USPS OIG: Retail Customer Service Management Alert

Audit Report – MS-MA-15-002 – 10/17/2014 [PDF]

Introduction

POS_surveyThe U.S. Postal Service has implemented an aggressive outreach program to understand and measure the customer experience across all channels and to complete extensive customer experience assessments. As part of the outreach program, the Postal Service developed a survey to obtain critical customer feedback from retail customers. This survey is provided to retail customers at the bottom of their sales receipt with an Internet link and Quick Response Code the customer can use to provide feedback on his or her experience. Sales and Services associates (SSA) highlight or circle the survey link to encourage customers to provide feedback about their customer service experience. Currently, the results of these surveys are reported by the survey company to the Postal Service’s Consumer and Industry Affairs group.

Conclusion

During our observations of retail transactions, we noted that SSAs did not always inform customers about the availability and location of the Point-of-Service (POS) survey link at the end of their transaction receipt. As a result, customers are not encouraged to complete the POS survey, limiting the information available about customer service and satisfaction. Additionally, the Postal Service has not provided consistent guidance about the use and communication of POS survey information to area, district, and unit level offices. Consequently, unit management cannot always take appropriate action to address customer service issues or recognize excellence.

Point-of-Service Guidance

During our observations of retail transactions, we noted that retail associates did not always inform customers about the availability and location of the POS survey link at the end of their transaction receipt. At the 60 randomly selected retail units we visited, we noted that SSAs at 55 of them (92 percent) did not inform customers about or show them the survey link on the receipt. In seven instances, SSAs tore the receipt above the survey link before it finished printing and did not provide it to the customer. Although SSAs have been instructed through stand-up talks to draw customers’ attention to the POS survey link, our results indicated this instruction is rarely followed. As a result, customers are not encouraged to complete the POS survey, limiting the information available about customer service and satisfaction.

In addition, we noted during interviews with four Postal Service areas that POS survey results are not always communicated to the retail units due to a lack of consistent guidance from headquarters. Individual areas and districts vary the guidance they provide on the roles and responsibilities of their district and unit management relating to obtaining and analyzing POS survey information.

For example, we found:

  • One area used information from the POS survey to measure performance at the unit level, while another area left it to the discretion of the districts.
  • One district created the POS reports at the district level and sent them to the units, while another district instructed units to pull the POS reports from the Postal Service‚Äôs Consumer and Industry Affairs website themselves.

As a result of these inconsistencies, unit management cannot always take appropriate action to address customer service issues or recognize excellence. This alert brings to your attention the need to immediately reinforce instructions to employees to inform customers about, and provide, the POS survey link at the end of their transaction receipts. It also identifies the need to provide guidance to areas and districts to consistently communicate POS survey information.

Recommendations

We recommend the vice president, Retail and Customer Service Operations:

1. Reinforce the requirement that Sales and Services associates inform customers about the availability and location of the Point-of-Service survey link at the bottom of transaction receipts.

We recommend the vice president, Retail and Customer Service Operations, in cooperation with the vice president, Consumer and Industry Affairs:

2. Provide guidance to the areas, districts, and units on using Point-of-Service survey information to increase Postal Service customer satisfaction.

 

via Document Library | Office of Inspector General.

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