For any business, customer service is important. It improves the brand image, keeps customers loyal, and provides insights into the customer experience. In the past, customer service operations for a major corporation would involve thousands of service agents to handle calls — from routine problems to more complex ones. Technology has changed customer service, allowing automated systems to handle routine inquiries 24 hours a day without requiring an agent.

For its 1-800-ASK-USPS customer care line, the Postal Service employs an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to answer calls, automatically handling routine issues such as package tracking, finding post office locations and hours, and submitting hold mail requests. This allows customers to find solutions for certain issues without being put on hold or being referred to agents for complicated problems. In Fiscal Year 2020, the Postal Service’s IVR system handled 90 million calls!

Our latest white paper, 1-800-ASK-USPS: The Postal Service’s Interactive Voice Response System, examines the effectiveness of the Postal Service’s IVR system at handling inquiries. We found that two of the metrics, the containment rate (the percent of calls not transferred to agents) and customer satisfaction, have both increased over the past years. Still, there is room for improvement. A quarter of IVR users who stay on the line at the end of the call to take a survey were very dissatisfied with their IVR experience, which might be worth exploring further.

We also found the Postal Service was counting any call not transferred to an agent as contained. For example, if someone called and hung up in frustration before getting the information they sought, that call would still count as resolved by the IVR system. We recommended the Postal Service track abandoned calls and more accurately track contained calls. This could help them accurately identify customer frustration points with the IVR system.

Have you called 1-800-ASK-USPS recently? What was your experience?

Comments (80)

  • anon

    Horrible Service in every aspect from the bottom to the top ..Customer service. Employees amd services are the worst i have ever dealt with and will never use them ..I dont even want my mail delivered from them.

    Feb 20, 2022
  • anon

    Asks for agent, you're forced to put in a tracking number, you start putting in the tracking number and it interrupts you and you start over, same thing happens, over and over until the system hangs up on you. Pointlessly long speeches you have to sit through in order to get to the next section. Simple voice commands don't even work. Total garbage automation. Probably intentional. Pathetic.

    Feb 17, 2022
  • anon

    Our recent experiences with the customer service phone system has been horrible! It is the WORST system that we have ever encountered! Every time we try to talk to a human it just shifts back to the menu. It doesn’t matter what you do or what steps you take. You can yell scream type zero a million times. It doesn’t matter if you have a tracking number or not nothing ever works! We have been trying to file complaints about our packages being improperly delivered by the substitute drivers. Yet we can never talk to a human. You give a tracking number that is in reference to the item you want to complain about and the computer tells you it has been delivered and hangs you up or sends you back to the main menu. This is a house hold with elderly and disabled! There is no excuse for a system to be so automated and it is seriously lacking the customer service that our country needs now more than ever!

    Feb 15, 2022
  • anon

    horrible phone service. your menu driven options don't register our responses. I've had to call back three times. and on third try was routed to the long wait when I had indicated I wanted to be put in queue and ghave a call back. you don't have enough lobbying power ...you need more money and more people to help us. my issue was that I cannot create a new act because your system shows me with an old act, but I don't remember the password, or security answers, so I can't create a new act without being released from the old one. it's a circuitous hell! get some web and phone system programmers that know what user friendly means.

    Feb 14, 2022
  • anon

    Impossible to get an agent on the phone to discuss refund for a Priority Mail Express package that was delivered 20 days late. I filed a claim on line and it says refund paid but I have never received the refund, nor was it credited to the card I originally use to pay for postage.

    Feb 14, 2022
  • anon

    same problem i have stupid machine put ina tracker doesnt wor k

    Oct 04, 2022
  • anon

    This system is designed to stop people from contacting customer service. It is designed to frustrate, stop, and annoy anyone with a customer service issue. It took four tries to get through all the possible prompts to finally prompt me to go back to the Website to find an alternative number. It took three tries to get a prompt for a call back. That individual Latoya was very nice, but her job did not allow her to help me. I sent time sensitive corporate documents for signature with tracking, and was calling my client real time with updates while they watched their mail box Jan 27th 2022. Even though I told them it was coming, and that tracking showed it was delivered in Idaho to their home at 8:22 pm, they watched and checked and nothing and no one came. Of course they deny the claim because "It shows it was delivered" , 8 below zero, in the dark in Idaho, sure. Thje Post Office supervisor tells my client, "It was delivered late so maybe it went to the wrong address, check with your neighbors" but all say they did not see the missing package. The appeal is filed online and acknowledged, but no notice when the claim or the subsequent appeal is denied by email. NO, that is "In the mail" but it took 4 hours of phone calls , phone trees, and poring over the Website to get an individual to repeat "I shows it was delivered." At my own home I have to have a private mailbox for my home base business as the Fill in postal carriers continually left IRS notices to me for my clients in various other adresses around my neighborhood, on some days up to three confidential tax notices to several adresses near my home, bless my neighbors for returning them. I use USPS priority dozens and dozens of times a year, and whem there is a problem it is awful, and designed to be awful.

