August 28, 2017 (RARC-WP-17-010)
- Understanding, attracting, and retaining customers is necessary for the Postal Service to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
- The OIG researched four postal customer satisfaction surveys and found that measuring customer satisfaction and loyalty provide a robust picture of brand health and growth potential.
- Enhancements to its surveys could give the Postal Service an even more nuanced and comprehensive view of the postal customer’s total experience.
Happy customers are critical to the survival of any business, the U.S. Postal Service included. If residential and business customer alike are content with mail delivery and their local post office, they will continue to send and receive mail and packages via USPS instead of seeking digital alternatives or using other shipping providers. To understand customer needs and to gauge how well it meets them, the Postal Service surveys its customers at various touchpoints. Four surveys are particularly important:
- The Business Service Network Survey polls large business customers.
- The Customer Care Center Survey measures the phone helpline.
- The Delivery Survey assesses the delivery experience of residential customers and small and medium businesses.
- The Point of Sale Survey measures the retail experience at post offices.
Last year, 1.7 million customers completed these surveys, and their responses were rolled into a dashboard metric called the Customer Insights (CI) Index. The CI Index factors into the Postal Service’s pay-for-performance system and is reported to Congress and the Postal Regulatory Commission.
Because the CI Index serves as the barometer for postal customer satisfaction, the OIG researched the four underlying surveys to find out if they do a good job measuring the customer experience. Our research found that the Postal Service has a robust and evolving survey program, which clearly demonstrates its commitment to understanding its customers’ needs. Minor enhancements to the surveys, such as allowing customers to leave contact information for follow-up and employing hot alerts to immediately notify managers of negative responses, could help the Postal Service act quickly on feedback and improve the customer experience.