Editorials

Postal Service: Not a good change in customer service

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Step in the right direction?


Called your local post office lately? If not, you’re in for a surprise. Changes have occurred that take the U.S. Postal Service a step away from a friendly, local organization.

Dial the former number—458-6404—and you’re met with voice mail informing you that the number is now an 800 number. But don’t think that will take you to our local staff. You still have a long way to go.

Dial that number, indicate if you want to continue in English and then listen to the options. Currently, there are seven from which to choose. The selection you want is likely the very last one—“For all other information, say or press one.”

Hold on; you’re not there yet. There are two more options before getting the opportunity to speak with an actual person. We feel some pity for this person, because anyone who simply wanted to call the local post office to ask a question about stamps has by now spent several minutes on the phone working through voice mail. She and her co-workers have probably heard an earful.

The change was made several months ago in some parts of the country. Morenci went “off-line” last month. The change to an automated system, we’re told, was made so calls to local offices can be monitored for complaints.

The new system can also relieve local workers from handling calls that can be answered by another source.

Callers trying to get in touch with local postal workers will undoubtedly see it differently. They’re likely to see one more link to good old small town service broken; one more piece of evidence in the continually eroding luxury known as customer service.

By the way, your voice mail travels will eventually lead to the person who will provide you with the Morenci post office’s new, local number. We asked the local postmaster if we could print the number in the paper—as a public service.

No such luck. She’s been instructed not to give out the number. You’re going to have to get it the hard way.

    - DGG, Jan. 7, 2004