Recently, I’ve praised the US Postal Service for its efforts to shorten the time you spend waiting in line. I thought the agency had turned a corner in terms of customer service.
But I spoke too fast as it appears the Post Office is continuing some of the boneheaded policies that put the agency billions of dollars in debt.
You see, the P.O. has redefined the meaning of the word, “flat,” in terms of its flat rate mailing envelopes. In the past, customers were encouraged to stuff the envelope, filling them to capacity. It a major selling point for customers in terms of convenience.
Now, “flat” means more flat than in the past. An envelope should now be filled to a thickness of less than an inch. You also can’t have the contents significantly change the shape of the envelope.
The Post Office has the right to change its policies but the agency has done a poor job of telling customers about them. At the branch I visited, a poorly copied 2 sided document was left on a table. Somehow customers were supposed to know to look for it.
When I arrived at the counter, I was told that my envelope was too fat and that it would cost me much more to mail it. (Fortunately, I avoided having to pay the additional charge by using my super muscles to compress the envelope.)
It was at this moment that the clerk pulled out a color, cardboard display. It featured a slot that could help you see the acceptable thickness of a flat rate mailer, similar to to the one you see in airports about the correct size of bags that can be stored in the overhead bin.
Why is the postal display not visible to customers before they reach the counter? It was designed to be shown, not hidden behind a desk. Why is a 2 sided black and white document being used as a replacement? It gives the consumer no idea of scale, something the well designed display does very well.
Your company can have the greatest tools but you have to make sure they are used correctly. Otherwise instead of return to sender, your senders will stop returning to your business.