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 (73)

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  • anon

    I have a package bouncing around different Post Offices in my region. Very frustrating. Tried the support #s to no avail. Final found a workaround to actually talk to a real person, WAIT TIME 1 [ONE] HOUR. Essentially the USPS is unreachable!

    Apr 06, 2019
  • anon

    Automated voice system is the worst that I've ever used. It cannot understand letter "e" and keeps thinking it is "i", so I cannot even type in my redelivery number and it takes forever to reach the customer service. The reason why I need to use this stupid system in the first place is that USPS is refusing to do anything to redeliver the package after I made a redelivery request for three days. They left no notice and all it says is that I requested redelivery but in fact, it is doing absolutely nothing to redeliver the package. I hate to say this but I never had any experiences like this with UPS or FEDEX. USPS literally has the worst service in every criteria when it comes to delivery sercice quality. I know I shouldn't expect the same quality as UPS or FedEx, but their service is just below the lowest expectation.

    Apr 04, 2019
  • anon

    My package was delivered to the wrong address and i have been calling for hours and no one answered

    Apr 04, 2019
  • anon

    Hello, Dekki Ann. Thank you for your message. If your issue has not yet been resolved by the USPS Office of Consumer Affairs, please file a complaint with our Hotline. You can access the online complaint form at https://www.uspsoig.gov/form/file-online-complaint. This will allow us to look into the matter for you.

    Apr 08, 2019
  • anon

    My package was not delivered at my front door it was in the street !

    Mar 24, 2019
  • anon

    I waited 40 minutes no on came on. Customer service is an oxymoron at the USPS!CC

    Mar 20, 2019
  • anon

    I am at the Elkridge, MD USPS location trying to mail a package. I had to fill out the customs form per the agent. The agent was very rude in answering a question I had. I did not have a pen with me. So I kindly asked if I can have one. The agent refused to share a pen and was very rude again. This is one of the worst experiences I had with USPS. This is the last time I will step into a USPS office to mail anything.

    Mar 20, 2019
  • anon

    Hi ... I’m really disappointed... for usps .. service... they’ve gave me the updates delivery in 03/12 /03 ... before that they said my package is in Anaheim... since then they just ... responded... my package is in the way .... no other information about it..please help me... with this issue. Thank you

    Mar 15, 2019
  • anon

    It seems there is NO reluctance to raise the costs for postage, yet the service we receive is practically worthless. Apparently you are well aware of the uselessness of ATTEMPTING to speak with someone in so called "customer care." Yet the lack of response is worse than ever! This archaic system rivals that of a third world country. It is truly shameful. To no avail thus far, I am attempting to SPEAK with someone regarding an undelivered package. NO, I do not have the often requested tracking number. It may be more difficult, but surely not impossible to locate a package without it. Perhaps it is challenging to search by other references (addresses, dates, post office where mailed, etc.) but it can, and should be doable. I intend to pursue this matter to a satisfactory conclusion. Since it is USPS that misplaced my package, a modicum of cooperation is not an unreasonable expectation.

    Mar 15, 2019
  • anon

    I’ve been trying for over an hour to get to a representative and have been hung up on 3 times. This customer service number is useless and needs to be reported to the news station for investigation. Then to have the audacity to ask me to take a survey after a call that never happens. I’m calling channel 5 new.

    Mar 15, 2019
  • anon

    our office has been at this location 833 N Albany ave #A , since Jan 1, 2019 we moved in and I have filed several complaints to 800# a consumer affairs spoke to supervisors at the post office and also a carrier and since then only have received a few pieces of mail , we are not getting bills or payment of any sort nothing has been resolved and we are at lost its not good for our business if we cant pay bills or receive our payment from our customers

    Mar 13, 2019
  • anon

    Hello, Red Line Painting. Thank you for your message. If your issue has not yet been resolved by the USPS Office of Consumer Affairs, please file a complaint with our Hotline. You can access the online complaint form at uspsoig.gov/form/file-online-complaint. This will allow us to look into the matter for you.

    Mar 13, 2019
  • anon

    It's getting to the point where I expect USPS to fail to deliver my packages.

    Mar 13, 2019
  • anon

    I agree. I am having that experience now. They sent me 10 text messages that pkg would be delivered by 8 pm Thursday. Then another 10 saying it would be delivered by 8 pm Friday. Then a message saying it couldn’t be delivered. This pkg did not need to be signed for, just put in postal box on porch. I really don’t think we have a uspo anymore.

