Postal customers often choose to stand in line at the counter of their local Post Office, even as an open self-service kiosk sits nearby. In some cases, customers might prefer to interact with a window clerk, perhaps to make sure they purchase the right service or because they want to buy a specialty service not available from the automated kiosk.

But some customers might be unaware that they can get many of the same services at a kiosk that they get from the window. For example, they can buy postage; weigh and send packages; use the ZIP Code lookup feature; and obtain fairly large quantities of First-Class Mail stamps (up to 100 self-adhesive packets). With about 2,500 kiosks in 2,300 retail locations and many of them accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, kiosks are convenient and fairly simple to use.

Consumers have grown so accustomed to using self-service kiosks, including automated teller machines and airline ticketing kiosks, that many people barely remember a time before them. In grocery stores across the country, customers are now choosing to scan and bag their own groceries at self-service checkouts, even though it saves them no money to do it themselves. Yet, consumer backlash against completely automated customer service is growing, especially in some industries such as banking. For example, TD Bank now promotes itself as a bank with “humanity,” using the catch phrase “bank human again.” It seems customers want choice: automation when it’s convenient and human interaction when it is needed.

Does the Postal Service have the right balance of automated options and the human touch? Should it consider expanding the use of self-service kiosks to retail locations that will be operating at reduced hours (less than 8 hours per day)? What could the Postal Service do to increase public awareness and use of self-service kiosks units? Or do you think the public prefers working directly with a person at the window?

Comments (138)

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  • anon

    Kiosk no more. Have bills to mail. kiosk took my money but didn't print stamps. Used to like them. Already out $5 and no stamps to mail the bills.

    Apr 10, 2017
  • anon

    I have a feeling USPS doesn't watch or respond to this site...

    Mar 12, 2017
  • anon

    I would like to know if I can send an envelope using Express mail or overnight mail using the kiosks. I couldn't find that information on your websites or in the Youtube videos.

    Mar 09, 2017
  • anon

    Yesterday, after hours I used the kiosk to purchase stamps and THE ONLY THING I RECEIVED for my $4.90 debit on my bank card WAS A RECEIPT!!! Luckily I was able to dispute the charge with my bank and will see how that turns out with good ol' USPS! I've used the kiosk twice. Both times were a disaster! They are NOT user friendly, but they ARE A RIP-OFF!

    Mar 04, 2017
  • anon

    Media Mail postage cannot be mailed at the kiosks. A clerk told me that is because most folks don't understand what can and cannot be mailed at this rate. The USPS needs to inform customers of the rules. Mostly, we who use this service are adults.

    Mar 03, 2017
  • anon

    They should develop a video at the kiosk to walk people through the process.

    Feb 22, 2017
  • anon

    The kiosk at Sandy Plains Road in Marietta failed to discharge all the stamps I paid for. I bought 30 and only received 14. It did take my payment but no stamps. I am going over to handle this in the am but I want it on record. I took a picture as well.

    Feb 10, 2017
  • anon

    There must be something wrong with that machine. I used it in Feb to mail a large package to Mableton. It just came back to me today saying incorrect postage. It took over a month for them to get it back to me from mableton. That is horrible. I am now out $1.19. I should get a refund for that.

    Mar 30, 2017
  • anon

    It is unclear what services are available and could not find online (kept getting locations site that has no link to sevices). Would also be nice if you warned customers of service that will require or might require a real person. I am seeing one link ( the location link that pops up readily online) that could have a clear link showing self-service features with pic and then a sidebar that says-- caution. You will need a real person for the following.)

    Feb 09, 2017
  • anon

    The attendance take too long and most of the time they are rude. I'd much rather deal with the machine then bad customer service. Most the time I look for the self service kiosks in my area.

    Feb 07, 2017
  • anon

    The kiosk at my local post office just stole $4.90, I purchased some $.34 stamps then 10 forever stamps, and while the .34 stamps printed without a problem, the forever stamps never appeared. I wasn't upset until I realized there is NO way to report the problem. Clearly if I'm out buying stamps at 9 pm, I don't have time to deal with this sort of thing during the day. The phone number at my post office doesn't accept messages, nor does the 800 number AND I still haven't found a place do report it online.

