August 20, 2018 (RARC-WP-18-012)

  • While customers were satisfied with Customer Care Center (CCC) agents, one in three was not satisfied with the overall experience.
  • The Postal Service cannot handle current CCC call volume, a problem that could worsen with parcel growth.
  • Reducing wait times and giving agents better tools, training, and organizational support will empower them to resolve customer issues and improve customer satisfaction.

Trying to track a package? Need to schedule a redelivery? You can do both at USPS.com. But if you prefer to get the information by phone, or you have a more complex issue that you need to discuss, you are not alone. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, more than 60 million people called 1-800-ASK-USPS or other postal customer service numbers. The majority used the automated system to seek information, but 19 million callers attempted to speak to a customer service agent. Of those, only 11.5 million successfully reached one, waiting on average more than 13 minutes.

We examined the customer experiences associated with the Postal Service’s Customer Care Centers (CCCs). We found four ways USPS could improve the customer experience: preventing calls with better information and fixing underlying issues; decreasing customer effort when calling the CCCs; shortening the wait to speak to an agent; and improving the ability of agents to solve problems on the spot. We also identified a business arrangement that could affect the overall customer experience.

What the OIG Recommended

We recommended management:

  • Evaluate whether efforts to make package tracking messages more customer friendly are reducing unnecessary calls to the CCCs.
  • Expand use of call back technology to reduce customer wait times on hold and abandoned calls.
  • Develop and implement a CCC staffing plan to decrease customer wait time to speak to an agent.
  • Establish a cross-organizational mechanism to keep CCC staff aware of and trained on product changes that might lead to customer calls.

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Comments (86)

  • anon

    I can not say enough good things about USPS when everything is working correctly. But when things go wrong, that is another story. Twice now I have items that cost close to $100 via eBay disappear. Tracking notice comes in via email the "package was delivered"; while I was home with the front door opened.. waiting for "out for delivery"; the message says delivered and it was NOT delivered. The on line tracking information; now that I am investigating; is wrong and misleading and incomplete compared to the tracking information the Post office has which tells a different story. The item was put on the wrong truck, "delivered" and never seen again.

    Aug 09, 2019
  • anon

    Priority Mail through GPS Tracking is a must for all Post offices other wise Post Offices are not in a position to track actual delivery though status says as 'Delivered' which is absolutely incorrect and it should not change the status until and unless is actually delivered.

    Aug 08, 2019
  • anon

    * Horrifying service* United States Postal Service you cannot be surprised when your revenue is going down when you have customer service such that it is today. The service I received from your customer service center definitely needs to be addressed. In order to be successful when dealing with customer service issues especially when the customer is upset you have to get customer service agents to be a bit more empathetic to the customer . The agent I had today seemed as if she was reading from a three ring binder and she did not care at all that Hass to change if you’re going to be successful. It is clear to me why the United States Postal Service is losing revenue is because the general public doesn’t want to deal with this type of attitude .

    Aug 04, 2019
  • anon

    Just terrible. If you can manage to make your way through the complex phone tree and speak to someone, be prepared to explain yourself as if you're speaking to a 4 year old. USPS Customer Service is very frustrating. The agents exhibit a lack of knowledge for their own systems. You'll get bounced between departments by the time they can figure out who can help.

    Jun 13, 2019
  • anon

    Also I never get the option for call back or even to reach a live agent???

    May 23, 2019
  • anon

    Tried to call usps and could not get through without a tracking number and I had a question for help :/

    May 23, 2019
  • anon

    I am at my wits end here with USPS customer service. I have complained multiple times regarding the sheer ineptitude of the mail carriers in my area and all I ever get is either an automated response saying that my complaints are forwarded to the 'appropriate' department, etc. or calls from my local post office saying that there is nothing they could do at their end, mail or packages were deliverered (when it was not) etc. This is highly unacceptable! You need to hire people who CAN ACTUALLY READ instead of Jo Schmo with no IQ whatsoever from off the streets. I live in an apartment building that consists of 500 apartments and our mail is CONSTANTLY misdelivered by whoever USPS chooes to send that day which just happens to be an obviously illiterate person. We no longer have a specifically assigned carrier and our carrier is different each day. Too many times I have had MY MAIL kept by other residents in my building for MONTHS either due to people being on vacation or just plain lazy/dishonest. Also cartons of undelivered mall would frequently be left out in the open in my building's mailroom for ANYONE walking in to steal!! I am getting beyond frustrated here since I can think of no other route to remedy this since USPS REFUSES to listen to my complaints or even ADMIT to any wrong doing on their part. Is it too much to ask for someone to WHO CAN ACTUALLY READ to deliver my mail and packages correctly?!!

