An Editorial by Lisa W. Hershman, the CEO of Hammer and Co., seems to promote “Voice Of the Customer” business concept in addressing USPS challenges.
As troubled government bureaucracies go, the United States Postal Service has long resided at or near the top of the list. In some ways, it’s an unfair criticism. Many of the structural problems with the USPS can be blamed on another bureaucracy, the U.S. Congress.
But this doesn’t get the USPS entirely off the hook. Long lines, poor service and byzantine rules characterize most Americans’ experience with their local Post Offices. Moreover, the USPS has the power to fix these breakdowns–all it has to do is integrate basic business process techniques.
Many of USPS’ problems aren’t unique. Our firm worked with another national postal service that was plagued with errors, outdated technology, bureaucratic practices and glacial change. It recognized the need to reconnect and better align itself with its customers. One of its customers’ biggest complaints was long lines. Surveys revealed that when sending a package, customers didn’t know what the differences were between “Regular Parcel,” “Express” and “Priority.” They would wait to get to the counter to ask and then fill out the proper forms. So a simple, yet ground-breaking, change was made.
Obviously the USPS has many challenges. But taking simple steps like this–listening to the voice of the customer–will help the bottom line before larger problems can be addressed by Congress. Donahoe has some big challenges ahead of him. His first should be putting in place the practices and processes that lead to happy customers.