    Jan 31, 2017
  • anon

    The window is too slow most of the time. I need 24 hour capability for any possible service especially in my area

    Jan 15, 2017
  • anon

    Using the kiosk, I had sent a package through first class mail large envelope that was under 13 ounces. I unknowingly opted for no tracking and the customer who I sold the product to is saying he did not receive it within the one to three days that it projects. I sent it out on the 7th and it's nail 13th of January in the customer has not said the package was received. What are my options in order to obtain information on where or when the package was delivered or sent back? Thank you. -Zack

    Jan 13, 2017
  • anon

    Dude, the only thing you could have done is tried to report a lost item to the post office. There is a form you would need to fill out describing the item's contents and stating who it was going to and who from. Then the post office would conduct a check to see if a package matching that description turned up in a bin somewhere. But without tracking, the odds of the post office actually tracking down your package are fractions of a tenth of a percent.

    Mar 31, 2017
  • anon

    I prefer the kiosk because there is barely a line or no line. I have wondered why so few people use it.

    Jan 10, 2017
  • anon

    There are only two options to mail a package on the kiosk. Only the most expensive options are available. I can sit in a line and have the teller find MUCH cheaper options than are available on the stupid kiosk. FIX THIS!!!

    Jan 05, 2017
  • anon

    The kiosk doesn't allow multiple transactions on one card swipe. I had 7 priority mail packages and there was a line behind me. Have to start over and re-insert my card for every package was enough to make me stand in line for your understaffed service with your slow as molasses, though nice, clerks.

    Dec 20, 2016
  • anon

    I use the Kiosk in my area constantly, even mailing multiple packages. Love it! What I found is that it does allow multiple transaction with one swipe if using a credit card. If you'll using a debit card then you must swipe after each transaction.

    Feb 10, 2017
  • anon

    Why isn't there an option to get a tracking number for my small package or 9X11 envelope at an automated site?

    Dec 16, 2016
  • anon

    On December 10, I used a kiosk. Unfortunately, there was not any postage that actually printed. How should I proceed to get a refund? I have the receipt, and there is tracking information on it...but again, no actual "stamp" I could put on the package.

    Dec 11, 2016
  • anon

    Same thing happened to me at the Monroe, NC USPS location last night. If anyone has a clue on what to do, lemme know please!

    Feb 20, 2017
  • anon

    In Long Island, NY. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this 24 hour automated postal machine. I sometimes have 10 small packages and I get dirty looks from both the postal workers and customers. I hated taking up their time, and sometimes I cant do my shipping til the end of the day, so this is my dream come true. I have been using it daily and treat it well and give it a hug and blow kisses at it when I leave. I love that I can do this myself, and not take up the time of other people, and can go there on Sunday afternoon so my packages go out Monday. Thank you!

    Dec 06, 2016
  • anon

    Your kiosk and scale is inaccurate. I received several packages back a week after I sent them for more postage. I weighted the very small package affixed the label given to me and it was sent back to me because it needed more posted. I have some very upset customers!!! There is also NO TRACKING!!! These packages sat at the post office and now I have to pay more $$$ to get these to my customers priority! VERY UPSET!!!

    Dec 06, 2016
  • anon

    Same thing happened to me last week. I used the kiosk at my local post office to send a large envelope. I follow the directions, buy the stamp and sent it in. Three days later, the letter came back to me with a postage due notice on it. I don't understand why. Keep in mind that I have used the kiosk many times in the past without any problems.

    Dec 07, 2016
  • anon

    I didn't get a tracking number. Which is very inconvenient. I also went to the window and talked to one of the representatives. She was very rude and told me she didn't have time for this. Rushing me and putting me into one side.

    Dec 05, 2016
  • anon

    I bought the stamps for my postcards which are sent to China. Each stamp is 1.15 dollars and printed in the machine. The stamps are long and labeled with "fold here". However, I torn the stamps by the dotted line with the "fold here" , keeping the the left of the stamp. Is it invalid and will my postcards be still able to sent to receiver?

    Oct 22, 2016
  • anon

    Okay so recently I started an online business and I've used the kiosk to ship packages (which it only allows you to type the address #, first letter of the street name and the zip code and it finds the address for you). Feeling confident it that it would no doubt find the address why is it that two of the 6 packages that I shipped using this did not reach its destination. 1 of them I had the tracking info for and it now says "undeliverable address" which is false and the second I didn't keep the receipt with the tracking so I have no idea where that went. After spending 27.50 for priority shipping not only did my clients not receive their items quick - they didn't receive them at all. Pissed is an understatement now realizing the USPS "teller" can't even help me if I don't have the tracking number / and even if I did provide it to her she would basically just tell me he SAME thing that I can search on my own. The one customer checked her local USPS and they claimed they didn't have it and I didn't put a return address so where exactly are these packages going? Is there anyway to somehow look up the tracking through the kiosk? How is it there is no back up way to find my packages.