    May 20, 2019
  • anon

    I have been working in this industry for quite some time. To have been hung-up on by a USPS Call Center Representative is absolutely uncalled for. I will be documenting each and every name that I am given whenever I have to deal with USPS "Customer Care" Unprofessional, Rude, Untrained and lazy staff. Shame on you USPS. I opened a claim 6 days ago, was told that I would hear back within 2-3 business days but USPS staff member, then when I FINALLY got a call back 6 DAYS LATER!! The person that "helped" me was incredibly rude, pushy and hung up on me when I asked simple questions about the delay, and ETA of the package being sent to the correct address after USPS screwed up the delivery. This is the 10th package I have dealt with in a WEEK that this has happened with. GET IT TOGETHER USPS!!!

    May 16, 2019
  • anon

    Hello, Abigail. Thank you for your comment, If your issue has not yet been resolved by the USPS Office of Consumer Affairs, please file a complaint with our Hotline. You can access the online complaint form at uspsoig.gov/form/file-online-complaint. This will allow us to look into the matter for you.

    May 17, 2019
  • anon

    Hi ... I’m really disappointed... for usps .. service... they’ve gave me the updates delivery in 04/05 /2019 ... before that they said my package is in Jamaica... since then they just ... responded... my package is in the way .... no other information about it..please help me... with this issue. Thank you

    May 13, 2019
  • anon

    I tried to ship an antique flintlock today at Winterville NC and was rudely turned away with no options. The man whom I didn't catch his name, said they couldn't ship it at ALL unless I was licensed to sell firearms and did not want to hear anything I had to say. He told me to go to UPS. According to USPS rules listed on your website, I can ship out a flintlock without being an FFL dealer. The state law states the same thing. I was completely denied service and they did not even want to look up my options because the only thing they saw was a GUN and complications involved in taking the time to help. Unacceptable!

    May 10, 2019
  • anon

    The incompetence of the USPS has reached the pandemic stage. I own a business in our small town, and nearly every week we have issues related to customer and vendor mail not reaching its destination, orders being lost by the postal service, or (my favorite and most frequent issue), packages showing they are out on delivery to us and then receiving notification that the postal carrier attempted delivery but could not get to the door, driveway etc...which is patently false. Last week I walked into the local post office to find out where my "undeliverable" package was, and it turns out they had put it on the wrong mail truck. Told me they would deliver it after hours that evening. They did not. Got it later the next day. Same story today. I have filed multiple online complaints, to no avail. I have instructed my employees to avoid any service "offered" by the USPS unless it is truly a last resort. We have zero issues with UPS, Fedex, and some smaller shippers. We are even moving our customers to email instead of mailing invoices. There is NO accountability in this branch of the government. If this were a private company it would be bankrupt and long gone by now.

    Apr 22, 2019
  • anon

    I have a package bouncing around different Post Offices in my region. Very frustrating. Tried the support #s to no avail. Final found a workaround to actually talk to a real person, WAIT TIME 1 [ONE] HOUR. Essentially the USPS is unreachable!

    Apr 06, 2019
  • anon

    Automated voice system is the worst that I've ever used. It cannot understand letter "e" and keeps thinking it is "i", so I cannot even type in my redelivery number and it takes forever to reach the customer service. The reason why I need to use this stupid system in the first place is that USPS is refusing to do anything to redeliver the package after I made a redelivery request for three days. They left no notice and all it says is that I requested redelivery but in fact, it is doing absolutely nothing to redeliver the package. I hate to say this but I never had any experiences like this with UPS or FEDEX. USPS literally has the worst service in every criteria when it comes to delivery sercice quality. I know I shouldn't expect the same quality as UPS or FedEx, but their service is just below the lowest expectation.

    Apr 04, 2019
  • anon

    same issue with the mix up between 'e' and 'i'

    May 02, 2019
  • anon

    My package was delivered to the wrong address and i have been calling for hours and no one answered

    Apr 04, 2019
  • anon

    Hello, Dekki Ann. Thank you for your message. If your issue has not yet been resolved by the USPS Office of Consumer Affairs, please file a complaint with our Hotline. You can access the online complaint form at https://www.uspsoig.gov/form/file-online-complaint. This will allow us to look into the matter for you.

    Apr 08, 2019
  • anon

    My package was not delivered at my front door it was in the street !

