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.

Read full report

Comments (17)

We welcome your comments related to the topic on this page. 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.

Leave a comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
  • anon

    Ever post office should have a phone to call waiting 1-2 hour to speak to Representative is completely stupid. i have called 10 plus times said call me back exc. never received a call back the most horrible customer service ever. if ever individual post office had a phone problem would be solved

    Dec 07, 2018
  • anon

    "No service is perfect"--that might be true but only the US Postal Service is making we wait ONE HOUR on the phone to speak to a live human being. I know of no other vendor, not UPS, not FEDEX, that is giving me that level of service. You wonder why citizens might support privatizing the post office. Honestly, I wish Amazon owned you because Amazon gives me superb service, so does FEDEX. You need to be customer focused. One hour wait times on the phone--RIDICULOUS. The only "vendor" that equals your service responsiveness is the DMV!!!!!

    Dec 06, 2018
  • anon

    I have been on hold for an hour and a half when the quote was 46 minutes to 1 hour 6 minutes. It is now past closing time and here I still sit. I have been trying to resolve a package that has been waiting for delivery scan since NOVEMBER 19!? I have since lost money on this package and cannot get a live person from the post office of delivery (despite MULTIPLE voicemails per day). No response from my mail inquiry or missing mail search. I actually have a job that I cannot have my phone available to call you all every minute of the day. This is ridiculous and poor business. I will be dealing with UPS from now on. Oh, by the way. This is the second act of blatant incompetence that I have had to waste MY time and money on to correct in the past 3 months. Someone needs to do their job or the house needs to be cleaned.

    Dec 06, 2018
  • anon

    Been on hold for 1hour 40mins and now it's 8:45pm est. I just want to know where my package is at as I just keep getting notifications that's it's on schedule for delivery and in route for next facility?? No location to tell me where it's at... Not sure if I should hang up? Do they still answer calls when someone been on hold after closing??? Come on...

    Dec 03, 2018
  • anon

    Your phone recordings do not cover all questions, I have tried for 1 week to get a live person on the phone. waiting 1 hour is absolutely ridiculous. Your customer service is terrible.

    Dec 03, 2018
  • anon

    Hire more staff to reduce the wait times. The wait times are absurd. As noted by others here the inability to reach the local post office to verify ANYTHING makes the situation even worse. And the local post office apparently does NOT respond to e-mail messages from headquarters or the call centers.

    Nov 30, 2018
  • anon

    My biggest issue with the CCC, is that they have no access to the post office when there are complex issues they cannot hook into the system and find out why when I scheduled redelivery for a certain day the package never even left the post office. Another issue I generally have is that when calling the post office directly no one picks up the phone on the first try you have to call multiple times before a person picks up. Also tracking is still iffy, I have for an example an international package that has been stuck West Palm since before the holiday. But when I check Japan Post they say it is still stuck in customs in NYC... so where exactly is my package? And something shipped via EMS should not take this long!

    Nov 27, 2018
  • anon

    I had to call customer service regarding an extremely urgent piece of mail that was lost en-route to a US government agency. I was on-hold for 40 minutes! While the service received was good, the wait times are unacceptable! I would gladly pay $0.75 for 1st class mail stamp, for example, in exchange for: no lines at the post office and more staff and reasonable wait times when calling in. If you take, roughly, 15B pieces of 1st class mail that are shipped annually by USPS and multiply by the proposed $0.25 stamp increase (why is USPS screwing around with these annual penny increases anyway), you get $3.75B of additional revenue that will pay for a lot of additional postal workers and customer service people. The shipments volume are only going to increase and a trip to local post office only shows you how overwhelmed the system is right now so investment into USPS infrastructure and headcount is a necessity and the benefits will be realized by every US resident.

    Nov 27, 2018
  • anon

    I have been to my local post office 5 times in the last 4 days to speak to the postmaster. I waited there for 1 hour and 15 minutes yesterday afternoon because I was told he was waiting on me to get there. He never came out of his office. I was told by one of his minions that he was on the phone talking to his boss about me. At 4 o’clock they closed the office and I left. I have heard he does this from other people that have dealt with this man. I am self employed and if I treated my customers like this I wouldn’t have any customers. This is the most unprofessional and ridiculous fiasco that I have ever dealt with. I have talked to 3 people in customer service and they call the man and talk to him but he won’t talk to me. I just don’t understand it. My original issue is nothing compared to this. I had no idea that the post office is so messed up. No wonder they have lost 60 BILLION dollars in the last 10 years.

