From the consumer’s perspective, the best possible result of calling customer service is a short conversation that resolves the issue. From a business’s standpoint, preventing that call in the first place is the ultimate goal.

Of course, no product or service is perfect, so customer service will always be a part of a business model. Improving that experience is key to satisfying and retaining customers. The goal, it seems, would be to make customer service efficient and responsive.

In our just-released white paper, we look at ways the U.S. Postal Service could boost customer satisfaction by improving its customer care centers (CCCs). In fiscal year 2017, these call centers handled nearly 61 million calls. Of that total, 40 million callers used the automated system known as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and didn’t proceed to a customer service agent.

Our review of customer survey responses found only 60 percent of IVR users were satisfied with the experience. A key complaint was having to repeat the options or selections on the automated system.

Of the callers directed to a customer service agent, 8 million disconnected before they got to speak to an agent and only 11.5 million successfully got through, our research found. While customers praised agents once they eventually spoke to them, a third were not satisfied with the overall experience. Among the complaints were long wait times and agents’ inability to solve the problem.

We analyzed customer surveys and interviewed postal officials and CCC agents to generate ways the Postal Service could improve the customer experience. Some of our ideas include:

  • Fix underlying issues that drive people to call in the first place. For example, improving scan accuracy would likely decrease the number of calls about domestic tracking issues around packages.
  • Make it easier for customers to help themselves with more robust, online self-service options.
  • Keep it simple for customers. If they do have to turn to CCCs, improve the automated system they first encounter to decrease frustration. If they need to speak to an agent, shorten the waiting time or offer a call-back option.
  • Improve agents’ abilities to solve problems on the spot by giving them tools — and organizational support — they need.

Our paper also notes that call volume is likely to increase with parcel growth. Without fixes to the current system, wait times and other problems could get worse.

Have you received exceptional service from a call center recently? What made that service stand out?

Comments (16)

We welcome your comments related to the topic on this page. Complaints about the Postal Service, including lost, stolen or mishandled mail, that are unrelated to the content on this page, will not be posted. Please visit the Contact Us page for information on where to file formal complaints with our agency or the Postal Service.

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  • anon

    Excellent website you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article? I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get advice from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thank you!

    Mar 08, 2019
  • anon

    yall are wack. been on hold for 1hr and 10 mins when my est wait time was supposedly MAX 1 hr and 7 mins. i hope amazon runs yall out of business.

    Feb 20, 2019
  • anon

    As another page on this blog notes, the CCC cannot possibly handle the actual call volume coming in with human operators. To that end, the automated call system is designed to be a complicated maze which discourages customers with real problems from speaking to real operators who have a better chance of actually helping them. It's not surprising that nearly half of all callers noted above disconnected before they got to an agent - actually getting to an agent is made intentionally difficult and people give up out of frustration. The system is a disgrace.

    Feb 11, 2019
  • anon

    But should remark on few general things, The site style is perfect, the articles is really nice : D.

    Oct 13, 2018
  • anon

    Your disclaimer say's it all. If you use the Contact Us page, it directs the person back to the USPS System which does not work. USPS Tracking does not work. The 1-800-275-8777 does not work. USPS Chat Line does not work. EMail where u can expect a reply normally within one hour does not work. It appears your Blog and that of the USPS is just one Bureaucratic Merry Go Round. I am glad we have FEDEX and UPS to rely on.

    Sep 13, 2018
  • anon

    Our business address was changed due to husbands ill health, they will only forward the mail with the business name on it, but not the bosses name (my hubby). So we have no clue what important mail is being returned to senders. I don't understand why they can't deliver all the mail sent to our address of 43 years to the new address, regardless of whether it is addressed to the business name or the bosses name. Very important mail to not being forwarded. I could gladly contact each company myself, but I never get that mail, it is returned to senders.

    Sep 11, 2018
  • anon

    you guys are horrible you make people wait on hold for hours and no one answers , why don't you have a call back service like most non-monopoly companies

    Sep 01, 2018
  • anon

    You do not want to answer any ones questions about their packages. Many was going to Fla where I live, but no you have send it to Kansas and now to CHICAGO IL INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION CENTER. What in hell are your people doing, do they not know where Fla is? Someone needs to lose their job over this and I want my package or I'm going to see a lawyer about stolen mail.

