September 14, 2015
Management consulting guru Peter Drucker famously said of business management, “What gets measured gets done.” And the U.S. Postal Service seems to follow that maxim, using performance indicators and other types of measurements to improve performance in many aspects of its operations. But we recently found it could benefit from more such measurement in one area – its Premier Office Program.
This program was launched to establish about 3,100 of the 32,000 total post offices as core retail facilities offering the highest level of standardized service and the best possible customer experience. Participating offices were picked based on revenue and location to ensure all areas of the country have access to a Premier Office. We reviewed the program because the Postal Service plans to expand it to improve customer service in other offices.
Our recent audit of the Premier Office Program determined the Postal Service lacks a comprehensive methodology for evaluating performance. Postal officials look at customer survey results, but this one indicator isn’t sufficient to measure the program’s effectiveness. We recommended management establish a more robust evaluation methodology that includes customer experience, cost efficiency, and revenue metrics.
We also found the physical appearance of some of the offices we visited did not reflect their premier status – chipped countertops, broken glass, empty retail displays, and litter were evident. To be sure, it takes a lot of spit and polish to keep such a large network of facilities tidy. But the Premier Offices have access to special repair and alteration funds not available to other post offices (although managers at half of the offices we visited were unaware these special funds exist).
Clean, tidy, well-stocked public areas are considered critical to the overall goal of the Premier Office Program. While alternative access sales are growing, our research shows people still highly value visits to their post offices. So, it makes sense to give customers the best possible retail experience.
Have your say. Are you familiar with the Premier Offices Program? Does the cleanliness of a facility influence whether you use it? What other qualities are important to you in a Post Office or any retail business?