For any business, customer service is important. It improves the brand image, keeps customers loyal, and provides insights into the customer experience. In the past, customer service operations for a major corporation would involve thousands of service agents to handle calls — from routine problems to more complex ones. Technology has changed customer service, allowing automated systems to handle routine inquiries 24 hours a day without requiring an agent.

For its 1-800-ASK-USPS customer care line, the Postal Service employs an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to answer calls, automatically handling routine issues such as package tracking, finding post office locations and hours, and submitting hold mail requests. This allows customers to find solutions for certain issues without being put on hold or being referred to agents for complicated problems. In Fiscal Year 2020, the Postal Service’s IVR system handled 90 million calls!

Our latest white paper, 1-800-ASK-USPS: The Postal Service’s Interactive Voice Response System, examines the effectiveness of the Postal Service’s IVR system at handling inquiries. We found that two of the metrics, the containment rate (the percent of calls not transferred to agents) and customer satisfaction, have both increased over the past years. Still, there is room for improvement. A quarter of IVR users who stay on the line at the end of the call to take a survey were very dissatisfied with their IVR experience, which might be worth exploring further.

We also found the Postal Service was counting any call not transferred to an agent as contained. For example, if someone called and hung up in frustration before getting the information they sought, that call would still count as resolved by the IVR system. We recommended the Postal Service track abandoned calls and more accurately track contained calls. This could help them accurately identify customer frustration points with the IVR system.

Have you called 1-800-ASK-USPS recently? What was your experience?

Comments (13)

IMPORTANT – PLEASE NOTE: Complaints about the Postal Service – including lost, stolen, or mishandled mail – that are unrelated to the content on this page will not be posted. Please visit the Contact Us page for information on where to file formal complaints with our agency or the Postal Service.

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  • anon

    My package has been stuck in customs since August 27, I don't know what to do

    Oct 17, 2021
  • anon

    Dog medicine--gone. Vanished. Now I have to wait and wait again and hope it shows this time.

    Oct 15, 2021
  • anon

    How about you stop losing my packages and mail all the time?

    Oct 15, 2021
  • anon

    boI was stunned that without notice, our small P, O. Box rental increased $26.00 per year for 2021!!!! It has slowing been increasing in smaller incriments for years, but this is unrealistic. the usps cannot expect the P. O. Box holders to make up the deficit you are experiencing in managing your funds! I am so disgusted! Someone needs to be appointed to review this and re-evalucate this ill informed decision. I read on line some sort of excuse that certain zones increased due to other existing facilities Lastly, it might be a good faith idea to identify a place on the usps.com website for us to commmunicate with you. There is no area that addresses a place to comment/complain etc... on that site. Constantly takes you to a block to enter a tracking #, which is irrelevant.

    Oct 14, 2021
  • anon

    I have missed out on so much thanks to the usps. I read that a mail truck a day catches fire . Take better care of peoples stuff in the future.

    Oct 14, 2021
  • anon

    17 days and counting ..........should not be the norm for first class mail delivery! Our government SHOULD NOT APPOINT POLITICAL APPOINTEES to help slow down the ballots or ANY MAIL. Main objective should be to deliver and run this division effectively w/out political influence. Since Dejoy took over it been a Fiasco!

    Oct 13, 2021
  • anon

    Who can I contact about an envelope sent from Australia to MyHeritage in Houston Texas which has not arrived but was sent on 29 July 2021? It was missing a customs declaration form so may have been held up in customs.

    Oct 12, 2021
  • anon

    Who can I contact about mail sent to Houston Texas from Australia which may be held in customs due to a missing customs declaration form. The envelope was sent from Australia on 29 July 2021 so I assume it should have arrived in the US by now but it does not appear to have been received by MyHeritage Labs in Houston.

    Oct 12, 2021
  • anon

    We are paying for the "Premium Forwarding" service since September1, 2021. To date we have received 2 notifications of if there was or was not mail to forward to us. The 1st time was after 3 weeks and we had a neighbor check to see if mail was in our box, which there was. We tried to reach out to our PO in Melrose, MA. Their phone is continuously busy as if they take it off the hook for the operating day. We finally went to our local PO in Wisconsin. The Supervisor here reached out directly to the Supervisor in Melrose. That Supervisor blamed it on the Carrier being out on leave. Shortly after we received the forwarded mail (they sent someone to retrieve it). After 2 week of no additional email or forwarded mail we finally received an email that "No mail was received to forward". Two days later we received forwarded mail. I returned to have my WI Supervisor reach out AGAIN! We are still not getting mail nor email notifications as to status. We used the interactive " 1-800-ASK-USPS: The Postal Service’s Interactive Voice Response System". There is also no was to contact a real person on this service. And we used the online complaint form twice and only received a "We got your notice" and then a "Are you happy with the answer you received from our staff rectifying your issue?", which has not been "satisfied" nor had anyone contacted us. I had the Supervisor reach out again and, per her suggestion, we have requested a refund for lack of service performed per the agreement of this service. We have yet to see a refund nor anyone inquiring what is wrong with the service. It is now another week, now into an 8th week with no forwarding service but for 2 weeks and no additional answers! If this is the best you can do for a cost of over $22/month you should be closed down!

    Oct 12, 2021
  • anon

    I have called and listen to you voice response BUT your voice response system does not prompt you to speak with a representative, Why?? I have listen and listen. No prompts! The United States Postal Service has shown Americans that you do not care about our business that we pay for each and every day. I filed a complaint for missing package in June. The company that the package was going back to stated that if I can provide a Lost/Stolen Claim Number that they would process the paperwork on their end. In trying to speak to someone about what to do and if I could get a claim number, I cannot reach no one to ask this question.

    Oct 12, 2021
  • anon

    The customer service line is awful. I wanted to report that the delivery carrier misdelivered packages to my house (someone else's packages are on my porch) but it would not let me talk to anyone and had no option to leave a message for the carrier to pick up the packages. I shouldn't have to lift and carry packages to my car, drive, and lift and carry packages to stand in line at post office to report misdelivery. I should be able to fill out something online or use the customer service number. Customer service is not good. I ended up hanging up because the phone system never let me talk to anyone and did not have any help for this problem.

    Oct 12, 2021
  • anon

    The United States post office allowed it’s employees to steal my personal information( Social security number, email, birth day, place of employment. I mailed a letter to the student loan processing center with all my information on it, and the post office sent it back in a plastic bag a month later. They have been no help and now someone is opening up accounts in my name. Nobody will acknowledge with they let my information float around for over a month. Nobody cares!

    Oct 12, 2021
  • anon

    My issue couldn't be solved by the I've system, yet it still refused to transfer me to a live representative no matter how many times I asked to speak with someone and no matter which prompt number I pressed. I was and still am extremely dissatisfied! It's extremely irritating that business matters that need to be handled by humans are now being transitioned to AI systems that aren't able to think outside of the box to solve complex issues, yet still try to do so with only the simple solutions it's capable of coming up with and is not helpful with the issue at all, and still it doesn't transfer you to a human that is capable a doing so!

    Oct 11, 2021