    Mar 16, 2019
  • anon

    ALL calls to USPS go to the abyss. Local PO's, 10 rings then disconnect. Customer svc line answering tree is impossible to intelligently navigate. If you lie to get an agent, you're given a 32 to 49 minute wait advisory. No humans exist in the system. I deplore USPS customer care, they do not care.

    Mar 12, 2019
  • anon

    I just had the worst experience at USPS. I went to the main post office in Rochester, NY during my lunch hour. There was a line out the door and not a clerk in sight for at least 15 minutes. I was mailing a death certificate to a pension center internationally. Not only did the clerk not know what she was doing she was so slow a snail could have beat her to the finish line. I felt she was rude and totally incompetent and she had no idea when my envelope would get there. The tape she put on the edges was so wet I could see the official document being water damaged. You raise the rates for postage, but the customer service has not improved one bit.

    Mar 12, 2019
  • anon

    I just ordered stamps through the online service and was unhappy to see a $1.30 shipping fee and that it would take 5 - 7 business days to receive stamps! My next order will be through Amazon even though they are $1.00 more than your listing they arrive in 2 days. A shipping fee from USPS is ridiculous since my mail is delivered daily!!!

    Mar 12, 2019
  • anon

    The automated system is terrible, and takes forever to talk to someone. I tried entering my case number, tracking, everything that I have on file that anyone has YET to contact me about the status of my missing package (it should have been delivered nearly two weeks ago!!)...and none of the numbers worked (it even asked me about letter in the case, none of them matched. Then asked me to only enter the numbers, only to have that fail as well). I tried my tracking number, still nothing. The system is useless. Also, the automated process is redundant, repetitive, and incredibly frustrating - just try to resolve an issue through the system. Seriously..who QA's this process? Now I have to sit on hold between 30 and 50mins..this is absolutely ridiculous! Does this mean the call center can't handle the capacity of service calls?

    Mar 08, 2019
  • anon

    I live in The Colony ,Tx . I have been here several years, as our community has grown in the past two years do to new business from out of state companies making this city their home base, our local post office can no longer handle the amount of customers. It is a 3 station service desk, with maybe one attendant behind the counter, who is somewhat rude because their English is bad. Not to mention, that you have to go across the street , to a shopping center to pick up your packages, or mail on hold! I find this to be absolutely ridiculous for a town of 30,000 thousand people. So, I now drive to Carrollton, Tx. to the Rosemeade location to do all my shipping and business because I don't have time to wait in line in the lobby, or out the doors! If you think I'm joking, check it out . On my last visit to the post office in Carrolton, an attendant named Sabrina helped me with my packages, and explained to me exactly what "Media Mail" was. She also told me I could use a "Flat Rate" to ship my items, but I had my box sealed and did not want to hold up the line behind me even though they had 4 people behind the counter. I realize the post office is a government issue , but really, poor speaking English and having to pick up packages across the street, Ridiculous!

    Mar 05, 2019
  • anon

    I just tried to submit a request for investigation for a certified package that was sent on February 14th to Washington, DC. The package has never been delivered and contains important documents. It contains documents for the transfer of my father's cremated remains to his country of origin. It has taken me months to get all the information together, get the documents authenticated by the Office of the Secretary of State where he passed away, get all the documents translated into Spanish and get the translations certified! Your website did not allow me to submit the request! I am so frustrated with the USPS! This is not the first incident I have experienced in the past few months, but this particular situation needs to be resolved with locating this piece of mail ASAP!!!

