on Apr 9th, 2013 in Products & Services | 37 comments
 

The U.S. Postal Service has a wide spectrum of customers, from businesses and organizations to every household in the United States. Balancing the needs of these customers is no small task, yet satisfying them is essential to the Postal Service’s success. With that in mind, the Postal Service has made improving the customer experience one of the key elements of its strategic goals.

For consumers, customer service ranges from wait time in lobbies to letter carrier service to interaction with postal staff at a Post Office. Business mailers might focus on different aspects of customer service, such as delivery performance, interaction with acceptance personnel, or how quickly a service problem is resolved. What customers might not realize is that the Postal Service relies on a number of systems to support customer services and to improve a user’s overall experience. These systems can also reduce manual inputs, increase efficiency, and streamline operations. Often seamless to customers, these sophisticated systems have helped to make mail a reliable method of communications. However, when they go down or work inefficiently, it can lead to negative customer experiences, which might impact future business opportunities.

For example, business mailers use the Facility Access and Shipment Tracking (FAST) system to set up appointments to enter mail at postal facilities. FAST collects and monitors appointment data for the facilities, which improves the efficiency and effectiveness of appointment creation for both customers and Postal Service management. Business mailers also rely on PostalOne!, a suite of web-based business capabilities that allows mailers to integrate their mail planning and production processes with those of the Postal Service for “seamless” and efficient mail induction.

Consumers are more likely to use the Postal Service’s website usps.com to research or access services, such as purchasing postage, looking up ZIP Codes, printing shipping labels, or submitting a change of address form. And although retail customers might not realize it, their customer experience hinges on the Point of Service (POS) Retail system, which automates retail transactions at post offices and other retail counters.

When these systems are working properly, customers may not think about them at all. But if these systems experience an outage, the customer experience could be entirely different. Our office is reviewing these systems as part of an audit and would like to hear from customers. What have your experiences been when using FAST, PostalOne!, usps.com and other types of services? Are they consistently available? Or have you experienced system availability problems?

For business customers, has system availability or slow response times affected your own internal processes, such as transportation schedules or other mail entry issues? For retail customers, have you had problems accessing information or services on usps.com? We also welcome comments of Postal Service employees on their experiences with these applications and the services they support.

While the scope of our audit is limited to systems review, we welcome input on the entire customer experience.

37 Comments


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It amazes me that a small package, slightly larger than a greeting card, can take at least six days to travel 250 miles between huge metropolitan areas. After five days an attempt was made to use the automated system with the tracking number to discover the whereabouts of the malingering package. Alas the automated system didn't like the tracking number even though it showed on the track and confirm page --- this makes no sense at all. Finally, in despair, a prompting to the merchant produced the information that the lonely package had been found and might be delivered in my lifetime. Such efficiency should be worth some sort of award and probably result in a number of bonuses for senior management.

The OIG appreciates your feedback on this blog. Please consider your option to file a complaint at your local post office.

Due to family illness, I travel from my home in Georgia to Pennsylvania frequently. Despite having submitted an online change of address form mail is intermittently left at my home in Ga. or marked return to sender. My banks and other billers become concerned when the bills are returned to them,bills get paid late because they are sitting in Ga. while I am in Pa. Today I went to USPS to extend the temporary address change and after failing online called the USPS telephone number. I was told my confirmation number is not used by the post office. However I saved the email sent by USPS and the number I gave the person on the phone is the number sent to me by the postal workers change of address site. How do you expect to remain in business when this simplee service is so badly managed ?

It's no wonder why the postal service is losing money. I had a package shipped to me in Louisiana from Illinois. The package went from Illinois to Tennessee to California and back to Tennessee before supposedly heading to Louisiana. Its been in route for 7 days now and I still haven't received it. All the USPS customers service reps can tell me is that because it's a ground shipment, the trucks take different routes when dropping packages. Tennessee to California and back to Tennessee. Please!!!

