• Reply to: Brainstorm Ideas Part 2   5 years 7 months ago

    How about if we concentrated our efforts on developing a manageable and sustainable delivery metwork and measured the performance of that network in a fair and accurate manner?
    I suppose you'll tell me that that is what EXFC measures and perhaps add - look how good our scores are? The plain and simple fact is that EXFC scores are essentially fraudulent, they deceive the public, they dishonor the intent of the public laws that create measurement standards and the attempts to distort them cost the Postal Service tens millions of dollars every year.
    A perfect example is an incident that happened last Saturday in Mid-Carolinas.
    A rural carrier was delayed in returning to the office by construction traffic. As a result the carrier missed dispatch. The carrier had a single tub of outgoing mail with 49 pieces in it. The PMR in the office was notified and eventually contacted the postmaster, who following District guidelines contacted her POOM. Because of the various delays the mail had to be driven 180 miles to the next distribution center. In the meantime the guiodelines in this District require the postmaster and the POOM to cinduct a walk through of the office to ensure that all other mail was properly dispatched. The situation was completely resolved by 3am.
    I suppose there are those that would argue that our service commitments are inviolable and therefore this involved dance was both necessary and justified. That's absolutely ridiculous and any reasonable person knows it. Hundreds of dollars were spent to advance 49 pieces of mail and the only reason was to avert a dreaded EXFC failure.
    Incidents like this one happen everyday throughout the system. We have personnel driving single pieces of mail miles to ensure delivery and ensure EXFC scores. Yes, we are here to provide service but the regimen surrounding EXFC is perverse and distorted. It does not result in realistic changes to procedures to build a better more efficient network; it results in a culture of rationalization and justification that cynically wastes resources to gin up performance scores.
    We spend millions of dollars and tremendous amounts of effort to monitor EXFC performance in ways that totally distort the intent of the governing statutes. Resources that ought to be devoted to developing and improving our network and practices are instead diverted to attempting to identify and predict where EXFC drops are being made and when. It's true that it is virtually impossible to identify individual collectors in the EXFC system and I've heard DM's say they wouldn't want to know if they could but the simple fact of the matter is that the entire administrative response to EXFC is designed to subvert the system rather than learn from the scores.

