on Nov 8th, 2010 in Products & Services | 19 comments
 
The Post Office isn’t the only place to shop for mailing services. Postal Service customers can purchase products and services at postal stores and other facilities, and on-line at USPS.com. They can also call 1-800-ASK-USPS, to get answers to their questions and address their needs. Some of the more popular customer services options available are: •Finding a Zip Code™. •Shipping products and services. •Scheduling a pickup. •Locating a Post Office™. •Tracking and confirming shipments. •Changing addresses. •Getting information on delivery services. Are www.usps.com and 1-800-ASK-USPS useful, easy-to-use tools for customers? Could improvements make the tools more user-friendly? Let us know what you think of the customer service tools that are available. Are there additional products and/or services you would like to see added to www.usps.com or 1-800-ASK-USPS? This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Office of Audit Information Technology team.

Comments

Sirs, I feel that the USPS is trying to move too much in the "do it yourself" direction while not providing the rest of their customer service obligations. Customer service is supposed to also supposed to supply what the customer needs and what the company sees as the smart business thing to do to enhance thair sales. The USPS is trying to forc people to fulfill their needs and not giving the customers the service/opportunity they expect.
Two examples immediately spring to mind.
First, the removal of most of the blue collection boxes from towns across the country. When you are competing with electronic mail for market share you do not narrow your opportunities by making it harder to use your service. By discouraging people from mailing you force people towards electronic mail.
Second, the decision to remove the automated postage machines from postal lobbys. The idea for thses machines was/is to save manhours at the window by allowing people to service themselves. In my station, Highlands Ranch, Colorado; the atuomated postage machine took in approximately $500,000 a year in revenue and the cost of maintenance for that same year was approximately $50,000 per year. What business would NOT appreciate an extremely healthy $450,000 profit.
These type of decisions are not in the best interest of the Postal Service and show an unhealthy monopolistic attitude towards it's customers

I completely agree, why cut back on the USPS services that are the most basic ones, and cut back on the accessibility of those services. My mailman is nice but never once has he knocked on my door when there is a package to deliver, and why is customer service over the phone so rude in their tone of voice it makes you more defensive when you call them. If post office machines and mail boxes maybe you would have less people standing in line for those small things you think?

I have used USPS.com, and found that it worked well.

I have used 1-800-ASK-USPS

I have yet to have a successful out come from 1-800-ASK-USPS

I have frequented USPS.COM to use the tracking function for services I or the shippers have paid for and this I can tell you. The concept of tracking my package or letter is a greatly desired feature BUT the rate of successfully tracking my letters and packages is somewhere in the 20% range. For that, I give USPS.COM a failing grade. If a customer pays for a service, they should receive that service or a refund. Instead, the Postal Service advertises rhetoric or issues apologies. How about working on getting the tracking success rate up to 100%.

should have been able to replace the machine for $50,000 - way to much maintenance cost- Bank teller machines have no where near that for cost of maintenance or the banks would scrap them

Customer service has to be comprehensive, Not only online services but lobbies with the customer friendly hours, then there is the after hours services, lobbies that have APC’s and vending machines and lobbies must be consistent, the same services at all lobbies, nothing worse than going to a large chain store and finding it closed because its hours are different than the one you usually use.
Why do we make customers wait in line to buy a single stamp??? It’s a waste of our customer’s time and the window clerk’s time.
With the holidays coming up this is the time to have these other services in the lobbies, with clerks to show them how to use them and direct them so they can use the appropriate services, clerk or machine, a strong effort here will pay off the rest of the year as the customers understands wear to get the fastest service. This would be the time to have internet services demonstrated by clerk’s right in the lobbies.