I had a letter sent from a USPS "Customer Care" rep in my area, from a post office in an adjacent zip code. I've finally received it 3 WEEKS later. This letter (which didn't have a tracking number, but was in a USPS official envelope) never left town. I could have walked, picked up the letter, took a bike ride to the country to the north of me, spend a few days having a relaxing time, ride home, walk back over and pick the letter up again, and have been home before this letter finally decides to show up. I'm pretty sure the only reason that this particular letter was even delivered at all is that it was an official letter from USPS. I was told that the letter should take a maximum of 2 business days to arrive (3 if there was a very high volume of mail), but it didn't show up for 3 WEEKS. If your people can't take a letter from one Post Office to it's neighboring Post Office, and have it out for delivery within a few days, that's absurd. That is precisely why I'm not using USPS for any outgoing post, as are most of the people within my zip code. Until the Postal Employees decide to act like it's "Grown up working time" you WILL continue to lose money and lose business.

The OIG appreciates your feedback on this blog. Please consider your option to file a complaint at your local post office.

I've been raising the issue and trying to go up the chain from my Postman, to the Local Post Office Branch, to the Local Customer Service Line, and the 1-800-ASK-USPS line for nearly 3 and a half years. I'd finally given up when I was told directly that "Mis-delivered mail, Non-delivery of mail, Theft of mail, or any other thing that prevents you from receiving mail is not the problem of the United States Postal Service" after trying to chase down a package that contained the only instance of a part that will fix my aging stove that I could find. I was them told to call the seller and let them know "Simply because the status of the package reads delivered, doesn't mean that anything was actually delivered. Send another one.". The problem with that is there simply aren't any more. I've been scolded by utility companies, my parents, my spouse's parents, online merchants that send using USPS even AFTER I've instructed them not to, and anyone else that tries to reach me via USPS. I'm not sure if everyone at my local branch is using drugs, or feel that since their job is secure that they don't have to do it, or what their problem is, but it's gone so far beyond unacceptable that I felt as though there was no alternative but to contact the USPS Inspector General Hotline. If you'll read the reviews of the branch (Including the filtered ones) You'll see that I'm not the only person having issues [ http://www.yelp.com/biz/us-post-office-seatac ]. Sure, there are a few people in town that are ecstatic that they can go to the branch at strange hours, but the people that are supposed to be served are generally not pleased even a little bit. When I asked if I could use a locking Mailbox, my Carrier claimed that I could not, while the Customer Service people scolded me for not using one, and suggested one "For the low low price of $1750.00". While I lose at least that much money due to Postal Antics annually, I work for a living. When I asked if I could rent a P.O. Box, they said there weren't any left. When I asked if I could have my mail carried by a far closer post office, or use a P.O. Box there for delivery to my "Street Address" which is required by nearly all shippers these days, That too was "Unacceptable". I've asked everything I can think of, tried talking to everyone I could find or get a number for, and every time I get a "Call so and so" and when I ask for the number for whomever they're trying to pawn me off to I get an attitude as though I should know every Postal Employee's phone number. I then asked if there was a directory, since obviously, if I'm to know this information, it must be published somewhere. They said that there was no such publication, but the onus was on me to figure out who so-and-so is, what their capacity to help is, and since I'm not a mind reader they'll eventually begrudgingly give me a phone number, then usually promptly hang up. Then I hear the old "We'll call you back." When I ask "What should I do WHEN you don't", then they'll tell me that "IF, on the extremely remote chance that you don't get a call back, call me back directly - here's my direct number". Those numbers never work. Best case I get a non-working number, worst case I end up ranting to some poor individual who happened to have the imaginary number that I'm given for a "Direct Line". Yes, 3 and a half years. I've recently given up because there's no point. Maybe you guys can knock some sense in to these clowns, but even considering filing a complaint at my local post office at this point seems to be the same as asking one's abusing father to deal with their abusive father.

I agree with Kurt in that filing another complaint with the office you are having problems with is a waste of time and there should be some over sight from a regional office or someone other than the person you have a problem with. My local P.O. said I could complain somewhere else and when the problem was referred back to them they would handle the again at that time. There will be no satisfaction for the customer.

