Delivery is central to the U.S. Postal Service’s mission, and the Postal Service is legally mandated to measure customer delivery experiences. To do so, the Postal Service contracts with a survey supplier to assess the delivery service sentiment of residential customers and small and medium businesses nationwide. The resultant scores have fallen short of annual Postal Service targets in five of the past six years, leaving the Postal Service without many significant insights to strengthen its brand.
What We Did
Our objective was to evaluate the Delivery Survey process for residential customers and small and medium businesses and to identify opportunities for improvement. We reviewed processes, contracts, and results, and interviewed Postal Service and supplier officials.
What We Found
The Postal Service’s management of its Delivery Survey process can be improved. Specifically, the contract terms were not followed: the supplier excluded a required product (for example, “Special Services”), did not sufficiently minimize non-response bias, and did not perform an address quality assessment. These issues were caused by inadequate contracting officer oversight and limited the usefulness of survey results. We estimated $74,933 in questioned costs because the supplier did not fulfill these contract terms.
Further, while the Postal Service’s survey process met legal requirements, there are opportunities to enhance its usage and value. First, the survey is not effectively capturing local, delivery unit-level insights. For example, 94 percent of the 37,498 delivery units received 10 or fewer survey responses in fiscal year (FY) 2022. Second, the terminology of certain survey questions is problematic and leads to incorrect responses. For example, 22 percent of respondents in FY 2022 did not reply with the correct answer for their mail delivery location. These conditions hinder management’s ability to understand local delivery service views, make informed decisions, and meet annual targets. Conducting a cost, benefit, and feasibility analysis on potential options for increasing response rates and using more easily understood survey terminology could increase the usefulness of the survey and the related insights.
We recommended management enhance contracting officer oversight to ensure suppliers adhere to contract terms, particularly those for requisite product inclusion, non-response bias mitigation, and addressing quality assessment completion; and conduct a cost-benefit and feasibility analysis on potential options for increasing local delivery response rates and developing more easily understood survey terminology.