Measuring Improvement

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, private express companies ruled the package delivery market until Congress, concerned about the high rates being charged, authorized the Post Office Department to begin carrying larger parcels to provide an alternative for customers. In the 20th and opening years of the 21st centuries, competition grew for every postal product. The rise of electronic communications and other technologies offered alternatives for sending statements, payments, and personal messages. Private companies continued to dominate the market for the urgent delivery of mail and packages.

Recognizing the need to become more competitive, the Postal Service began to change and restructure in the early 1990s. In 1990, the Postal Service awarded two contracts to private firms to independently measure First-Class Mail service and customer satisfaction, providing benchmarks for evaluating service improvements. In 1993, the Postal Service awarded an additional contract to measure the satisfaction levels of business mailers.

First-Class Mail service performance is independently measured under the External First-Class (EXFC) Measurement System. By 2000 EXFC scores for on-time delivery reached a record high of 94 percent for the first time. In 2006 the Postal Service reported a national 95 percent success rate in on-time overnight delivery, with a number of service areas achieving 97 percent on-time delivery.