The general attitude that I have face on a consistent basis with USPS customer service is one where they express apologies quite fluently and claim to be understanding of one's frustration, but never solve anything. All fingers consisting point to the customer, and if you dare show what steps you've taken and show logically why you feel the problem is at their end, they do absolutely nothing. Even when I have been promised they would research the matter further, it either never happened, or no one got back to me. This sort of reaction was at all levels: phone, online chat, supervisors of both, and the DC offices. It is a study in ineffectiveness and inefficiency and downright cynicism (no other way I can explain it). And I find it both sad, and scary.

I know USPS is trying to update their system and services, and there is definitely signs of improvement. However, I still feel that other private delivery service providers are doing much better in customer services and being on time. Keep improving and hope to see better results!

Thank you to each of the commenters for taking the time to post to this site. Many of your thoughts and suggestions directly affect the work that we do, thank you.

I have nothing good to say about the USPS. I have used USPS online, I have been to many post offices and have had reason to talk directly with my postmaster. All of my interactions with USPS equate incompetence. For instance, my mail carrier is afraid of my dog. She is actually afraid of dogs, cats and birds--which begs the question, "How did you get a job as a mail carrier?" I have taken numerous measures to resolve this issue with my mail carrier and postmaster. The USPS has taken no measures to resolve this issue, such as a complete unwillingness to designate a time for my mail delivery. At one point they halted all mail delivery to my block without notifying anyone. Concerned that my mail carrier was looking for a lawsuit (she claimed the dog bit her, but was unable to produce any evidence to support her claim) I had decided to no longer have my mail delivered to my home. Instead I rented a PO Box from my local UPS store (I also do not use the USPS to ship any packages). I used USPS online to have my mail forwarded. After repeated attempts to get/find my mail over the course of 5 weeks, I was told by my postmaster that the mail forwarding systems "sucks". They eventually found all 137 pieces of my unforwarded mail at my local post office. I have made numerous attempts to escalate this and have even attempted to file a mail tampering case with my local police. I have contacted every hotline and OIG number I can find for help to resolve my issue and nothing ever happens. I am a life-long Democrat who voted for many Republicans in the last election because of my experience with the USPS. The USPS is a poster child for why big government and unions are not good for America. Even though my mail carrier was unable to offer any evidence that my dog bit her, she was able to take THREE days off of work to have her foot looked at by a doctor! People wonder why the USPS is failing...

NO "attempted delivery" AT ALL
NO USPS CUSTOMER SERVICE AT ALL
Where to find a solution? (Not to use USPS is a good idea but too late..)

I don't see my long previous comment here even after if I took off personnal data.

I had a parcel posted in USA the 29th of October 2010 arrived in China the 4th of November expected to go to Kaili, Guizhou.

The 15th of october I saw on the website http://www.usps.com/shipping/trackandconfirm.htm

"Attempted Delivery Abroad, November 15, 2010, 9:54 am, CHINA PEOPLES REP"

The email I received because I applied to "Get current event information or updates for your item" arrived only a few hours later!!!

Which "Attempted Delivery"? NOBODY came to the address to try to deliver!!!

It seems in China the Post phone first, and only then will come to deliver if someone answered to the phone call. The phone number I provided has been truncated by a software so the sender provided a phone number that is missing the last digit. It's obvious the number he provided to USPS can't exist in China but it was accepted by USPS (Don't they use computers that would verify if the number formatting can exist).

Since the 15th of november (I hear here, after 15 days, maybe less, it goes back to sender) I have been trying to join someone either in China Post either in USPS to tell them the last digit missing to the phone number. The sender (Now absent for two weeks) phoned to (800) ASK-USPS more than once but couldn t get any answer.
My chinese friend phoned to Beijing International Airport, Guiyang Post, Kaili post (Because of different tracking information... not the USPS that say nothing except China) even more than once but couldn t get answer as the place he phoned didn't know about USPS format reference (They were having other companies)

My main concern is not to ASK it is to get a real ANSWER and get a solution.

I was given a email address by general inspector CA Response Team@usps.gov. I wrote there saying not to provide me phone number as (800) ASK-USPS because I am in China and its not easy to phone from China and moreover I write english a lot better than i speak it with perfect french pronunciation (Few people understand), saying I couldn 't find anyone here in China for delivery and the sender is not accessible. Here is USPS answer (How could I imagine it?)

