Government Service

Government customer service has been popular the last few weeks. Maria at CustomersAreAlways has talked about it and so has Meikah at Customer Service – New Competitive Edge. Stories about the government’s customer service are usually horror stories. However, on Saturday, I actually had an interesting interaction with the government’s customer service.

Background
On Friday, I had to call the United States Postal Service to check on if something was sent to me. I tried their automated tracking system, but it didn’t work. I tried to call them and navigate through their endless PBX system, but it didn’t work out well. I then got smart and went to GetHuman and found how to get by their PBX system and eventually reach a human (not exactly easy). I pushed the numbers I had to, waited for a minute or so, and then spoke to a person. She was quite helpful and we figured out my package had been sent to me and should be there the next day (which it was). Once I got to the human, the experience was fine, but before that, it was quite bad.

On Saturday
On Saturday I got a phone call from the USPS and it was a human. Yes, a human asking if I wanted to take a survey about my customer service experience with the USPS. He said it’d take 3 minutes and I said OK. The guy (who judging from his accent was an American probably somewhere in the south – I don’t think the government outsources its customer service) went through the script he had to read about privacy, the rating scale (1 to 5), the abbreviations used (USPS for United States Postal Service), and how to answer (honestly). I was asked some general questions like my ZIP code and if anyone in my family worked for the USPS or any other company that delivered mail and/or packages (such as DHL, FedEx, etc.).

The first set of questions was about the automated system. I gave it all 1’s (the lowest rating), except hold time (which I gave a 4). The questions were along the lines of how easy was use, was it effective, etc. When he noticed I was giving it all 1’s, he apologized for the inconveniences I had. The next set of questions was about the representative. I gave her all 5’s and she was quite helpful. The guy thanked me for my time, said to have a great weekend, and that was it.

The follow-up was quite good. It was prompt, courteous, and obviously, they value their customer’s opinion. I think the reason is because the USPS has some competition. Your captive with the DMV, but not as much with the USPS.
Just an interesting story of a good follow-up by an organization unlikely to do so.