Regardless of the legislation and regulations surrounding the U. S. Postal Service, there are business lessons we can learn from its experiences.
1. Plan for Change
Nothing in business remains constant. Business owners need to keep an eye on changes occurring in their industry, as well as opportunities for change. It seem like the Postal Service either wasn’t paying attention to, or didn’t notice the rise of UPS and Federal Express. It seems they were looking the other way when email and online invitation and card services arose.
Moreover, once these things became mainstream, the Postal Service didn’t adapt and take advantage. One example is the rise of online ordering. We were warned for years about the coming groundswell of people shopping online. UPS and Federal Express made arrangements with those merchants while the Post Office stood by and watched. They lost market share and allowed the courier services to develop brand awareness.
It’s a prime example of the old guard being rigid and inflexible.
If they had been watching the tides of change they could have addressed them earlier on and maximized their value to their customers. Instead, they held the door open for the competition.
2. Continuously Create Efficiencies
All businesses need to take stock of how they operate to make sure they are as lean as possible. They also should be implementing checks and balances so that money isn’t spent needlessly. A WSOCTV.com story on December 3, 2012 explains that an audit of the Post Office showed how employees were falsifying expense records to pocket money that wasn’t due them.
This is one example of a problem that many companies experience. When you don’t have safeguards in place you run the risk of money walking out the door.
Get the staff involved in brainstorming ideas for becoming more efficient and structured. They will not only have some great ideas but you will get their buy-in if they are part of the problem solving.
3. Create an Experience
I should say – create a good experience! Have you ever gone into your local post office to find 1 or 2 people behind the counter while a line of customers waits? In my town it happens all the time. And there is no sense of urgency on the part of the staff. It doesn’t make people want to do business there. As a matter of fact, this is one of the things that drives people to the competition like The UPS Store.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about what you would like to experience when visiting your business. Now implement policies to be sure you are always providing that level of service. This is how you keep your clients.
If your business is experiencing financial losses like the Post Office is, think about these three things and ask yourself how well you deal with each of them. If you find that you are creating some of the problems you are experiencing – change!
Fixing the experience can lead to greater business which can help your financial situation. Efficiencies can help free up time to be able to provide that good experience. Pay attention to what’s going on and be on the leading edge of confronting change.
These, in my opinion, are the lessons we can learn from the U. S. Postal Service that will keep us from going postal.
Don’t Go Postal Photo via Shutterstock