    Oct 20, 2016
  • anon

    I prefer the APM machine simple because it rarely has a line. I noticed recently that it does not offer media postage. Add that, and you have one less customer in line.

    Oct 19, 2016
  • anon

    I used the kiosk twice in the last two weeks thinking this was so easy as I have to bring my 1 year old and do not want to wait in line as I am 8 months pregnant. I sent first package out on the 3rd and got it back today - the 15th aaying there's insufficient postage. So annoying. I had sent my other package on the 10th and it was a rush order for a woman accross the country and I had no clue if it has gotten there or not. After reading this, I have no faith and need to remake the order and resend meaning I am out the cost of the product and double the postage. Usps it is no wonder your business is in the crapper.

    Oct 16, 2016
  • anon

    I don't mind using the kiosk but I need a tracking number on my packages. I used the kiosk once for my business package but I got no tracking number. How am I supposed to get s tracking number via the kiosk?

    Oct 09, 2016
  • anon

    I mail about 10,000 parcels through my own business and my amazon generated business, I was told that I can't use the window at my local Post Office, I wait my turn in line and have all packages prepared and just need them scanned as proof they were put into the system. Can a local post master restrict me? Please let me know and thanks for your time. Rich A

    Sep 14, 2016
  • anon

    AVOID KIOSK!!!! First time using Kiosk and will be the last time. Used Kiosk for Priority Express ship overnight, but it printed my receipt for 2 day shipping. Went to the agent at the desk who said it just says 2 days but it can arrive a day early. Tried to track it online but item not found. After 2 days, still no online tracking, I went to USPS and found out it was just accepted and will arrive there the next day. I was upset since I spent a lot of money and the package was urgent, yet it takes 3-4 days on express?!? The agent didn't seem to care and said "just give it time". Will never ship via USPS ever again. Taking my business to FedEx and UPS.

    Aug 26, 2016
  • anon

    I use kiosk all the time i went today to send package and it didnt print label i have receipt but no label this package needed to be shipped today for birthday gift what can i do

    Aug 25, 2016
  • anon

    Just tried Kiosk for the first time in Covina, CA. There was no option to select suite# that the package needed to go to. The correct address was automatically displaying after punching in keywords but I didn't see an edit option to input the suite#? This option is something that was overseen when making the software menus. This means i could never use the kiosk to ship to a suite, Apartment, or Mobile trailer space. SMH

    Aug 13, 2016
  • anon

    You have to ad the suite number yourself.

    Sep 24, 2016
  • anon

    Must have been a recent software update since the kiosk is now smart enough to recognize a business address or apartment complex and will ask for a suite or apartment number. if it doesn't, simply add it to the label along with the recipient's name above the pre-printed city/state/zip text.

    Dec 07, 2016
  • anon

    Used a kiosk to send a large envelope to NM. Weighed using scale, and bought adhesive postage stamp. Checked my mail today and their was the package, returned to me due to insufficient postage. I don't understand how this could happen, the kiosk dispensed the adhesive stamp based in the wieght. Does that mean I now have to walk into a post office, had the package to a clerk, to rectify the mistake made my the kiosk? Help!

    Aug 06, 2016
  • anon

    This exact thing just happened to me as well... I got the package back today, in fact. Now I have to go BACK to the post office to get it straightened out. They also sent a certified, return receipt letter, addressed to a place in that office zip code, to another city in a different state, nearly 5 hours away. Gah!! So frustrated!

