What do you want from your Postal Service? It’s a simple question, yet it is probably one that few citizens have pondered – even as our nation’s policymakers consider how best to reform the U.S. Postal Service. The voice of the American public has largely been absent from the debate about what role the Postal Service should play in meeting modern communications needs.
To better understand how Americans view the Postal Service now, as well as what role it could play in their future lives, the Postal Service Office of Inspector General commissioned a web survey of 5,000 Internet-connected Americans aged 18 years and older. The survey explored areas such as: perceptions of the Postal Service’s role, access to postal services, cost reduction efforts, comfort level with online interactions, and future growth opportunities.
The survey yielded several interesting results. For one, the overwhelming majority of respondents think their lives would be hurt if the Postal Service did not exist in 5 years. Most respondents also consider Postal Service delivery a public service that should be maintained, even if it is not profitable. While most respondents were satisfied with the service and accessibility of their Post Office, a strong majority indicated they would be interested in more self-service options. Respondents were not generally opposed to closing post offices to reduce costs, but were less likely to support cost reduction measures such as delaying mail delivery or reducing delivery to 3 days a week. Many interviewees, especially younger ones, expressed interest in the Postal Service offering new nonpostal products, including some digital services. (Link to “What American Wants From the Postal Service – A Survey of Internet-connected Americans”)
This week, in a series of daily blogs, we are going to ask you to weigh in with your opinion. Each day, we will feature some of the questions from the survey in a poll we hope you will answer. We also welcome more detailed input in our comment section. In particular, we would like to know your thoughts on reinventing the Postal Service in an era of digital communications. If you were going to reshape the nation’s postal system, which parts would you keep and which parts would you change? And is there some aspect of today’s Postal Service that you would absolutely insist on retaining.