    Aug 30, 2018
  • anon

    Absolute worst encounter with a telephone operating system EVER! took me in circles and for about 10 minutes, and then I finally pressed a "random" button (to where I do not know" and I was told my wait would be 38-42 minutes.

    Aug 29, 2018
  • anon

    I have another home that is 4 hours away that I had lost my key to my box that is located at the condo's complex. My children are living there while in college. I have been calling the local USPS for that area for over a week. Finally day 5 of calling I get someone on the phone and I am told that I will have to come in person (over 4 hours away) to fill out a form and show proof of ownership to have new keys made for my box. $25 fee (no problem). However, they are real busy and may take 2-3 weeks at minimum to get new keys. Terrible customer service! So I call this 800 number for USPS Customer Care. Stay on hold for over an hour and all they can say is you have to go in person to the USPS that handles that area's mail. Really...I can't even go to my local post office and initiate the paperwork and prove my ownership to get the process started. WOW this is some customer service.

    Aug 28, 2018
  • anon

    I've been on hold for 1 hour and 45min. This is absolutely ridiculous!!

    Aug 27, 2018
  • anon

    Does the below seem logical?? The package had to go another 30 miles for delivery but the USPS decides to send my package from Norfolk, VA to Atlanta, GA. Aug 26, 2018 21:24pm Arrived at USPS Regional Origin Facility ATLANTA GA DISTRIBUTION CENTER Aug 26, 2018 00:00am In Transit, Arriving On Time Aug 24, 2018 21:57pm Arrived at USPS Regional Facility NORFOLK VA DISTRIBUTION CENTER Aug 24, 2018 19:58pm Departed USPS Regional Facility RICHMOND VA DISTRIBUTION CENTER Doesn't the USPS just give you a WARM and FUZZY//

    Aug 27, 2018
  • anon

    8-25-18 Good Afternoon: I am in Michigan, sent an Express Mail package to my son in Brooklyn on 8-22-18. Today is 8-25-18, and he still has not received the package. I received a refund from my local post office because it was not delivered by 12pm the next day. The tracking information says it was received at the Brooklyn post office on Broadway on 8-23-18 at 9:51 am and sorted and out for delivery at 10:56 am, but it was never delivered. My local office says it was given to the wrong carrier and was brought back to the station. It has been sitting there ever since. Last status says waiting delivery scan at 12:56 am am on 8-24-18. It is not 1:18 pm on 8-25-18. I have not been able to reach anyone by phone. The phone and FAX at the Broadway Station appear to be off the hook and no one has answered the 800 number after being on hold for an hour. This is so unacceptable and extremely bad business practice! My son needs his package ASAP. It contains his head shots and he has very important auditions on Monday morning. Someone needs to get the package to him!!! This postal branch has very, very bad reviews. Why are they still open? Why hasn't anything been done to fix the poor customer service. Reading the review comments this has been going on for a long time. Need to hear from someone that can address this problem immediately or I will resort to other measures as in getting the media involved. This should not be happening. Wanda Dill-Reese

    Aug 25, 2018
  • anon

    The issue with the Care Center volume is complicated and varies based on the type of item being tracked. In some cases Mail Processing isn't processing the mail timely. Carriers aren't delivering packages as scheduled or timely and that amounts to around 65% of the phone calls. The other part is that the Care Centers aren't staffed to complement due to a lack of employee resources in each (Care Center) bid cluster which equates to being understaffed. Focusing on Processing facilities staying current with mail volume and Carriers delivering mail the same day it's received would help. CCC's can't hire PSE's because LDC 70 is only authorized to have EAS employees or full time regulars. Hiring PTF Clerks for the Care Centers would alleviate some wait time and provide the CCC's with some much needed flexibility.

    Aug 22, 2018
  • anon

    Well, since my local post office has not been answering their phone for over an hour and their message says "Sorry, memory is full. Please try again later", indicating that no one is going to answer the phone anyhow, only computers; and I'm currently on hold with the 800#'s customer service with an expected wait time of "between 1 hour and 20 minutes and 1 hour and 30 minutes", I would say that your efforts to improve customer service and call centers are abysmal at best. --And now multiple attempts to post a comment have failed. --I am livid.

    Aug 22, 2018
  • anon

    Hello, Stephanie. Thank you for your comments. We read all blog comments and approve them before they are made public to ensure they adhere to our comment policy. To address your comment, you can also file a complaint with the Postal Service directly at Thank you for your patience.

    Aug 22, 2018

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