    Aug 23, 2016
  • anon

    On one hand i love the Kiosk. The lines can be crazy long and not to many people want to trust their mail to a machine which now brings me to why on the other hand i don't care for the kiosk. 2 months ago i used the Kiosk. The wrong zip code & city were printed out. Right state. I then showed it to the clerk. Instead of giving me a new label [ which i found out he was suppose to since i asked him ] he crosses out the wrong zip code & city, writes in the correct zip code & city with an ink pen. I asked , What about the tracking number? CLERK: You now have the correct address showing on the package twice. [ I never cover the address with the label ]. They will see where it is suppose to go and get it to it's proper destination. I wanted to kick myself in the butt for believing him. It went out 1st class on a Friday, was suppose to be to its destination in Colorado on the following Tuesday. Never made it. I made all kinds of phone calls, emails etc. All i got from the post office was a survey in my email. They wanted to know how they did. I definitely let them know how they did. Since the item was purchased from me on Ebay, i not only refunded the customers money back but i lost my item. I watched the package track all over Colorado and at 1 point it made it to the Bennett Post Office ,only 11 miles away from its destination. I called that post office and talked to Jim. He goes to check and says it is not there and will call me back when he finds out what the heck is going on. I had to check to see if my phone was broken. It worked just fine. I have been since forgotten. Now tonight! July 31st. I had to use the Kiosk to get a package out. I triple checked the address, zip code and all. Yeaaaa! I get home to add the tracking number for a customer so she knows approx. when it will be there due to her working situation... the kiosk only printed half the numbers. Are you flippin kidding me! So the Kiosk are great to have in a flash when they work properly, BUT !!!! I am learning more often then not....CHECK EVERY DETAIL BEFORE PLACING THE PACKAGE IN THE BIN AND WALKING OUT OF THAT POST OFFICE.

    Jul 31, 2016
  • anon

    I LOVE the kiosks. It took me a while to get comfortable using them, but I am very comfortable with it now and it is such a win win. Saves me time and makes the line shorter for others because I am not in it. This was one truly excellent idea.

    Jul 25, 2016
  • anon

    If I am not using a flat rate box, and need to go through the whole process if size shape of bix etc. It is usually just better to have a clerk do all of that. They are faster at it. If sending some thing where I don't have to input all that information, I always use the kiosk.

    Jul 18, 2016
  • anon

    I love the self service kiosks! I'm not much of a people person so the kiosk is a godsend.There is a post office one mile down the road from my home but it does not have a kiosk, so I will go out of my way to drive the 5 miles across town to the other post office that has the kiosk. There is rarely a line or wait, it's quick and easy, and it is available 24/7 at this particular post office. The only two complaints I have is sometimes receipts don't print, which is an issue when proof of postage is required for online sales. The other problem is it is out of order quite a bit. Both of these problems could be fixed easily if the employees would service it more often. Other than that, I definitely prefer the SSK to an actual person.

    Jul 07, 2016
  • anon

    The kiosks do not provide a tracking number!

    Jul 07, 2016
  • anon

    Not true in the slightest.

    Jul 14, 2016
  • anon

    Tracking number labels are provided by the kiosk for packages BUT ****the Post Office ignores the label and will not scan them.**** So even though your package has a tracking label sticker on it, it is worthless. This makes using the kiosk worthless for mailing packages if you want tracking.

    Aug 29, 2016
  • anon

    No, they do not seem to supply a tracking number for First Class Packages. Not on the Receipt anyways. Can't find it on the Printed Postage either.

    Jul 18, 2016
  • anon

    I would NEVER use a USPS Kiosk as they are NEVER updated and quote wrong postage alot. THey are convienient if you want a lost package or a NON deliverable package due to Postage Due. I think USPS should retrain or fire all of their IT people, as this is NEVER fixed. Just saying ... Another reason why USPS is LOSING money, and all because a simple think CAN'T be fixed!

    Jun 29, 2016
  • anon

    I use the APM because like most other businesses the Post Office doesn't cater to working people. How about you change your hours to reflect when people get off work? For example stay open until 6 or 7p? Also why not put APMs in gas stations and other places near neighborhoods? What's the point of using an APM if I have to drive all the way to the Post Office to use it? Are you TRYING to make it fail? You don't buy soda from a coke machine in the Walmart lobby, who did the location placement study for the APM the head of the Post Office Union?

    Jun 26, 2016
  • anon

    I opted to use a kiosk but will never do so again. After paying $23 to send an envelope via Priority Mail Express, so a package would get to my Dad for Father's Day, it was returned to me saying I paid incorrect postage, and that I owed more money. I did everything correctly at the kiosk...it's certainly not my fault that their scale was incorrect, so now I'm down $23 and my Dad is down a Father's Day gift.

    Jun 18, 2016
  • anon

    I'd much rather have a kiosk than deal with the mongoloids you employ. However, there is not a kiosk at the USPS in New Mogadishu (116th street, Harlem) and the kiosks do not offer media mail postage.

    Jun 15, 2016

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