U.S. Postal Service Is Doing Something Right

The U.S. Postal Service Accounting Help desk in St. Louis, Missouri, has earned highly coveted recognition as a Certified Center of Excellence from the Center for Customer-Driven Quality at Purdue University, which benchmarks the performance of more than 20,000 customer service call centers in 40 different industries throughout North America. The Accounting Help desk, which was established just over three years ago, is operating in the top 10 percent of call centers in the consumer products industry.


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“Your call center has effectively optimized the use of people processes and technology to consistently deliver a level of customer service that surpasses most others in your industry,” said Dr. Jon Anton, Director of Benchmarking at the Center for Customer-Driven Quality said in a prepared statement. “Our certification process requires that your call center be both efficient and effective.”

The Postal Service Accounting Help Desk, with 100 agents, responds to an average of 4,000 calls a day concerning payroll, daily financial reporting, money orders and accounts payable issues. In addition to scoring high in the areas of effectiveness and efficiency, the Accounting Help desk also scored high in agent job satisfaction, which is one of the most challenging goals faced by customer call centers.

“To have achieved this certification in three short years is amazing,” said Pat Queen, Manager of Accounting Center Support. “Last week, I attended a Call Center Conference along with about 150 call center professionals and received many questions about how we achieved certification on the first try and in such a short time. I told them it has been a team effort-from the Chief Financial Officer and controller, to the agents taking the calls. In partnership with Information Technology, we implemented new technologies – some external and some external and some on the cutting edge of help desk processes. We work with people who aren’t afraid to try something new and have a group of agents who are proud of the job they do and dedicated to ‘thrilling’ our customers.”

In another announcement that should thrill customers, the Postal Rate Commission has recommended making the Parcel Return Service (PRS), which was launched as a two-year experiment in October 2003, permanent. The PRS offers added convenience to consumers by allowing approved merchants, or their parcel consolidators, to include a prepaid return label in original packages shipped to customers or to make the labels available for download from the internet, should the customer need to return the package. In addition to offering a cost-effective way for merchants to obtain items returned by their customers, the PRS program lowers processing and transportation costs for the Postal Service.

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