May 21, 2013 (RARC-WP-13-009)
America’s communications needs are continually evolving. Individuals and businesses have become increasingly reliant on electronic means of transacting business and exchanging information. However, not everyone has access to and uses digital communications. The U.S. Postal Service is at a critical juncture in determining its role in meeting America’s communications needs in the digital age.
There are ongoing debates regarding what role the Postal Service could and should play in meeting modern communications needs. These discussions often include Postal Service management, the postal regulator, postal employees and customers, members of Congress, and other stakeholders. Largely absent from the debate, however, has been the voice of the American public — the very people that the Postal Service exists to serve.
To begin to understand America’s changing communications needs, the Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) commissioned a study to better understand how Americans view the Postal Service now, as well as what role it could play in their lives in the future. This paper provides the results of that survey and is intended to be the basis for more in-depth follow-up research into topics this initial survey identifies as important. Additional research will likely reach a larger population, including those without access to the Internet, and may include focus groups, additional surveys, and interviews.