"Should further assistance be needed, you may advise the sender located in the United States to initiate an inquiry by calling the International Inquiry Center (IIC) at 1-800-222-1811. The information they provide will be directed to the appropriate U.S. International Exchange Office for processing with the destination Postal Administration. The International Inquiry Center will share the inquiry results with the sender via telephone or letter. "
AND !!! (After the previous I am certainly supposed to ear anything)
"Your case has been investigated and a solution has been provided to you" (At least USPS seems satisfied to call this no answer a solution)

I read on this blog a doubt about USPS competence...
My doubt: "Is there a human being on the other end of the line?"

The Customer Service page on USPS.com includes a link "Send us an email". However that email form has a bug that makes it not possible to submit the form, when using browsers other than Internet Explorer. That means at least 1/3rd of the public cannot use that feedback form. I got the error with both Firefox 3.6 and also with Chrome 7. I had to find a Windows machine be able to submit the "contact" form.
Incidentally, even in IE (IE8) I got a variety of errors as well, though at least I was able to submit and got the service ticket number.

I have used USPS.com, and found that it worked well.

Excellent blog post , Very good content many thanks for sharing.

I think the Postal Service has no choice but to increase the self-service options. However, there is a huge disconnect with the number and placement of Automated Postal Centers (APC's). The county I live in has five Post Offices. In the past year or so the hours have been reduced to the point that can only be described as customer unfriendly. The main Post Office even closes for an hour and a half for lunch. This is the busiest time of day and makes customers especially angry when they can see Postal employees working, even though the doors are locked. For reasons unknown to me, there are no other options other than to go to Mail Boxes ect. There are no APC's at any of the Post Offices in the county and all the stamp machines have been taken away. This makes it way to difficult for customers to bring us revenue.
So before we spend even more money on marketing, I think we would be well served to deploy more APC's nationwide. As we cut back hours, we need to give customers more options. Relying entirely on USPS.com is just too risky. Customers want and need more options.

I think you could pretty much say the same thing about any postal service anywhere in the world. they all have their issues and if you think about the sheer volume of mail they have to sort and deliver each day, there's little wonder why there are so many issues with them.

On April 29, a retailer shipped a music CD I had purchased using First Class mail with Delivery Confirmation. It is now May 25. I'm in north Texas; the retailer shipped from either California or New York. In either case, it historically does not take almost an entire month to ship something First Class. Typically even a mere week is sufficient. I used to order tobacco from Sweden awhile back, and almost every single time using the Swedish Post and the USPS, it still took exactly seven days to arrive. The retailer has been kind enough to ship out a second copy, and I offered to ship one back if I ever receive both of them.

USPS.com has been essentially useless other than telling me that they've received electronic notification of shipment, and providing me with the 1-800-ask-usps number. Calling in was a nightmare trying to weed through a useless automated system that could not tell me anything with the "tracking" number I have, since it's really just a delivery confirmation number. After getting back to the main menu and repeatedly pressing 0, the system finally connected me to a real person who repeatedly apologized, put in a case and gave me a confirmation number, telling me to expect a call back on Friday. We'll see, but I have a feeling that nothing's going to happen.

two stray dogs were in my yard during delivery hours so the usps held my mail HOSTAGE for THREE DAYS until I registered my dog who WAS NOT OUT SIDE AND SIGN A PAPER THAT PUT ME ON NOTICE THAT IF ANY DOG IS IN MY YARD (whether it is my dog or not)THEY WILL DISCONTINUE DELIVERY TO MY HOME PERMENTLY in other words I am being held responsible for every dog in town and they wonder why they have such a bad reputation when 9ic comes to service at the age of 70 I have been a "customer" for
half a century and there is little good I can say about mail in all of 50 years

Thanks for updating about postal services.

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