The US Postal Service is planning to improve the customer experience as part of its broader effort to create new revenue sources, postal officials said November 17 at a Mailers Technical Advisory Committee meeting.

“A major goal of mine is that I want us to provide a better customer experience,” said Patrick Donahoe, deputy postmaster general and COO,  who will become postmaster general December 3. “[The USPS should consider] how we do some basic things around mail acceptance and how we deal with customers at the acceptance units. We should look at changing some of those things.”

While the Postal Service reported its strongest delivery performance scores in FY 2010, which ended September 30, it did not score as well in terms of customer experience. In particular, small- and medium-sized businesses rated their customer contact as satisfactory only 52% of the time.

Paul Vogel, president of mailing and shipping services at the USPS,  said an improved customer experience is key to growing revenue.

Vogel, who spent two years in the private sector before returning to the Postal Service, said, “My experience has been, and what I am hearing from customers, is that we are too difficult to do business with.”

He said the organization has too many rates and regulations, adding that the USPS’ Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), which includes all of its 1,300 rate cells and regulations for mail at discounted rates, is four inches thick.

“There are all sorts of things we can do to improve the customer experience,” Vogel said. “Some of this requires changes to the DMM, rule changes and new technologies. There are some easy things too, like better communications about our products and services.”

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