Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 4, 2012

Stamp of approval: Ashland Post Office earns high marks

Carrie Stambaugh
The Independent

ASHLAND — The Ashland Post Office is good at customer service.

During the last year and a half, the office’s retail clerks received perfect marks — on 20 occasions — for how they provided service to customers.  

“That is just unprecedented,” said post office spokesman David Walton. “We are very proud of all the employees.”

“The customers out in this community have said we are a good retail unit. We trust our customers and our customers rewarded us for it,” said Ashland Postmaster Marshall Howard. The Ashland office completes more than a 1,000 retail transactions each week, averaging between 4,000 to 5,000 monthly. “Those could take up to 30 seconds to 15 minutes if they need a passport,” Howard said.

“Being busy gives you more challenges meeting those goals,” he said, as the lobby of the post office filled up behind him during lunch hour on Friday. “We try to staff appropriately and try to meet them as quick as we can.”

“It does feel good,” said Matt Smith, supervisor of customer service at Ashland. “They like to have people saying nice things about them, just like anyone else.”

“No one wants to do the stuff that is required when you don’t get 100 percent,” he joked. He said the staff “tweaked a few things” to make sure everything ran smoothly, but he attributed the success to his staff.

“It’s just the right combination of people,” he said, noting most have decades of postal service.

Walton said the post office relies on its “retail customer experience program” to provide feedback on what it is doing well or not so well in customer service, much like other retail businesses.

“We’re always paying attention,” he said. “It is what our typical customer would be experiencing, and we want to know about it.”

It’s even more important, he said, in light of the U.S. Postal Service’s financial challenges. “We’re reducing hours, which helps our costs, but communities are able to keep their post offices,” Walton said, noting postal officials want to ensure interactions are as positive as possible.

Customer service employees at the Ashland office are Mike Ferguson, Kathleen Thompson, Teri Stewart, Kim McGuire, Bob Carter, Osha Malone and Mike Blankenship.