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    Delivery and Customer Service in Colorado Mountain Towns Cover
Report Number:
Report Type:
Audit Reports
Category: Service Performance, Delivery / Mail Processing, Customer Service

Delivery and Customer Service in Colorado Mountain Towns


The U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation. Mail delivery is especially critical to the residents and businesses of more remote locations, such as Colorado’s mountain towns, who have fewer options to receive medications, financial documents, and packages. The Postal Service has service standards that specify timeliness targets for delivering mail after receiving it from a customer. These standards are one of the primary operational goals against which the Postal Service measures its performance. Colorado community members and local organizations within these remote locations contacted political leaders and the Postal Service to express concerns about significant delivery delays and poor customer service. Improving service performance and customer service in these mountain towns could increase customer satisfaction and prevent potential future revenue loss.

What We Did

This audit focused on determining the root causes of poor service performance and customer service issues in Colorado mountain towns. The audit team visited 13 delivery units and one processing and distribution center throughout the mountain towns; conducted observations of processing, delivery, and retail operations; interviewed personnel on challenges faced; and conducted data analysis on service performance.

What We Found

Customers in Colorado mountain towns experienced lower on-time service performance, especially for packages, compared to the rest of the state and nation overall. On-time mail delivery was up to five percentage points lower, and packages were up to percentage points lower than the nationwide average. The biggest challenge was the facilities’ ability to hire and retain personnel. We also found deficiencies with handling of mail and packages, transportation schedules, and facility constraints. These issues were due, in-part, to inadequate management oversight and a lack of communication that resulted in significant delays, incorrect package returns, and misinformation for customers.


We made eight recommendations to address the overarching causes of poor service performance and customer service and two recommendations related to staffing and retention in Colorado mountain towns.

Report Recommendations

# Recommendation Status Value Initial Management Response USPS Proposed Resolution OIG Response Final Resolution

Analyze work environment impacts that affect the Postal Service's ability to hire and retain personnel and create a plan to overcome those identified impacts.

Open $0 Disagree

Explore the feasibility of increasing personnel pay in Colorado mountain towns based on locality, including tracking all expenses for personnel detailed to these locations and other hiring costs.

Open $0 Disagree

Establish a program to monitor package handling to verify that packages are scanned and delivered, as required, and take corrective action with underperforming facilities.

Open $0 Agree

Establish a process to track and monitor whether delivery unit management is appropriately documenting delivery contract irregularities with Postal Service Form 5500, and whether damages should be assessed, or the contract terminated for default.

Open $0 Agree

Require any employee fulfilling the postmaster role at the select facilities, to take the formal Postmaster Essentials training course, and track compliance.

Open $0 Disagree

Implement a developmental program, including on-the-job training at the delivery units, to ensure postmaster readiness.

Open $0 Agree

Instruct local management in Colorado mountain town facilities to enter delayed mail in reporting systems and establish responsibility for processing manual flat mail.

Open $0 Agree

Review trip times and volume profiles, and meet with appropriate delivery unit and plant personnel, to align transportation schedules to meet processing and delivery needs of facilities in Colorado mountain towns.

Open $0 Agree

Develop a process to ensure communication occurs between delivery and processing personnel at facilities located in Colorado mountain towns when there is late arriving mail.

Open $0 Agree

Conduct a study of the six delivery units to determine if existing workspace is sufficient to meet the needs of facilities and customers, and if not, explore opportunities to acquire needed space.

Closed $0 Agree