Improving the Retail Experience

A visit to the Post Office has been a shared experience by Americans for nearly 240 years. Ensuring that visit is effective, efficient and meets customer expectations requires a focused commitment and ongoing effort by the Postal Service.

Customer Satisfaction — Retail performance is measured by the Retail Customer Experience (RCE) program, as well as by surveys of residential and small and medium business customers. The RCE program uses private “mystery shoppers” to conduct mailing transactions at over 8,000 of our large retail outlets. Data from these transactions are analyzed and evaluated, and feedback is provided to help improve the customer experience. Other customer experience ratings, including overall satisfaction with Post Office visits, are collected quarterly through national surveys of residential and small business customers.

One key measure of a customer’s retail experience is the time spent waiting in line. The service standard for this attribute is “Five Minutes or Less.” For FY2015, the national wait time in line average was 2 minutes, 36 seconds versus the prior year of 2 minutes, 24 seconds, an increase of 12 seconds. The overall retail experience score from the RCE mystery shops was 92.63 percent versus the previous year score of 93.86, a reduction of 1.23 percentage points.






Average Wait (mm:ss)




Overall Retail Experience*




*Source: Retail Data Mart, Retail Customer Experience Program.

Mobile Point of Sale — New technology is changing — and improving — how we conduct business with our customers at our retail locations. In FY2015, the Postal Service expanded use of Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) devices to 3,081 Post Office locations nationwide, performing over 6.7 million transactions and generating $17.9 million in revenue. mPOS debuted in 68 Post Offices during FY2014 and was expanded to support FY2015 holiday operations.

Using this innovative technology, retail associates can process many simple transactions in the lobby, away from the full-service counter — customers can “swipe and go” without waiting in line. The mPOS solution consists of an Apple iPod Touch, integrated barcode scanner and credit card reader, wireless receipt printer and wireless label printer.

Customers benefit from the convenience of being able to conduct transactions quickly and efficiently. Acceptance of prepaid mailpieces, for example, accounted for over 68 percent of mPOS transactions in FY2015. In addition, customers that were not home during a delivery attempt can pick up and sign for mailpieces using mPOS.

It also helps reduce costs for the Postal Service. Revenue services such as Priority Mail Flat Rate postage, Forever stamp booklets and other retail products (such as ReadyPost supplies or greeting cards) can be transacted with a major credit card. Customers sign directly on the device’s screen and can get either a paper or email receipt, an option that helps reduce paper costs and supports the Postal Service’s efforts to “go green.”

Alternate Access — We also provide our customers with convenient alternate access to our products and services. Many people prefer to use our self-service kiosks, online mailing and shipping and mobile app. Or they can turn to our Approved Postal Provider network, where customers can purchase stamps, mail a letter or ship a package. These retailers generate additional incremental revenue for the Postal Service by offering our products and services in places where we can’t. Another option is a Village Post Office (VPO). In FY2015, the number of VPOs continued to grow, serving customer needs in both rural and metropolitan locations in 43 states. VPOs offer the most popular USPS products and services, including Priority Mail Forever Prepaid packaging, Forever postage stamps and Post Office Box rentals. VPOs are primarily located in community small businesses such as convenience stores, grocery stores and other neighborhood specialty businesses. These businesses offer extended business operating hours in locations that are convenient to the customers they serve. (See Retail Revenue by Channel table.)