    Mar 04, 2019
  • anon

    OIG - well the results of your audit say only one of two things. The corruption in the USPS is as bad as ever, or you think people are stupid enough to believe that crap your dishing out. There is nothing new Under the Sun, I still haven't seen an OIG office or report that I had any respect for! I waited an hour and you would not believe what a girl on the phone said to me. I asked her for the cutoff time for an overnight package to be delivered and she asked me what time will you be going to the post office? Are you kidding me? She said she must have a tracking # to answer ANY ?.. Again... are you kidding me? She had no idea what I was asking 4. Every ? or comment I made was passed on to a gentleman in the background who gave her the answer. Then she came on line and told me. So you give jobs to people who won't work. There are thousands of us that would love to have that job and do it well. Corruption at its finest. Now I know why I paid $26 to have a package delivered in two days 800 miles away. Yeah, no kidding. My suggestion - Cross train and Test every single one of them! If they pass, they can keep their Job and handle every type of call coming in. Anything's better than what I just experienced, she had an IQ of about 45 at best. Because someone does it and she never learns and is not allowed to feel good about herself! The Fact IS YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID!! NOPE! It would be beneficial if every person getting paid is actually capable of doing a job. Employees are your biggest asset and cost! Why not use the whole staff the whole time? They call this... working smart; and it ain't rocket science!

    Mar 02, 2019
  • anon

    Unbelievably bad-USPS acts like it is the CIA-will not allow you to call any local office-no one ever picks up at the local #-will not give the names when you ask who you are speaking to-when you attempt to call the 800# they tell you wait time is 45min.-Delivery carriers continually scanning items as delivered when in fact they are just on the truck and then do not get delivered-Carrier does not even ring buzzer-Everyone you speak to takes absolutely no responsibility---sincerely-ex-loyal customer

    Mar 01, 2019
  • anon

    Tuckahoe Post office 23229 is constantly understaffed. Only one worker. I have been in line for 40 mins. Terrible!

    Feb 19, 2019
  • anon

    Been on hold now for 1hr and 28 min!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Feb 18, 2019
  • anon

    The tracking information line is unable to accurately recognize letters when I verbally enter a tracking number that includes letters. It repeatedly mis-identifies letters. The system does not allow me to enter tracking numbers that include letters with my telephone key pad. The call wait time is 17 minutes or more to reach an actual agent.

    Feb 16, 2019
  • anon

    I cannot understand why a package weighing 13 oz. that arrived at the Los Angeles Distribution Center at 10:28 A.M. on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, did not arrive at my nephew's house in El Segundo (19 miles away) on that day or Thursday or today, Friday, February 15. The package has gifts for Valentine's Day for the children. I am very angry and seriously considering FEDEX as a better option in the future. D. Levitz

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    The USPS 800 number is USELESS! A package for me arrived at the Cambridge, Mass. P.O. this morning. It is now 12:30 pm. NO TRACKING UPDATE! Is it our for delivery? Should I wait? If I do will I be wasting my time? NO WAY to call the local P.O., I'd have to make a TRIP and STAND IN LINE to ask a freaking question. I hate USPS. A few years ago our P.O. lacked a sign that would have directed customers to a certain window. Ws told that a committee would have to STUDY the matter AND APPROVE a sign. Absolutely stupid.

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    I have been on hold for a total of 3 1/2 hours and hung up on twice before I could even connect to an "agent". As of right now, I have been on hold for an hour and a half, have yet to speak to a human being, and haven't received mail in over 2 weeks! This must be the most pitiful government agency in our country.

    Feb 14, 2019
  • anon

    Completely garbage. I’ve been trying to contact USPS for a lost package and this is what has happened: 1. Calling customer service is completely dreadful. You have to go through a whole bunch of automated non-sense just to get directed to an agent in the first place. Then you wait AT LEAST one hour to talk to an agent if one even decides to answer. And if they do decide to answer, much of the time they’re acting like complete knobheads. 2. The USPS website is also utter garbage. Tried to file a missing package claim multiple times, but the form would absolutely never load, no matter what browser I was using. Then tried to use the email form, which also didn’t work because it starts to glitch when you fill in information. 3. Lastly, I tried to directly email USPS from my own email, and I’ve yet to receive any answer back. Real nice.

    Feb 12, 2019
  • anon

    USPS Customer Service (and I use that term loosely) is reprehensible. Hold times are frequently over an hour and (if it doesn't hang up), the representatives are zero help. They indicate that they will note the case and send an email to the district manager, which, in my case, did not happen. A package was mailed from Baton Rouge LA on 2/4/2019 to me in Palm Coast FL, but was misdirected to Lake Lady FL. who told me they sent it back to Orlando Distribution Center. Since 02/06/2019 there is no record of the package being scanned back into Orlando. Everyone I have talked to has told me that they are aware of the problem and it is being "worked" but nothing is being done and no one seems to care. One rep actually argued with me about the effectiveness of the distribution center. Customer Relations refuses to call me back and there is no way to contact Orlando. Without question, the USPS is the worst organization with which I have ever had the displeasure of being in contact! I write this comment merely to satisfy my own frustration because I have no doubt whatsoever that no one of any authority will bother to read it and the absolute incompetence of the USPS will continue unabated.

