would ever embrace the idea that maybe the channel of the future is electronic and that you may have to change your business model

A Bristol, Tenn. man who held several people hostage at gun point inside the Wytheville, Va. Post Office last December will serve 40 years on federal firearms and kidnaping charges.

I was in Chicago, and honestly patience and common courtesy worked best. Everyone there knew they had to wait their turn, and was patient with everything.
Thank you.

Why the removal of the APC in my local post office? Something about the lease not being renewed...? Have been to any other locations but if they are all coming out this is a huge set back.

I went to the Issaquah, WA post office tonight to get a stamp for a flat rate envelope that I need to get in the mail tonight. What I found was that ALL 3 APC machines were OUT OF SERVICE at the same time. If this is some type of nightly system maintenance wouldn't it be better to cycle the service on the machines rather than have them all be out of service at once! There should also be some type of information to let people know when the APC will be out of service for maintenance if this is the case.

Is the vending machine already installed? It was said that there are lots of complaints because of the removal of vending machines?

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