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 (7)

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  • anon

    The managers haven't acted on your advise. The hold for me is 1 hour or more. Unacceptable! Just like the problems with the VA, the managers need to be fired and put someone who can do the job. Also, they don't provide call back service. If you weren't receiving government money support, I don't think you could survive as a totally independent agency/company. Please get your act together. I plan to write my congressman and get him/her involved.

    Sep 06, 2018
  • anon

    I have ordered quite a few things from an app called wish. Most of the stuff is shipped from over seas. I have a couple questions as my area was lucky enough to have one of the carriers in trouble for mail theft, and lost a bunch of mail in the past, do to this and was never compensated for our loss or anything. Well my question is when stuff is shipped from over seas why can you no longer track the packages once they arrive in our country? I try to track the packages with the tracking number I recieved and the system cant find it at all, which I think is very irresponsible. And then once the package get to our country is takes for ever to get here in Northeast Colorado, I have mail thats been sitting in our country or they arrived in the United States ont the 2nd of August and still isnt here it kind of ridiculous that it takes our postal service over a month at points to get mail delivered to us.. Why is this, it does not take that long to drive across the US.. And I guess I'm just really tired of sitting here wondering if my stuff is ever going to arrive at all not to mention that there is no way for me to even track it.. If you could please offer any information about these questions I would greatly appreciate it. Thank You Patricia Samora

    Sep 01, 2018
  • anon

    I want to thank the USPS of Hollyridge and Sneadsferry, NC for making my 16 years as a customer pleasing and always hospitable whenever I needed them. Especially on 9/01/18.

    Sep 01, 2018
  • anon

    I have called twice in the last two days. First time was on hold for 90 minutes..today I am at 93:38 and still no one has picked up the call. EXTREMELY UNHAPPY

    Aug 30, 2018
  • anon

    You need to throw out every overpriced antiquated system you currently have in place and replace them with $200 ecommerce software that is able to efficiently accept a package at drop off and give the customer a receipt , keep track of packages , make automated damage, or loss reports as soon as they are detected either at the distribution center or when the carrier attempts delivery and discoveres the crushed box and damages by uploading the damage report using their handheld scanners scanner and issue automated refunds accordingly to customers whenever the postal service fails to deliver on it's promise. and you also need to void and give automated refunds for unused shipping label . Not doing so , is just outright theft of the consumer . In conclusion you need to be like Amazon, and eBay . The tracking number is your main order number , all the consumer should be required to do is input the tracking number select a problem to solve with a click of the mouse without having to go through your current bureaucratic forms intended to discourage , and frustrate the claim process by asking redundant questions and information that you already have associated with a given tracking number . Better yet, be honest with your customers and automate the tracking and claims process , and when you see a problem reported by the carrier or USPS facility, you need to automatically rectify it without any customer input or claims forms . That would be the ideal USPS process and policy to implement best regards, John.

    Aug 28, 2018
  • anon

    August 22, 2018, 11:24 pm Departed USPS Regional Facility TUCSON AZ DISTRIBUTION CENTER To My package arrived at Las Angeles distribution center on the 24. It has been there for over a days. The package was with live fishes I don’t know how you think animals can live such time in this situation . I was told I would get my package on the 18th. That's in three days and it is still in Las Angeles distribution center

    Aug 28, 2018
  • anon

    I think this is a great path to take. I am in sales and have customers that are reluctant to switch to the USPS for shipping packages because of our Customer Service performance and wait time on hold. This new CCC venture would be nice to see.

    Aug 22, 2018

Contributors

  • Christine Lyons, Tom Coleman, and Amanda Stafford contributed to this report.

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