    Feb 12, 2019
  • anon

    Hello, Dan. Thank you for your message. If your issue has not yet been resolved by the USPS Office of Consumer Affairs, please file a complaint with our Hotline. You can access the online complaint form at https://www.uspsoig.gov/form/file-online-complaint. This will allow us to look into the matter for you.

    Feb 13, 2019
  • anon

    Can a apartment complex manager instruct your postmen not to place mail in your mail box with someone else's name on it. Especially if they do not have your consent.

    Feb 12, 2019
  • anon

    Hello, Sheila. Thank you for your message. If your issue has not yet been resolved by the USPS Office of Consumer Affairs, please file a complaint with our Hotline. You can access the online complaint form at https://www.uspsoig.gov/form/file-online-complaint. This will allow us to look into the matter for you.

    Feb 19, 2019
  • anon

    When do you plan an office in the Vistancia neighborhood in Peoria Arizona?

    Feb 11, 2019
  • anon

    Customer service non existent. Impossible to reach live person, and if you do, they are condescending and indifferent. All contacts numbers are the same no matter what the complaint is. Just keep raising prices, but service does not improve. Basically, its a joke that's not funny. If any other company operated like USPS they wouldn't be in business for long.

    Feb 09, 2019
  • anon

    I called to request an arrow lock for a new cluster box. My best option on the phone tree was technical support. Plsase try that yourselves. Also, please try for a "13 minute" wait time. It's acually over one hour. Then try to send an email to any department that could help. Does anyone test your website internally????? Please, just try. Maybe you will also feel the frustration. And I wonder whether I will receive a reponse from this comment.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Complaints about the Postal Service that are unrelated to the content on this page, will not be posted. Well of course not because the USPS is home to many folk who just don't care. They can't be fired for doing a poor job. And the Customer Care Center rep could not care less. Priority Mail envelope travels around the greater Cincy are without being delivered. Don't work to hard folks.

    Feb 07, 2019
  • anon

    I mailed a package from Key West, Florida on 2/2/19 with 3 day Priority Mail service at a cost of $45.60. As of today 2/7/19 the package is still in Opelika, Florida at a distribution center. No one at US post office seems to care about this situation. I have called the 800 customer service number and talked with 3 different people (all women - 2 with foreign accents) and they all 3 seem as dis-interested, non-responsible, indifferent and uncaring agents of a powerful federal agency that can charge money for a service, not deliver that service, not tell you why the service has not been delivered, not give you any contact information for additional follow-up, and then tell you that they will not issue any refund or partial refund for that service and that you as a paying customer are out of luck with postage paid and package not received unless you wait 15 days and then fill out USPS form 1000 - a claim for USPS to look into where package is and why it was not delivered. All the while you as the paying customer are out the items in the package, the postage and the time and efforts put into all this. This is exactly why our country is in the shape we are in. This is why we hate each other so much and have so little faith in each other. The post office demands that we pay for a stamp to mail a letter or demand that we pay postage to mail a package and yet they can take that money and not deliver the package or letter or whatever and we the paying customer have no recourse. This is just not right but no one really seems to care. If you have any suggestions, please respond.

    Feb 07, 2019
  • anon

    I have been going to the Post Office located at 14310 SW 8TH Street, Miami Fl. 33184, for the last 27 years and every time that I go they always treat the customer, as KINGS. I am still so impress the way that they help all customers, that it's make this branch out of this world.. For the last years (many), Sylvia; Wayne and Nancy, has been helping and always go out of the way to be courteous and extremely professional. Today I had the pleasure of working with Alicia and Fernando, also and again they were amazing. I know that as consumer we love to complaint, but I emphasize how GREAT you feel at this branch.

    Feb 05, 2019
  • anon

    I called on 2/4/19 and felt like the rep that I talked to after waiting on to talk to an agent for over an hour, was rude and unprofessional. She basically told me that it’s nothing that can be done about a person keeping my package that was sent to a previous address in error. She cut me off and sounded like she didn’t really care. I’m a customer care rep myself and I’ve never treated a customer the way I was treated tonight. I didn’t expect the call to go the way it did when calling USPS, to basically oh well your package is gone.