The OIG appreciates your feedback on this blog. Please consider your option to file a complaint at your local post office.

I cannot believe how rude the customer service agent whom helps the public at the Cheshire, Connecticut post office is! She has worked there for years but over the years I have seen her go from friendly and helpful to downright rude and cranky. I guess it is due to less help and more work for her but I have been treated disrespectfully on more than one occassion. It is unfortunate that customer service like this is allowed to continue. I guess I can talk to her boss but I am afraid that my mail might be sabotaged! I would never treat or talk to someone like this woman does!

RUDE customer service for DEWITT POSTAL SERVICE in DEWITT, MICHIGAN----I lost 8 mail boxes due to storms--DEC. 2013 /JAN. 2014-----MY MAIL WAS not delivered--I can go with that--for pic-up on my part. BUT, to be talk down to and insulted by whom ever answered the phone when I called---and treated like a second hand citizen by this POSTAL OFFICE--TERRIBLE. They would not help me---not give me any info--I called the ROAD COMMISSION--they came out fix the mail-box--gave me a new one---number 8 (didn't have to pay 4 this one or labor--$210.) That was for labor only---The month before this one! The ROAD COMMISSION told me to ask the POST OFFICE that brings my mail---"where can I relocate my mailbox so this does not keep happening. GOT KNOW ANSWERS/ NO NICE--GOT HANG-UP ON!

I cannot enter the site https:postalexperience.com/pos

Is there a law that requires customers to stay back 100 feet when the carrier is placing mail in a group of locked mail boxes installed on the side of the roadway?

Hello, I tried to use the USPS website to send an issue with my carrier to the appropriate person for review but the website is limited to selecting pre-determined format you are required to select from before you can actually access the page where you can write your comment, and that box limits us to 4000 characters. From an Ipad using the regular full site you can't access the button to send that comment. So after finally getting through several pages of pre selected topics, non of which were mine, and completing my under 4000 characters, I was unable to send. Is there a direct email address for Fort Mohave, Arizona Postmaster, or the Bullhead City, Arizona, Postmaster? My issue pertains to the carrier keeping my mail on his truck for a month where it was untraceable by USPS and I was repeatedly told I had no mail at my new address. Before I moved I had filled out the forms for the new home and contacted most of my regular mail senders and updated the address. I had to go into Fort Mohave, AZ, Post Office to get new keys for the box, which I did, and having presented ID and proof of living at the address, waited 7 days for my keys. I searched my previous address, went in to two local Post Office Branches in Arizona looking for my mail, and did online tracking of my packages which said they had been delivered to the new AZ address. But it took a month to discover the handler had everything in his truck.

I am VERY frustrated--I sent oranges to WI from AZ--was told the package was undeliverable--My daughter went to the post office in Sheboygan Falls WI she was told the address unable to read===excuse me==it was made on the computer, size 24 letters in bold print---my daughter was told the employee was on his way home. Check tomorrow, or it may be sent back to AZ---WHAT---customer service --in a pigs ear--

I am so sick and tired of the Plainview Post Office. They are the absolute worse. The line is out the door and all they have is two people. Where is everyone else. They have no respect for anyone and because I complained about them to a few people on line I got a very dirty look from this blonde illiterate. I gave her a dirty look back. We r paying their salaries so they should be exceptionally nice to us. There is never enough people helping out and they ALWAYS open the doors late. It is supposed to be opened at nine and they always open after nine. This is a very exclusive upscale neighborhood. We should not have to go through this by a bunch of people who are obviously not happy with their job.

Hello Sue,

Thank you for taking the time to contact our offices. The USPS Office of Inspector General investigates waste, theft, fraud and abuse within the Postal Service (USPS).

However, we suggest calling your local USPS Consumer Affairs at (631) 755-2850 to file a complaint and so they can begin to look into this matter for you.