    Feb 07, 2022
  • anon

    USPS automated phone system SUCKS! The system for redelivery is so bad and I could not get through to a human. Can't even call the local post office anymore to complain about their non-delivery attempt.

    Feb 07, 2022
  • anon

    I can't get through on the phone to someone to help me. I accidentally mailed a letter with no stamp. What happens to it!? It hasn't been returned to me after two days. I can't even get a live response.

    Feb 03, 2022
  • anon

    Connect with Customer Service information

    Jan 31, 2022
  • anon

    Had sent a priority mail to DC with passport in it. It's been five days in transit. The USPS update automatically renews the same message at the end of day, claiming it is in transit to the next facility. Called customer service, she didn't provide any more information than what's on the web, and when I press on more information she hung up. My dad is in critical condition, and USPS lost my passport. I don't know how I can make it to see him!

    Jan 29, 2022
  • anon

    No matter what I've done during the normal operating hours of the customer care phone number for the USPS I cannot get to a live agent I cannot get past the tracking number thing I say I don't have it I keep saying or asking did I say help if it asks did I say agent I say yes and it goes back to asking for a tracking number why can't we just get to a straight live agent without having to have a tracking number all the time that's ridiculous

    Jan 28, 2022
  • anon

    I just went through the same thing this morning. 35 minutes on the IVR and never got an agent, despite saying 'agent' many times. The IVR got my answer wrong multiple times, hung up on me a couple of times, and rarely got the tracking number correct. Still waiting on my call back. I just want to know why they can't deliver a package to my door that was too big for the mailbox, just like the carrier always does for packages that don't fit in the mailbox.

    Jan 31, 2022
  • anon

    Absolutely horrific! The customer service line takes you around and around in circles and you can never speak to a human being. When calling the local post office it starts by saying hold while we transfer you to the next agent. It then rings and rings for several minutes before it finally goes to a fast busy signal. Customer service is non-existent!

    Jan 24, 2022
  • anon

    I had a package that I mailed priority and was delivered to the wrong zip code. I keep getting denied because it was delivered. The automated system has no way to listen to me say, "Sure it was delivered but to the WRONG address." I've tried everything with no clear route for me to take. I've appealed online. No answer and no way to find out how long I should wait.

    Jan 18, 2022
  • anon

    I have a package saying "in transit to the next facility" with no way of knowing if it is halfway around the world by now by some snaffoo. I called the customer service number and absolutely could not get a hold of an agent. Every time, it either looped the main menu or said "I have to hang up because I need to help more people." IT'S A ROBOT! It can help anyone who calls in, and this is absolutely ridiculous. It's like it's trying so hard to not put me through that it would rather I hang up.

    Jan 12, 2022
  • anon

    It's really a great and helpful piece of information. I'm satisfied that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing. You actually revealed it effectively! adbot

    Dec 24, 2021
  • anon

    My package has been stuck in customs since August 27, I don't know what to do

    Oct 17, 2021
  • anon

    Dog medicine--gone. Vanished. Now I have to wait and wait again and hope it shows this time.

    Oct 15, 2021
  • anon

    How about you stop losing my packages and mail all the time?

    Oct 15, 2021
  • anon

    boI was stunned that without notice, our small P, O. Box rental increased $26.00 per year for 2021!!!! It has slowing been increasing in smaller incriments for years, but this is unrealistic. the usps cannot expect the P. O. Box holders to make up the deficit you are experiencing in managing your funds! I am so disgusted! Someone needs to be appointed to review this and re-evalucate this ill informed decision. I read on line some sort of excuse that certain zones increased due to other existing facilities Lastly, it might be a good faith idea to identify a place on the usps.com website for us to commmunicate with you. There is no area that addresses a place to comment/complain etc... on that site. Constantly takes you to a block to enter a tracking #, which is irrelevant.

