I went to the post office to mail my tax returns yesterday. While the postal clerk was placing the certified mail stickers and printing the receipt, I noticed a printout under the glass on the counter. The title the page said FY 2009 Mystery Shop Script. It’s the instructions to the clerks for what they are supposed to say to a customer. It starts with offering Express Mail.
We can get it there the next day for $17.50. It includes $100 of insurance.
Not the exact words, but something to that effect. It continues with suggesting the next most expensive service, and the next one, followed by the optional insurance, return receipt, delivery confirmation, and so on.
Whoa Nelly! While I’m used to being pestered about extended warranties at electronics stores, I did not expect a government-run postal service would train its employees to extract the maximum amount of money from the customers with unnecessary services. It’s been like that for some time. Whenever I try to mail something, the clerk always practices the friendly power of suggestion for some service upgrade. They do it by scaring you about the possible slow delivery time of their regular service. I suspected something was going on but seeing the script this time really made me sick.
PAUSE AND WAIT FOR CUSTOMER TO RESPOND before offering any other classes of mail!
Note: Hierarchy of offering classes of mail MUST BE IN THIS ORDER — Express Mail, Priority Mail, First-Class and then if needed Parcel Post.
Parcel Post should never be offered unless all other options have been declined by the customer.
I found the script on a forum where postal employees discuss things. I learned that Mystery Shop aka Mystery Shopper is a program run by the USPS. Third-party auditors come to the post office pretending to be customers. The clerks are evaluated on how they perform their upselling. If they don’t follow the script, they will get poor scores. They will get into trouble with their postmaster. If a station doesn’t perform well in these Mystery Shopper audits, the postmaster gets into trouble.