    Feb 04, 2019
  • anon

    STILL CURRENTLY ON HOLD- GOING INTO 3 HOURS NOW. I waited 1hour 23 mins to get the first "rep" a lady who was chewing into the phone and making awful noises, I explained my story 3 times ( I did a change of address online in Dec 2018 and as of today 2/4/19 am not receiving mail) and she still couldn't understand. She asked for the confirmation number and when I gave it to her -SHE ASKS SO WHAT ARE YOU NOT GETTING MAIL?!! I told her I waited an hour and a half and ALREADY TOLD HER THAT WAS THE PROBLEM! SHE STARTS TO LAUGH-I SAY YOU WHAT'S FUNNY IS HOW RIDICULOUS THIS WHOLE THING THING. Her answer to me is to hang up the phone. You want to laugh at people when you can't deliver mail correctly or even understand when the customer tells you what the issue is 3 dam times? Raise your stamp prices- You will still lose money due to you "Customer Service" or lack of. That's Hilarious to ME.

    Feb 04, 2019
  • anon

    Today my mail carrier delivered a rubberbanded packet of 8-9 pieces of first class mail in my home mailbox. I did not recv any mail yesterday (1/31/19). The top item was for me and all other items were addressed for 2-3 other people on my street. There was already a post it note attached to it marked Addressee Unknown. I dropped packet, note and all in a postal box. I know the carriers work very hard under harsh condition and I empathize. I hope their burdens can be eased somehow. It would make all of our lives better. This is especially disappointing service when other people’s important info is involved! It seems to me (and maybe wrongly), the secret is that high quality work is its own reward.

    Feb 01, 2019
  • anon

    Terrible, terrrible, terrible! I cannot reach the technical support for a week. Left a request with a call back feature nevere got any respond. Sent email and they told me to contact the same number that I've been trying to call. Is it a joke?! They charged me twice for the service that i paid online. Need my money back. Feel frustrated.

    Feb 01, 2019
  • anon

    Hello, Diana. Thank you for your message. We recommend filing a complaint with our Hotline. You can access our hotline by clicking the "Contact Us" tab on the top and selecting "Hotline." This will allow us to look into the matter for you.

    Feb 01, 2019
  • anon

    Been on hold 56 minutes and counting.... I was offered a call back feature but cinsidering the previous 4 calls placed have not been returned I opted to remain on hold. Who has this kind of time to be on hold? How many Custome Care staff members do you have? Personally, I am not feeling very "cared for".

    Jan 18, 2019
  • anon

    Wait time is ridiculous. On hold over an hour all because usps has lost my package. It's amazing how well FedEx and ups does I actually get a human being to speak with in minutes. My Granddad was an inspector general and is probably in Heaven completely disappointed with the way things are now.

    Jan 15, 2019
  • anon

    Real cute. You go to the usps site and fill out their comment form to complain about lack of delivery, and after you have typed everything in, they ask you to review everything you have entered and then click submit. But there is no visible “Submit” button. And I am sure someone got a raise for “miraculously reducing emailed customer complaints “.

    Jan 15, 2019
  • anon

    Good suggestions but ALSO PROVIDE OPTION CUSTOMER CAN REFUSE DELIVERY OR RETURN TO SHIPPER INSTEAD OF HAVING PARCELS FORCED ON CUSTOMERS NO WAY TO PREVENT FRAUD DELIVERY OR UNWANTED DELIVERIES.

    Jan 15, 2019
  • anon

    This doesn't begin to address the issues. The customer service line is practically useless. It is "automated" to the point that one cannot ever get to an option that fits the situation. You have removed the human factor entirely. Service is poor, delivery is glacial, even when paying extra for things like certified and delivery receipts. There is no recourse if the tracking system says something like "in transit" for weeks at a time. It's disgraceful, really.

    Jan 15, 2019
  • anon

    I called my local post office and could not leave a message because the mailbox was full. Trying to navigate the automated system on the 800 Customer Care line that did not address my issue resulted in it hanging up on me when I asked it to connect me to an agent. I recalled the 800 Customer care number and was put on hold with the hold time being greater than one hour. This is NOT customer care. This is an insult.

    Jan 15, 2019

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