    Oct 14, 2021
  • anon

    I have missed out on so much thanks to the usps. I read that a mail truck a day catches fire . Take better care of peoples stuff in the future.

    Oct 14, 2021
  • anon

    17 days and counting ..........should not be the norm for first class mail delivery! Our government SHOULD NOT APPOINT POLITICAL APPOINTEES to help slow down the ballots or ANY MAIL. Main objective should be to deliver and run this division effectively w/out political influence. Since Dejoy took over it been a Fiasco!

    Oct 13, 2021
  • anon

    Who can I contact about an envelope sent from Australia to MyHeritage in Houston Texas which has not arrived but was sent on 29 July 2021? It was missing a customs declaration form so may have been held up in customs.

    Oct 12, 2021
  • anon

    Who can I contact about mail sent to Houston Texas from Australia which may be held in customs due to a missing customs declaration form. The envelope was sent from Australia on 29 July 2021 so I assume it should have arrived in the US by now but it does not appear to have been received by MyHeritage Labs in Houston.

    Oct 12, 2021
  • anon

    We are paying for the "Premium Forwarding" service since September1, 2021. To date we have received 2 notifications of if there was or was not mail to forward to us. The 1st time was after 3 weeks and we had a neighbor check to see if mail was in our box, which there was. We tried to reach out to our PO in Melrose, MA. Their phone is continuously busy as if they take it off the hook for the operating day. We finally went to our local PO in Wisconsin. The Supervisor here reached out directly to the Supervisor in Melrose. That Supervisor blamed it on the Carrier being out on leave. Shortly after we received the forwarded mail (they sent someone to retrieve it). After 2 week of no additional email or forwarded mail we finally received an email that "No mail was received to forward". Two days later we received forwarded mail. I returned to have my WI Supervisor reach out AGAIN! We are still not getting mail nor email notifications as to status. We used the interactive " 1-800-ASK-USPS: The Postal Service’s Interactive Voice Response System". There is also no was to contact a real person on this service. And we used the online complaint form twice and only received a "We got your notice" and then a "Are you happy with the answer you received from our staff rectifying your issue?", which has not been "satisfied" nor had anyone contacted us. I had the Supervisor reach out again and, per her suggestion, we have requested a refund for lack of service performed per the agreement of this service. We have yet to see a refund nor anyone inquiring what is wrong with the service. It is now another week, now into an 8th week with no forwarding service but for 2 weeks and no additional answers! If this is the best you can do for a cost of over $22/month you should be closed down!

    Oct 12, 2021
  • anon

    I have called and listen to you voice response BUT your voice response system does not prompt you to speak with a representative, Why?? I have listen and listen. No prompts! The United States Postal Service has shown Americans that you do not care about our business that we pay for each and every day. I filed a complaint for missing package in June. The company that the package was going back to stated that if I can provide a Lost/Stolen Claim Number that they would process the paperwork on their end. In trying to speak to someone about what to do and if I could get a claim number, I cannot reach no one to ask this question.

    Oct 12, 2021
  • anon

    The customer service line is awful. I wanted to report that the delivery carrier misdelivered packages to my house (someone else's packages are on my porch) but it would not let me talk to anyone and had no option to leave a message for the carrier to pick up the packages. I shouldn't have to lift and carry packages to my car, drive, and lift and carry packages to stand in line at post office to report misdelivery. I should be able to fill out something online or use the customer service number. Customer service is not good. I ended up hanging up because the phone system never let me talk to anyone and did not have any help for this problem.

    Oct 12, 2021
  • anon

    The United States post office allowed it’s employees to steal my personal information( Social security number, email, birth day, place of employment. I mailed a letter to the student loan processing center with all my information on it, and the post office sent it back in a plastic bag a month later. They have been no help and now someone is opening up accounts in my name. Nobody will acknowledge with they let my information float around for over a month. Nobody cares!

    Oct 12, 2021
  • anon

    My issue couldn't be solved by the I've system, yet it still refused to transfer me to a live representative no matter how many times I asked to speak with someone and no matter which prompt number I pressed. I was and still am extremely dissatisfied! It's extremely irritating that business matters that need to be handled by humans are now being transitioned to AI systems that aren't able to think outside of the box to solve complex issues, yet still try to do so with only the simple solutions it's capable of coming up with and is not helpful with the issue at all, and still it doesn't transfer you to a human that is capable a doing so!

    Oct 11, 2021

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