    The sad thing is that the OIG is willing to look the other way on this. The PRC is willing to accept "record breaking performance scores" regardless of the underlying lack of value in those scores. As an organization we have developed a perverse institutional culture with respect to measuring performance. Unless and until we break this culture we will never get a truly honest appraisal of our system and ultimately that is what has led and is leading to our downfall.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    The poll that begins this post leaves out the best answer. What if we asked our customer what they were trying to accomplish and then offered alternatives; no pressure, no scripts, no misdirection, just good solid information?
    Does anyone remember the scene from the old movie Miracle on 34th Street where Kris Kringle offers that a competitor may have the merchandise the customer wants at a better price? The end result is that customers flock to the original store based on its reputation for credibility and service. Naive? Perhaps but I've been doing that for thirty years and customers like me and they like my office. I think people are tired of marketing as a science of manipulation and extraction. As a consumer I want to be afforded the opportunity to explain my need and in return receive good basic information that allows me to make an informed choice. Sometimes that may mean a very simple transaction where I tell you what I want and you give me exactly that. Sometimes it means I want more information. It takes attention and discretion for a sales associate to evaluate a transaction and provide just the right amount of information.
    We don't teach or encourage that skill. Instead we create a transaction based on an adversarial relationship. You, the customer, have revenue and we want as much of it in each individual transaction as we can get. Most of our marketing efforts are based on coercion and extraction - subtle but that really is the end result.
    I work in a small rural post office. My sales opportunities and my relationships with my customers are different than if I worked in a larger urban office. Retail Standardization tells me that nothing but targeted marketing material may displayed on the walls of my post office. So I removed the art work from the local school and the pictures of the kids that come in the office. The thing is, people liked that stuff. They come to my office because there is a sense of credibility and trust. They come when UPS or Fedex may be cheaper or more efficient because they like the relationship we have.
    These are the same people who consistently give us high grades in polling, the people whose positive opinions influence decision makers when they look at what we are and what we should be. In the age of the internet these people's opinions are not just subsumed by the isolation of a small rural community. Their opinions can be viral and create positive attitudes they transfer across the demographic spectrum.
    Now not every facility can do the things I can. There are places where it isn't practical. There are places where the culture doesn't value it as it does in my community. The problem is that because of our top down autocratic management and because of our rigid evaluating systems we cannot exercise the kind of flexibility that utilizes our skills and experience. We design programs like Carrier Connect with just this sort of goal in mind but because they become so bureaucratized they lose effectiveness.
    Our institutional blindness is what's killing us.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    The USPS is TOO SLOW TO CHANGE. If I were the Postmaster General, here is the three-point TRANSFORMATION I would begin right now. Right now, because it will take some time. Listen to the logic. A) Delivery Units. Wherever possible, (like where there exists a MAJOR TOWN OR CITY SURROUNDED BY SEVERAL SMALLER ONES), Delivery Units should be EXCISED from traditional Post Offices and be consolidated into a centralized Delivery Unit serving several towns, that incorporates every delivery function of those sovereign towns. WHY? Because our mail is already processed in ANOTHER CENTRAL LOCATION and that processed mail (DPS) is trucked to several tems of thousands of locations. What a waste! The simple truth is: If the truck serving several towns is at location (A) now, it isn't in locations (b), (C), (D), (E),....you get the point. And the point is....get the mail to the Hive so the Bees can deliver it, spread out and deliver it. All at once. SECOND "TRANSFORMATION GOAL": Almost without exception, every Post Office in the Nation was built and located in areas that ONCE WERE the focal point of town, but are no longer. They are antiquated facilities, poorly insulated, in need of repair, that are not handicap accessible or located WHERE COMMERCE IS CONDUCTED in America. Soooooooo-----CLOSE THEM, AND SELL THEM OFF. As you see from "Suggestion A", there are no carriers or delivery services there anymore, and rightly so. So what to do? STOP MAKING PEOPLE COME TO YOU, AND INSTEAD GO WHERE THE PEOPLE ARE!!! And where is that? Wal-Mart. The Main Grocery Store Shopping Center. (Last time I checked, every human needs to go food shopping at least twice a week if they like fresh produce and meat). So ALL RETAIL OPERATIONS NEED TO BE LOCATED INSIDE OF, OR ADJACENT TO, THESE AREAS. Go into any Shop-Rite, or Wal-Mart. See that Bank? Why are they there? (And open 7-days a week!) Because they make money. And they generate shoppers. WalMart likes banks because people need money to buy stuff (DUD!). Now picture this: 1) The way it is: You go to WalMart and buy a gift card and mail it. Great. The USPS gets 44-cents. People don't really want to do that, but what else are they to do? Christmas time. Go to the store. Buy a personalized gift. Lug it home. Wrap it. Lug it to the out-of-the-way Post Office. Wait in line. (Get parking ticket while waiting). Box it. Mail it. OOOOH YEAH, LIKE I'm DOING THAT! NOT! I go for the gift card. My Idea: 2) Locate Postal Retail Outlets INSIDE OF, OR ADJACENT TO major shopping centers. NOW, you go to "WalMart", buy that personaized gift, have it wrapped at the WalMart Customer Service Deask, then take it to the Postal Counter, Box it, Ship it, AND YOU GO HOME, NOTHING TO LUG AROUND! Instead of getting 44-cents postage for the gift card, you ger $8 BUCKS for the Priority postage! You might get more! Other products....which leads me to C): The USPS is closing hundreds of facilities. It's no exaggeration to say we have excess capacity. BUT WE ALREADY HAVE THE BEST DISTRIBUTION SERVICE THE WORLD! Sooooooo, why should "Midnight Velvet", "Collectibles Inc", Cabrellas or ANY OTHER MANUFACTURER or DISTRIBUTOR have to rely on these Clearing Houses that charge "Midnight Velvet" $4 to mail a $2 parcel, just because that Clearing House has the space to store the merchandise? WE HAVE THAT SPACE! We could easily cut out that middle-man, get the stuff that's ordered delivered fast, and by saving the manufacturer money increase their profit while simultaniously cornering the parcel post market by taking it away from UPS and FedEx. THIS IS SO SIMPLE THAT I CANNOT BELIEVE NOBODY HAS THOUGHT OF IT! We already have the facilities in place and Lord knows we have the people to do the job. SO NOWGO....GO GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE! DO IT. And stop taking so long. Nero is fiddling while Rome burs. Time for Nero to take a hike!