    Mar 24, 2019
  • anon

    I waited 40 minutes no on came on. Customer service is an oxymoron at the USPS!CC

    Mar 20, 2019
  • anon

    I am at the Elkridge, MD USPS location trying to mail a package. I had to fill out the customs form per the agent. The agent was very rude in answering a question I had. I did not have a pen with me. So I kindly asked if I can have one. The agent refused to share a pen and was very rude again. This is one of the worst experiences I had with USPS. This is the last time I will step into a USPS office to mail anything.

    Mar 20, 2019
  • anon

    Hi ... I’m really disappointed... for usps .. service... they’ve gave me the updates delivery in 03/12 /03 ... before that they said my package is in Anaheim... since then they just ... responded... my package is in the way .... no other information about it..please help me... with this issue. Thank you

    Mar 15, 2019
  • anon

    It seems there is NO reluctance to raise the costs for postage, yet the service we receive is practically worthless. Apparently you are well aware of the uselessness of ATTEMPTING to speak with someone in so called "customer care." Yet the lack of response is worse than ever! This archaic system rivals that of a third world country. It is truly shameful. To no avail thus far, I am attempting to SPEAK with someone regarding an undelivered package. NO, I do not have the often requested tracking number. It may be more difficult, but surely not impossible to locate a package without it. Perhaps it is challenging to search by other references (addresses, dates, post office where mailed, etc.) but it can, and should be doable. I intend to pursue this matter to a satisfactory conclusion. Since it is USPS that misplaced my package, a modicum of cooperation is not an unreasonable expectation.

    Mar 15, 2019
  • anon

    I’ve been trying for over an hour to get to a representative and have been hung up on 3 times. This customer service number is useless and needs to be reported to the news station for investigation. Then to have the audacity to ask me to take a survey after a call that never happens. I’m calling channel 5 new.

    Mar 15, 2019
  • anon

    our office has been at this location 833 N Albany ave #A , since Jan 1, 2019 we moved in and I have filed several complaints to 800# a consumer affairs spoke to supervisors at the post office and also a carrier and since then only have received a few pieces of mail , we are not getting bills or payment of any sort nothing has been resolved and we are at lost its not good for our business if we cant pay bills or receive our payment from our customers

    Mar 13, 2019
  • anon

    Hello, Red Line Painting. Thank you for your message. If your issue has not yet been resolved by the USPS Office of Consumer Affairs, please file a complaint with our Hotline. You can access the online complaint form at uspsoig.gov/form/file-online-complaint. This will allow us to look into the matter for you.

    Mar 13, 2019
  • anon

    It's getting to the point where I expect USPS to fail to deliver my packages.

    Mar 13, 2019
  • anon

    I agree. I am having that experience now. They sent me 10 text messages that pkg would be delivered by 8 pm Thursday. Then another 10 saying it would be delivered by 8 pm Friday. Then a message saying it couldn’t be delivered. This pkg did not need to be signed for, just put in postal box on porch. I really don’t think we have a uspo anymore.

    Mar 16, 2019
  • anon

    ALL calls to USPS go to the abyss. Local PO's, 10 rings then disconnect. Customer svc line answering tree is impossible to intelligently navigate. If you lie to get an agent, you're given a 32 to 49 minute wait advisory. No humans exist in the system. I deplore USPS customer care, they do not care.

    Mar 12, 2019
  • anon

    I just had the worst experience at USPS. I went to the main post office in Rochester, NY during my lunch hour. There was a line out the door and not a clerk in sight for at least 15 minutes. I was mailing a death certificate to a pension center internationally. Not only did the clerk not know what she was doing she was so slow a snail could have beat her to the finish line. I felt she was rude and totally incompetent and she had no idea when my envelope would get there. The tape she put on the edges was so wet I could see the official document being water damaged. You raise the rates for postage, but the customer service has not improved one bit.

    Mar 12, 2019
  • anon

    I just ordered stamps through the online service and was unhappy to see a $1.30 shipping fee and that it would take 5 - 7 business days to receive stamps! My next order will be through Amazon even though they are $1.00 more than your listing they arrive in 2 days. A shipping fee from USPS is ridiculous since my mail is delivered daily!!!

    Mar 12, 2019
  • anon

    The automated system is terrible, and takes forever to talk to someone. I tried entering my case number, tracking, everything that I have on file that anyone has YET to contact me about the status of my missing package (it should have been delivered nearly two weeks ago!!)...and none of the numbers worked (it even asked me about letter in the case, none of them matched. Then asked me to only enter the numbers, only to have that fail as well). I tried my tracking number, still nothing. The system is useless. Also, the automated process is redundant, repetitive, and incredibly frustrating - just try to resolve an issue through the system. Seriously..who QA's this process? Now I have to sit on hold between 30 and 50mins..this is absolutely ridiculous! Does this mean the call center can't handle the capacity of service calls?