I enjoyed a very nice verbal exchange and service at the Charles City, Iowa, US Post Office on Jan 21, 2015. The woman who waited on me, Sally, is like a mother in making sure everyone gets the service they need in a quick and professional manner. I have found this true of other counter help in this post office, as well. One time when a package I had mailed through this office was found laying in a Calif. post office, "undeliverable," they made contact for me and helped get it on it's way. I was so grateful, as it contained an electronic part for my potter's wheel. Let's just say, I don't mind taking them cookies.

I sent a package by priority mail on Tuesday, January 20,2015 from the Sherman Station in Mansfield, OH where the clerk was extremely helpful by telling me the best way to send my package at the best value. It was enclosed in a priority mail box and I was told it would arrive in Lakewood, CO on Thursday, January 22, 2015. The receipt with the tracking number 9114 9999 4423 8904 1474 85 verifies that the expected delivery was January 22, 2015 by priority mail 2-day delivery. I told our son and family to look for the package on January 22 and it actually arrived on Saturday, January 24, 2015. I don't understand when a receipt verifies the package should have been received January 22 and was only received January 24. Where is the confidence I should have with the USPS???? Mary in Mansfield, OH

How do you file a formal complaint against a postal employee? The website seems convoluted at best, making it as difficult to report employee misconduct. Just saying, Postmaster General. You all are Civil Servants. When an employee acts inapropriately, there should be an easy and secure way to report this employee misconduct. Your Hotline does not provide for this. A little help for a disabled American would be appreciated. See the above email.

Hello Randall,

Thank you for taking the time to notify our offices of this issue. The USPS Office of Inspector General investigates waste, theft, fraud and abuse within the Postal Service (USPS).

In a matter such as this, please file a complaint online at www.uspsoig.gov/form/new-complaint-form. By completing this form it will provide our offices with the critical information needed to look into this matter.

You have to write your congressman or senator and then hound them...or go through the media. Otherwise you will be told, " we don't investigate that" or "we don't have any authority over that" or "you can make a report, but it will immediately become inactive".

I filed a complaint about my postmaster. She investigated herself, said she spoke with me and apologized (when she did not), and then closed my case.

I am meeting with the press this week along with some of my neighbors. After that we are meeting with our elected officials.

I hope you have better luck!

A post office in 6401 el cajon in san diego never delivered my mail containing a check. When I called inquiring about whether it was in transit, I was told they attempted to deliver it but the tracking information online still says in transit. There was no slip indicating they attempted to deliver, when I mentioned this to the person on the phone I was told to 'stop being lazy and pick up my certified mail'. This is totally inappropriate and overall rude. When I went to the post office to pick it up the same day, none of the post office workers would tell me who their manager was. Very inefficient and unprofessional. So disappointing.

Hello Joyce,

Thank you for taking the time to notify our offices of this occurrence and we apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced.

The role of the USPS Office of Inspector General is to investigate waste, theft, fraud and abuse within the Postal Service (USPS). Unfortunately, this issue falls outside of the jurisdiction of this office.

However, please contact your local Postal Service Consumer Affairs Office at (858) 674-2670, so they can look further into this matter for you.

As well, if you still would like to file a complaint with our offices, you can do so on our hotline at www.uspsoig.gov/form/new-complaint-form and we can forward your issue to the appropriate department.

The South Lake Tahoe area has terrible delivery sorters. My route is the 12th St area and the Mail is delivered to the wrong addresses almost every day ! I have packages delivered to other addresses almost every time! I follow tracking and it will say delivered but not to me. I've had money lost and have had neighbors bring my mail all the time. I've filed complaints to no avail ! When ever I can I ask to have packages shipped by UPS ! The only people that are worse then the USPS here is the weatherman !

Customer Service Issue. I entered the Post Office located on 2385 Godby Road, College Park Georgia at approximately 1:49p.m., today to retrieve a certified parcel, and as I stood in this long line and finally made my way up to the counter, a postal employee named Ms. TYLER then informed me that I had to get in another line for parcel pickup. I then stated to her that why wasn't there wasn't a sign posted informing customers of this and she "looked at me and gave me a hard stare" and proceed to say "DON'T YOU SEE THAT LADY" (a couple of rows down,) and she was yelling at this point, and then she smirk at me.

