The Postal Service could improve its efforts to measure customer, an IG report has said in making recommendations that could apply to similar efforts at other agencies, as well.

The USPS conducts four major customer satisfaction surveys–of large business customers, the phone helpline, residential customers and small and medium businesses, and of the retail experience at post offices–that produce “valuable information about specific interactions customers have with the Postal Service and also about customers’ broader perceptions of the organization,” the report said.

However, it said that USPS would learn still more by adding open-ended questions, for example asking why a person gave a particular level of rating to an experience. Such questions provide information on the totality of the customer’s experience with an organization beyond that one interaction, it said.

Similarly, asking customers to rate the amount of effort they had to put forth to complete a transaction “could help the organization understand how customers perceive the ease of navigating” its processes.

Also, it noted that in regard to the helpline, positive ratings of the agent who took a call positively are nearly 20 points higher than ratings of the overall experience. “Focusing only on agent satisfaction might obscure opportunities to improve the overall care center experience, like hiring more agents to reduce call wait time or changing work schedules to accommodate call volumes,” it said.