    Nov 09, 2018
  • anon

    Why do I have to wait an hour to speak to a live person, this is ridiculous. ..I'm looking for a package that says it was delivered when I go to the post office they give me a number to call now I can't reach anyone, this is crazy...I don't have an hours worth of minutes on my phone, I don't want to hear excuses I need results, how is the wait time and hour, if you can't do the job find someone that can

    Oct 05, 2018
  • anon

    The managers haven't acted on your advise. The hold for me is 1 hour or more. Unacceptable! Just like the problems with the VA, the managers need to be fired and put someone who can do the job. Also, they don't provide call back service. If you weren't receiving government money support, I don't think you could survive as a totally independent agency/company. Please get your act together. I plan to write my congressman and get him/her involved.

    Sep 06, 2018
  • anon

    I have ordered quite a few things from an app called wish. Most of the stuff is shipped from over seas. I have a couple questions as my area was lucky enough to have one of the carriers in trouble for mail theft, and lost a bunch of mail in the past, do to this and was never compensated for our loss or anything. Well my question is when stuff is shipped from over seas why can you no longer track the packages once they arrive in our country? I try to track the packages with the tracking number I recieved and the system cant find it at all, which I think is very irresponsible. And then once the package get to our country is takes for ever to get here in Northeast Colorado, I have mail thats been sitting in our country or they arrived in the United States ont the 2nd of August and still isnt here it kind of ridiculous that it takes our postal service over a month at points to get mail delivered to us.. Why is this, it does not take that long to drive across the US.. And I guess I'm just really tired of sitting here wondering if my stuff is ever going to arrive at all not to mention that there is no way for me to even track it.. If you could please offer any information about these questions I would greatly appreciate it. Thank You Patricia Samora

    Sep 01, 2018
  • anon

    I want to thank the USPS of Hollyridge and Sneadsferry, NC for making my 16 years as a customer pleasing and always hospitable whenever I needed them. Especially on 9/01/18.

    Sep 01, 2018
  • anon

    I have called twice in the last two days. First time was on hold for 90 minutes..today I am at 93:38 and still no one has picked up the call. EXTREMELY UNHAPPY

    Aug 30, 2018
  • anon

    You need to throw out every overpriced antiquated system you currently have in place and replace them with $200 ecommerce software that is able to efficiently accept a package at drop off and give the customer a receipt , keep track of packages , make automated damage, or loss reports as soon as they are detected either at the distribution center or when the carrier attempts delivery and discoveres the crushed box and damages by uploading the damage report using their handheld scanners scanner and issue automated refunds accordingly to customers whenever the postal service fails to deliver on it's promise. and you also need to void and give automated refunds for unused shipping label . Not doing so , is just outright theft of the consumer . In conclusion you need to be like Amazon, and eBay . The tracking number is your main order number , all the consumer should be required to do is input the tracking number select a problem to solve with a click of the mouse without having to go through your current bureaucratic forms intended to discourage , and frustrate the claim process by asking redundant questions and information that you already have associated with a given tracking number . Better yet, be honest with your customers and automate the tracking and claims process , and when you see a problem reported by the carrier or USPS facility, you need to automatically rectify it without any customer input or claims forms . That would be the ideal USPS process and policy to implement best regards, John.

    Aug 28, 2018
  • anon

    August 22, 2018, 11:24 pm Departed USPS Regional Facility TUCSON AZ DISTRIBUTION CENTER To My package arrived at Las Angeles distribution center on the 24. It has been there for over a days. The package was with live fishes I don’t know how you think animals can live such time in this situation . I was told I would get my package on the 18th. That's in three days and it is still in Las Angeles distribution center

    Aug 28, 2018
  • anon

    I think this is a great path to take. I am in sales and have customers that are reluctant to switch to the USPS for shipping packages because of our Customer Service performance and wait time on hold. This new CCC venture would be nice to see.

    Aug 22, 2018

Contributors

  • Christine Lyons, Tom Coleman, and Amanda Stafford contributed to this report.

Share this post


Contact Us

For questions, media inquiries, or to obtain more information regarding this report, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703-248-2286 or by email