I proceeded to ask for a supervisor (named "JAMES BILL" - that's exactly the information she gave me). After "JAMES BILL" and I conversed a little about it, i.e., the postal employee's "RUDE" attitude and especially the lack of a sign notifying incoming customer (through a visual display) that there was "a specific line" for certified/parcels pick ups, he causally shrugged his shoulders as if he really didn't care and that I was bothering him.

I then informed him that I would be filing this complaint. Still he was unaffected by the whole process and offered no real reason why his staff was "yelling at me" or that they failed to have a sign up.

My points are simple in that HEREIN is a clear portrayal of unprofessional/rude behavior by BOTH USPS employees towards a local customer and where no "REAL" effort was made to remedy a possible solution, i.e., neither an apology or a sign that says " FOR CERTIFIED/PARCEL PICK UPS ONLY!" This definitely would of prevented me from standing in a long line for "nothing", just to be told that I needed to go to another long line and wait again!

0 points for professionalism and customer service!

Thank you.

Charlene

Hello Charlene,

Thank you for taking the time to notify our offices of this occurrence and we apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced.

The role of the USPS Office of Inspector General is to investigate waste, theft, fraud and abuse within the Postal Service (USPS). Unfortunately, this issue falls outside of the jurisdiction of this office.

However, please contact your local Postal Service Consumer Affairs Office at (404) 765-7702 , so they can look further into this matter for you.

As well, if you still would like to file a complaint with our offices, you can do so on our hotline at www.uspsoig.gov/form/new-complaint-form and we can forward your issue to the appropriate department.

Why is it when you have issues with the postal service you call thier 1800 number for help and the system takes 10 minutes or more then it hangs up on you when all you realy want to do is talk to someone whos alive and breathing but the dam stupid computer system wont let you no matter what selection you chose no wonder the usps is being phased out even the computer system is a stupid piece of shit

1. I sent my son a package to Italy the week before Christmas, 2014.
2. The package was listed as undeliverable, so I requested the package be returned.
3. The package was sent back to the U.S. the last week of January, 2015.
4. The package arrived in New York customs, was then sent to Chicago.
5. Chicago sent it back to New York, and New York sent it back to Italy.
6. It then was sent back to New York , AGAIN.
7. New York sent it to Miami.
8. Miami sent it back to Italy, AGAIN!!!!!
I JUST WANT MY PACKAGE BACK.............................

I have called the 800-ASK-USPS as many times as I could without going crazy, with no resolve. They tell me they have no one that can put their hands on my package, I just have to wait until someone notices that they have screwed up royally and sent my package back to Italy instead of reading what the box says to do! My package has made the trip to Italy three times now, which I am sure has cost the USPS money to fly the plane to get it where it’s “not supposed to be”.

I have been told that I cannot file a claim until my case is closed, but they refuse to close my case until the package can no longer be tracked. CAN SOMEONE HELP ME WITH THIS? IS THERE A DEPARTMENT THAT CARES ENOUGH TO CARE? IS THERE SOMEONE THAT CAN ACTUALLY SAY THEY HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO PUT THEIR HANDS ON THE PACKAGE AND GET IT BACK TO ME?

I am so mad! We were gone 3-9-15 to 3-13-15 and had our mail put on hold. We filled out a card and on it were instructions that we would pick up the mail on 3-14-15. I go to pick it up, wait in line only to be told that it wasn't there. Then she asked if we called ahead to let them know when we were picking it up. I looked at her so dumb founded, and said no, we filled out a card. So she asked if I would like her to call the other post office that is conjunction with this one. I said yes please, she said no the mail is not there and that it must be being delivered with todays mail. So I go home and wait for todays mail only to receive just that days mail. It's Saturday and I don't have any mail that was suppose to be on hold. WHERE IS MY MAIL???? Now I have to wait until Monday to try and track down our mail. We always have mail every day!! 5 days worth of mail and no one knows where it is!!! What a bunch of BS! I am going to guess that the girl behind the counter didn't look in the right place or somebody stole our mail at the post office or someone delivered it to the wrong address!!! WHERE IS MY MAIL???? VERY, VERY MAD!!!!!!! What is the point of holding mail if you can't pick it up!! Someone is not doing there job right!!!! Patt

recently our mail was delivered to the wrong place. Luckily the man who received was an honest man and returned it to us, the mail contained new credit cards. What if it had fallen into the wrong hands?