    Mar 08, 2019
  • anon

    I live in The Colony ,Tx . I have been here several years, as our community has grown in the past two years do to new business from out of state companies making this city their home base, our local post office can no longer handle the amount of customers. It is a 3 station service desk, with maybe one attendant behind the counter, who is somewhat rude because their English is bad. Not to mention, that you have to go across the street , to a shopping center to pick up your packages, or mail on hold! I find this to be absolutely ridiculous for a town of 30,000 thousand people. So, I now drive to Carrollton, Tx. to the Rosemeade location to do all my shipping and business because I don't have time to wait in line in the lobby, or out the doors! If you think I'm joking, check it out . On my last visit to the post office in Carrolton, an attendant named Sabrina helped me with my packages, and explained to me exactly what "Media Mail" was. She also told me I could use a "Flat Rate" to ship my items, but I had my box sealed and did not want to hold up the line behind me even though they had 4 people behind the counter. I realize the post office is a government issue , but really, poor speaking English and having to pick up packages across the street, Ridiculous!

    Mar 05, 2019
  • anon

    I just tried to submit a request for investigation for a certified package that was sent on February 14th to Washington, DC. The package has never been delivered and contains important documents. It contains documents for the transfer of my father's cremated remains to his country of origin. It has taken me months to get all the information together, get the documents authenticated by the Office of the Secretary of State where he passed away, get all the documents translated into Spanish and get the translations certified! Your website did not allow me to submit the request! I am so frustrated with the USPS! This is not the first incident I have experienced in the past few months, but this particular situation needs to be resolved with locating this piece of mail ASAP!!!

    Mar 04, 2019
  • anon

    OIG - well the results of your audit say only one of two things. The corruption in the USPS is as bad as ever, or you think people are stupid enough to believe that crap your dishing out. There is nothing new Under the Sun, I still haven't seen an OIG office or report that I had any respect for! I waited an hour and you would not believe what a girl on the phone said to me. I asked her for the cutoff time for an overnight package to be delivered and she asked me what time will you be going to the post office? Are you kidding me? She said she must have a tracking # to answer ANY ?.. Again... are you kidding me? She had no idea what I was asking 4. Every ? or comment I made was passed on to a gentleman in the background who gave her the answer. Then she came on line and told me. So you give jobs to people who won't work. There are thousands of us that would love to have that job and do it well. Corruption at its finest. Now I know why I paid $26 to have a package delivered in two days 800 miles away. Yeah, no kidding. My suggestion - Cross train and Test every single one of them! If they pass, they can keep their Job and handle every type of call coming in. Anything's better than what I just experienced, she had an IQ of about 45 at best. Because someone does it and she never learns and is not allowed to feel good about herself! The Fact IS YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID!! NOPE! It would be beneficial if every person getting paid is actually capable of doing a job. Employees are your biggest asset and cost! Why not use the whole staff the whole time? They call this... working smart; and it ain't rocket science!

    Mar 02, 2019
  • anon

    Unbelievably bad-USPS acts like it is the CIA-will not allow you to call any local office-no one ever picks up at the local #-will not give the names when you ask who you are speaking to-when you attempt to call the 800# they tell you wait time is 45min.-Delivery carriers continually scanning items as delivered when in fact they are just on the truck and then do not get delivered-Carrier does not even ring buzzer-Everyone you speak to takes absolutely no responsibility---sincerely-ex-loyal customer

    Mar 01, 2019
  • anon

    Tuckahoe Post office 23229 is constantly understaffed. Only one worker. I have been in line for 40 mins. Terrible!

    Feb 19, 2019
  • anon

    Been on hold now for 1hr and 28 min!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Feb 18, 2019
  • anon

    The tracking information line is unable to accurately recognize letters when I verbally enter a tracking number that includes letters. It repeatedly mis-identifies letters. The system does not allow me to enter tracking numbers that include letters with my telephone key pad. The call wait time is 17 minutes or more to reach an actual agent.