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    i have customers come to my window with flat rate express envelopes that are going to a local address.i explain that the flat rate is 17.50 but if they put the whole envelope in a tyback express envelope it is only 13.05.i believe you should treat the customer how you would want to be treated.i would want someone to save me 4.45.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    How do you convince people to start using the basics, like stamps. Well, how much does someone pay to pay a bill online. Hmmm, my water bill costs $3.00 to pay online. Would only cost $.44 if I mailed it. How much does it cost to pay a credit card online? Well, $7.95 if I use my credit card, or $9.95 if I use my bank account. These are costs that add up each month to the consumer. Education is needed to show how postal products can save customers money.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    As a window clerk, I can tell you that the 2 pages of dialogue that we are required to repeat to every customer is not only a waste of time, but makes us look like idiots. I work with a clerk that goes exactly by the book every customer, and I guarantee that she is not up-selling anymore than me. Our there any studies that show managements robotic dialogue is selling more products? Its hard to be friendly and up-sell when you have to repeat the exact words over and over and over again. It's much better to identify what the customer may want or need and try to sell that product, rather than watch their eyes glaze over and quit listening because they hear the same thing again and again. Every clerk, supervisor, and manager I talk to knows its a waste of time, but have no choice but to enforce it. Why are we spending millions of dollars on this program when we are so deeply in debt? Why aren't we allowed to use common sense with our customers?

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    The Postal Service is not a fast food restaurant yet "Upselling" can be positive for the consumer as well as the agency if handled in the proper manner. The problem with the Postal Service is that it does not want to permit it's employees sufficient autonomy when doing their jobs. A SSA (retail window clerk) usually sees the same customers repeatedly. The SSA knows who is most familiar with our services. The SSA needs flexibility to conduct the job properly. The SSA should decide what inquiries and suggestions need to be made based upon his/her experience and not be expected to follow a script.

  • Reply to: Preventing Workers’ Compensation Fraud   5 years 7 months ago
  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    I have made contact with Consumer Affairs Representative
    U. S. Postal Service, Rio Grande District
    Things are showing promise. I hate to be one that causes problems, though I am only fighting for what is right. This forum gives me a voice. I believe I am being heard...things are now moving forward..Thanks

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    USPS has lost a $500 package with tracking and insurance. I have been trying to get this resolved since May. I have contacted USPS, Post Master General, every Politician I can find. Why does the Government make it so difficult to do what is right! I lost a $500 order, had my funds held by customer (another $500) and had to send another $500 out to satisfy customer, before they would release my funds. $1500 out of my pocket. It was tracked, they can't find it. It was insured, but they won't refund! The trust in USPS and my local Politicians are failing. They all send their letters for endorsement and vote, but not willing to help those in need. How does one person make it right?

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    The post office should bring back "pack and ship"!

    The post office should have notary services.

    The post office should have larger flat rate priority boxes.

  • Reply to: Brainstorm Ideas to Help the Postal Service   5 years 7 months ago

    Why are we still paying the mystery shopper program?? If we are serious about saving money, cut it out now! Why do we still have cable TV on the TV in our breakroom? Get real. If it wasn't there, some people would have to find a new place to hand out all day. If my spouse or I lost our job, the first thing to go would be the cable bill, the computer bill and so forth, but not this nut house. Let's make the employees pay more for health care, cut there wages. If I could see realistic cuts being made elsewhere, I would be open to some givebacks, but we're still playing mystery shopper. And watching Cable.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    What happened to honesty is the best policy? There is no reason window clerks need to recite certain options. Instead, ask the customer what they want to do, then offer them the best service to fit their needs. Those clerks have to be tired of reciting the same thing over and over. You can tell they don't put any meaning into what they recite. If the staffing was adequate, there would be no complaints about long lines and swearing they will go somewhere else to send a package. Bring back customer service, that's where it needs to start to get back some of the respect that has been lost over the years from customers. It takes no time to drive away customers, but it will take a long time to get them back.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    i am surprised that nobody has mentioned the much criticized mystery shopper program, use of this program has been challenged not only by workers but by management. it is a huge waste of money.

    but how about this? staff the window so people can actually enjoy their trip to the post office. in my experience working at the window, it was hard enough to keep people moving, let alone having to harass them about shipping options. these days all people want is the cheapest option, not a 20 dollar overnight option, it sucks but thats the way it is. by the time people wait in line for 20 minutes because of no staff, the only thing they want to do is ship their package and leave, they don't want to be asked 20 questions.
    let each window clerk serve the people in their own way, we had some great window clerks that worked their butts off, but had management standing over them constantly, why when people can up sell without harassment do you force them to stick to an annoying and detrimental speech?

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    Well stated Maggie!! You're right on the money. There's nothing wrong with offering the premier services, but our employees should NOT be required to hide the fact that less expensive options exist.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    The poll makes the choices too difficult in that there really should be a combination of all choices. Certainly, the USPS should offer the most appropriate products and services to customers, often, customers don't know what those products and services are and consulting or "up selling" may be appropriate.

