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.