    Feb 16, 2019
  • anon

    I cannot understand why a package weighing 13 oz. that arrived at the Los Angeles Distribution Center at 10:28 A.M. on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, did not arrive at my nephew's house in El Segundo (19 miles away) on that day or Thursday or today, Friday, February 15. The package has gifts for Valentine's Day for the children. I am very angry and seriously considering FEDEX as a better option in the future. D. Levitz

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    The USPS 800 number is USELESS! A package for me arrived at the Cambridge, Mass. P.O. this morning. It is now 12:30 pm. NO TRACKING UPDATE! Is it our for delivery? Should I wait? If I do will I be wasting my time? NO WAY to call the local P.O., I'd have to make a TRIP and STAND IN LINE to ask a freaking question. I hate USPS. A few years ago our P.O. lacked a sign that would have directed customers to a certain window. Ws told that a committee would have to STUDY the matter AND APPROVE a sign. Absolutely stupid.

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    I have been on hold for a total of 3 1/2 hours and hung up on twice before I could even connect to an "agent". As of right now, I have been on hold for an hour and a half, have yet to speak to a human being, and haven't received mail in over 2 weeks! This must be the most pitiful government agency in our country.

    Feb 14, 2019
  • anon

    Completely garbage. I’ve been trying to contact USPS for a lost package and this is what has happened: 1. Calling customer service is completely dreadful. You have to go through a whole bunch of automated non-sense just to get directed to an agent in the first place. Then you wait AT LEAST one hour to talk to an agent if one even decides to answer. And if they do decide to answer, much of the time they’re acting like complete knobheads. 2. The USPS website is also utter garbage. Tried to file a missing package claim multiple times, but the form would absolutely never load, no matter what browser I was using. Then tried to use the email form, which also didn’t work because it starts to glitch when you fill in information. 3. Lastly, I tried to directly email USPS from my own email, and I’ve yet to receive any answer back. Real nice.

    Feb 12, 2019
  • anon

    USPS Customer Service (and I use that term loosely) is reprehensible. Hold times are frequently over an hour and (if it doesn't hang up), the representatives are zero help. They indicate that they will note the case and send an email to the district manager, which, in my case, did not happen. A package was mailed from Baton Rouge LA on 2/4/2019 to me in Palm Coast FL, but was misdirected to Lake Lady FL. who told me they sent it back to Orlando Distribution Center. Since 02/06/2019 there is no record of the package being scanned back into Orlando. Everyone I have talked to has told me that they are aware of the problem and it is being "worked" but nothing is being done and no one seems to care. One rep actually argued with me about the effectiveness of the distribution center. Customer Relations refuses to call me back and there is no way to contact Orlando. Without question, the USPS is the worst organization with which I have ever had the displeasure of being in contact! I write this comment merely to satisfy my own frustration because I have no doubt whatsoever that no one of any authority will bother to read it and the absolute incompetence of the USPS will continue unabated.

    Feb 12, 2019
  • anon

    Hello, Dan. Thank you for your message. If your issue has not yet been resolved by the USPS Office of Consumer Affairs, please file a complaint with our Hotline. You can access the online complaint form at https://www.uspsoig.gov/form/file-online-complaint. This will allow us to look into the matter for you.

    Feb 13, 2019
  • anon

    Can a apartment complex manager instruct your postmen not to place mail in your mail box with someone else's name on it. Especially if they do not have your consent.

    Feb 12, 2019
  • anon

    Hello, Sheila. Thank you for your message. If your issue has not yet been resolved by the USPS Office of Consumer Affairs, please file a complaint with our Hotline. You can access the online complaint form at https://www.uspsoig.gov/form/file-online-complaint. This will allow us to look into the matter for you.

    Feb 19, 2019
  • anon

    When do you plan an office in the Vistancia neighborhood in Peoria Arizona?

    Feb 11, 2019
  • anon

    Customer service non existent. Impossible to reach live person, and if you do, they are condescending and indifferent. All contacts numbers are the same no matter what the complaint is. Just keep raising prices, but service does not improve. Basically, its a joke that's not funny. If any other company operated like USPS they wouldn't be in business for long.

    Feb 09, 2019
  • anon

    I called to request an arrow lock for a new cluster box. My best option on the phone tree was technical support. Plsase try that yourselves. Also, please try for a "13 minute" wait time. It's acually over one hour. Then try to send an email to any department that could help. Does anyone test your website internally????? Please, just try. Maybe you will also feel the frustration. And I wonder whether I will receive a reponse from this comment.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Complaints about the Postal Service that are unrelated to the content on this page, will not be posted. Well of course not because the USPS is home to many folk who just don't care. They can't be fired for doing a poor job. And the Customer Care Center rep could not care less. Priority Mail envelope travels around the greater Cincy are without being delivered. Don't work to hard folks.

    Feb 07, 2019

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