Delivering an Excellent 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 two programs, the Retail Customer Experience (RCE) program and the Point of Sale (POS) Survey. The RCE program uses private “mystery shoppers” to conduct mailing transactions at over 7,700 of our large retail outlets. Data from these transactions is analyzed and evaluated, and feedback is provided to help improve the customer experience. With the POS Survey, a URL and QR code are printed at the bottom of the customer receipt. We encourage customers to provide their feedback on a short 6-question web-based survey.

In FY2016, the Postal Service made several changes to the survey to better inform us of key aspects of a customer’s visit. The overall retail experience score from the RCE mystery shops was 90.76 percent versus the previous year score of 92.63, a reduction of 1.87 percentage points. One key measure of a customer’s retail experience is the time spent waiting in line, and the service standard for this attribute is “Five Minutes or Less.” For FY2016, the national wait time in line average was 2 minutes, 48 seconds versus the prior year of 2 minutes, 36 seconds, an increase of 12 seconds.






Average Wait (mm:ss)




Overall Retail Experience*




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

Mobile Point of Sale – Technology is changing and improving the way we conduct business with our customers at our retail locations. The mPOS solution — Mobile Point of Sale — is an example of how the Postal Service is doing just that. The device consists of an Apple iPod Touch, integrated barcode scanner and credit card reader, wireless receipt printer and wireless label printer. The Postal Service continues to add new applications to mPOS. One such application that was added this past year — “In Person Proofing” (IPP) — gives the Postal Service a means of helping its customers validate their personal information for several different applications.

The mPOS made its debut in 2014 at 68 Post Offices. By 2015, more than 6.7 million transactions had been conducted on the mPOS generating more than $17 million dollars in revenue. At the end of FY2016, there were more than 2,900 mPOS sites across the nation with over 26 million transactions being conducted and more than $92 million dollars being generated in revenue. This represents approximately a 284 percent increase in transactions and a 427 percent increase in sales from the prior year.

Our customers and the Postal Service have seen the benefits of mPOS. Customers have enjoyed the “swipe and go” convenience of being able to conduct transactions quickly and efficiently without waiting in line. Whether they’re picking up a package or dropping off a prepaid mailpiece, customers are experiencing extra convenience at the retail counter through the use of mPOS. Using this innovative technology, Sales and Service Associates have the ability to process many of the simpler transactions in the lobby. Customers can get either a paper or email receipt, an option that also reduces paper costs for the Postal Service as well as supports its “go green” efforts.

Alternate Retail Access Points – We also provide our customers with convenient alternate access options to our products and services. Customers can choose to use our self-service kiosks, online mailing or our shipping and mobile applications. They can likewise opt to utilize our Approved Postal Provider network where they can purchase stamps, mail a letter or ship a package. These contracted and licensed retailers generate additional incremental revenue for the Postal Service by offering our products and services in places where our customers live, work and shop and at times that are convenient for them. The Approved Postal Provider network includes Contract Postal Units (CPUs), Contract Post Offices (CPOs), Village Post Offices (VPOs) and Approved Shippers (AS). In FY2016, the Approved Postal Provider network consisted of nearly 12,000 locations nationwide.

The Postal Service periodically reviews the characteristics of our products and services and how customers are using them. In FY2016, we reviewed the PC Postage channel. The review uncovered that key characteristics of this channel had changed since 2008. As a result, the Postal Service changed how it categorized PC Postage from retail to commercial revenue. This impacted the metrics that we have traditionally used to measure alternate access. With this change, retail window brick and mortar now represents 76 percent of our total retail revenue.