I had my most disturbing postal experience this weekend. At 12:15 p.m. on Saturday, April 18, 2015 I entered the post office located at Charleston Town Center Mall in Charleston, WV for the purchase of postage stamps. To my surprise, I could hear what I would call rap music. As I approached the postal service employee I could hear him actively singing the lyrics..."so super bad...up and down..round and round...sooooo super bad"! At no point did the employee stop singing and jiving to his musical selection; just one breath to quote my costs of $19.60; no greeting, no thanks for my business, little acknowledgement of my presence. I was stunned. Is this appropriate on-the-job behavior for postal workers?

Having a problem getting service at the Mountain Pine, Arkansas Post Office. Could not get anyone to come to the front desk, could hear people in the back talking and laughing, but would not respond to the bell. In which, could not get stamps to mail off letters.5/04/2015

I was told today, May 29, that I could not pick up and use priority boxes at a postal store on US 1 in Port Saint Lucie, FL unless I intended to mail the packages at that location. They told me that they didn't need people using their boxes unless they were the ones that put postage on it. He also said that They would be losing money if I used the boxes and did not mail them there. I told him that I brought the packages back there to mail, but he still did not want me to take the boxes if I purchased postage on line. He said they did not need more damn Ebayers using their services without paying for them. He had never asked if I do EBay, apparently he just assumed that is what I would use them for. All of this occurred on the street in front of the store after he followed me outside yelling at me.
It was my understanding that the boxes are free, but apparently there is a condition associated with using the free
boxes. With the current financial status of the postal system, I thought we were being encouraged to use priority boxes when mailing items. I guess no one has told this so called post office. I certainly will never go back there and cost them money by using their services.

Worst experience of my life no wonder they are closing offices all over the place !!! I was appalled the the little girl in nebraska received my package through the postal service and after she opened it she had found that the statue of tinker bell was shattered in many pieces !!!! So much for trusting government services it's very disturbing to me that you have employees that don't give a s"!,t and postmaster told me oh well you should have insured I it !!!! B.S !!!! I trusted the PO to handle my package with care even though it was wrapped and packaged with care ! I just can't imagine why you have such incompetent and inconsiderate. Employees enrolled on your payroll I should not have to purchase insurance to cover your poor employee workmanship who has no pride in their job to see that my package arrives safely!! You continually raise your postage on everything that goes through your service and you have no problem doing that maybe screen your employees better ! And if your carrier seen the package marked fragile :glass and no insurance sticker doesn't give him the right treat it as trash !!!! Never again ill use united parcel post or fed ex next time. And believe me when I tell you that I spend hundreds of dollars each year sending gifts to my grand children !!! Yours truly ;VERY PISSED OFF customer!

I am disabled and have been trying for 2 hrs now to get thru online with my problem that they took my mailbox away cuz I was late. I had to rely on a ride. The woman was mean. I was crying and there were other patrons. She demanded 27.00$ which I don't have then said nope, nothing I can do for you, next. Here online after repeatedly stating problem, it comes back...no such address. I beg to differ. It's on my paperwork when I bought this home. I stated my address and get shut down. Pleas, please, please, help! I get no mail from my Drs, family, bills, etc. I'm at my wits end. Stress like this sets people back, you know? They used to be kind at the Frazier park PO.

Twice in forty-five years our mail person has been taken off our street. Since he left and during each time he was reassigned the service got to be sad. We never know when the mail will arrive.

If you go to see the Postmaster she is always unavailable.