• Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 9 months ago

    Mary, I am trying to show that the script we follow does not work. Us clerks can sell more if we are given the freedom to read are customers and up-sell the products they may need. I sell more express than the other clerks because I can identify the customer that could benefit from this service. If we go by the script no one pays attention to what your saying because it sounds so mechanical. Because I don't agree with managements ignorant policy on this doesn't mean I should quit my job! Management needs to listen to us employees on the floor instead of making decisions far removed from what goes on in the real world.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 9 months ago

    I believe that in today's economical tough times that it is time to consider suspending mystery shopper program. Too much money is being wasted on this program and the basic question remains are the costs of this program delivering the revenue results that are being sought. Is this program paying for itself or is something we have always done? Temporary suspend the program and see what happens to the revenue. It might remain unchanged and the cost savings would be runnning this program. Empower the employees to come up with creative ways to drive the revenue. Nothing more disconcerning then sitting on a two hour telecon because our office has failed a mystery shop. We can't get the employees to buy in a program no one believes in.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 9 months ago

    While we run amuck in the publicized woes of the Postal Service’s alleged financial crisis, we seem to have lost focus on the reason for its existence.

    The Postal Service is obligated to provide Universal service to the American public including remote and rural locales. If this means that it cannot turn a profit, so be it. The Postal Service is not a privately owned enterprise nor should it be. It was designed so that every individual within these United States could receive mail! Don’t let the capitalistic arguments of profit, profit, profit!!! steer us away from this fundamental ideal.
    Consider that Fed Ex and UPS are private corporations which need to meet operating costs and turn a profit to remain in business. The federally owned Postal Service at best should only be required to maintain its operational costs to do the same.

  • Reply to: Will Electronic Reader Technology Affect the Postal Service?   5 years 9 months ago

    Perfectly on point.
    Many of the ideas offered simply don't fit into our regulatory context. At some point the survival of the organization lays solidly in the hands of our regulators and Congress. Given the parameters of PAEA most of what the organization can do on its own simply glosses around the edges.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 9 months ago

    but.....the SSA will never know if the same repeat customer is a "Mystery Shopper."

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 9 months ago

    If you feel that you look like an idiot with the up sell approach, then quit and get a different job with another company!!!!

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 9 months ago

    USPS average revenue per piece is lower for three main reasons. First, USPS’s pieces are lighter on average than UPS’s and FedEx’s. Second, many USPS pieces are drop-shipped close to destination (e.g., approx. 200 million DDU parcels). Third, the USPS has a low share of the high-priced overnight market.

    The pound analysis is faulty. Perhaps it’s around $1 per pound, though it may be more. But that’s an average derived from a cost per cubic foot, which is the main way FedEx charges for Priority Mail air transportation. So, the USPS pays FedEx about the same for a 6-pound flat-rate box as for, say, a 1-pound flat-rate box.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 9 months ago

    As always, USPS, someone, decides square peg will fit in round hole and has the enormous power to try to make it work, and that's that. It doesn't work. I have never, ever bought a doughnut because the cute Brazilian girl asked, as she is forced to do; never. This dumb initiative has ruined window clerks' jobs for good.
    There is no sales creativity in this robotic mandate whatsoever. It kills all initiative and feeling of personal accomplishment, already in very short supply in this job. I once led our District by a wide margin, personally, selling Black History comm. sets, $19.95 I think at a whack. Know why? I was in a heavily black area and felt like doing it for the sense of accomplishment. Every time someone wanted "interesting" stamps, I pulled out the semi-postal sheets with the birds and animals on them, gathering dust everywhere. Sold all of them. I put up small displays of new stamps. Sold all the ugly Buck. Fuller ones to the geeks who thought they were cool. You have crushed and in many formal ways forbidden such stuff. No one cares anymore. I know people with 25 years on this window job who ask me every time I see them if there are jobs at the plant, that's how disgusted they are

  • Reply to: Brainstorm Ideas to Help the Postal Service   5 years 9 months ago

    Very Very well said. The Disney Institute teaches exactly what you are talking about. The front line employees must be heard and must be rewarded for good work. The post office talks the talk but doesn't walk the talk!

  • Reply to: Brainstorm Ideas Part 2   5 years 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 months ago
  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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.

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