    The flat rate boxes are a great idea except that it is still often cheaper for customers to ship (with USPS or the competition) using ordinary packaging and standard rates. Flat rate boxes should be step priced so that, for example, up to 10 lbs is one fixed rate, 11-30 lbs is another rate, and 30+ pays the most. This still saves the majority of customers from having to calculate precise weight, making it easier to ship and making pricing more competitive. To provide comparable service to that of the competition, All packages should have a tracking bar code and it should be included in the shipping cost. Signature confirmation could still be extra, of course, but this would serve the purpose of improving the USPS's scanning percentage - something management always points to as a reason they can't get the business from major shippers like Amazon. Carriers wouldn't have to watch for which packages need to be scanned because they all do - and its an added value for customers.

    USPS should consider dropping parcel post altogether and lowering prices slightly for first class and priority parcels - this could drive increased volume and revenue in that area while streamlining the mail flow by having fewer routing options.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    The USPS must first regain the trust of the American consumer. Just like the person in a preceeding comment and their missing package. You have to remember it's things like that people remember. Customer service has to be goal #1, before any thing else. Otherwise all the other efforts won't much matter
    Get people OUT of management that don't have a clue in how to communicate with other people, esp. the public. The USPS must ALWAYS give the impression that they care. That is not always the case. Remove window clerks that are rude!
    Ask the customers what THEY want! It doesn't matter what we THINK they want. If the USPS starts giving the public the impression they are going to give the best service possible for whatever we sell, whether it be service or merchandise, the USPS will make tons of money! But it has to be action and NOT just words or the whole process will be futile.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    This survey is missing something VERY important...this option:

    The Postal Service should attempt to meet the basic needs of the customer in the most cost-effective manner possible, but apprise them of RELATED products/services that offer an increased level of performance.

    If an organization doesn't understand upselling or cross-selling, it has no business diversifying. And I can't even begin to imagine a clerk that either speaks broken english, or one that's been browbeat by management, trying to explain to a customer how voice mail works on a cell phone. I envision an exercise in futility.

    The culture of distrust in the Postal Service MUST change in order for this organization to diversify and conduct itself more like a business, than a government entity mired in a process over results, one-size-fits-all mentality.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    Another ween another question from the OIG, it seems even you guys could find ansewrs to your questions, please stop asking questions, we all know what's wrong, we should fix the problems not just asking usless questions.

    H'lima

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    The Postal Service should promote it's more profitable products. Other businesses do not offer every size to every customer - McDonalds employees are instructed to ask the customer if they would like "large" - they don't OFFER small & medium. If a customer wants those other sizes - they are on the menu. Just like USPS, whose "other sizes" are on the menu over the clerks heads. It is not USPS responsibility to educate every customer on the slower, less desirable services.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    McDonald's offers the customer the option to "upsize". They don't tell their employees not to let the customer know that they sell smaller sizes, that the least expensive option can only be sold if the customer (who may not know it exists) specifically asks for it. Does the Postal Service really want to be "like any other retailer"? Or does it want to be better?

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    They should be canvasing website who only offer UPS as a shipping option and sell the flat rate shipping boxes deal to them. Its in the spirit of competition and they should get out there and solicit business. They could also offer email birthday cards and holiday cards. They could also offer someone the opportunity to fax letters to from an east coast post office to a west coast post office and have it delivered next day. Its not that hard to come up with ideas to increase revenue. They could also get into the copy and fax business. How come the experts can not come up with these ideas?

  • Reply to: Will Electronic Reader Technology Affect the Postal Service?   5 years 7 months ago

    Uhhhh...like I said, why not change what USPS does to adapt. Your response just supports what I said. Being a big monopoly isnt in the equation. Simply offering the services the public needs and will use IS. I wonder how well companies like PAGE NET , you know, they sold pagers...I wonder what they look like today when you can get a no contract camera phone for about twenty dollars. business as usual, no matter how you try to hide it with number crunching and reports is nonsense.

    Try telling people c'mon, please dont drive your cars, ride our horses...you used to...and we have a lot of them...jobs depend on it , okay friends?

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    the postal service should start changing their lobbies to a shipping store. like fedex and ups has. the postal service must compete with the competion.also i am a postal employee and i see the waste of money by management daily. manegement has no people skills. the service would run more efficient if their were educated management.also the service needs to come up with an incentive to the eligable retirees.also the service has too many management titles. of course i mean too top heavy in management with high salaries.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 7 months ago

    I ship through USPS Click and Ship. A great program until they lose a package. I have been trying to be refuned for four months on a lost package with tracking and insurance. I am getting no help. Who can help the little guy? $500 out with no help!

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