One global business mentioned in the report as a technology leader with high brand equity was at&T. Customer equity is that value of future business purchased by the customer based on brand equity, which in turn means consumer acceptance of the product, customer relationships and customer perception of the value. The postal service would encounter both retention and value problems and would be viewed as difficult to do business with, bureaucratic and would provide less value than its competitors. If there were no competitors, these would not present as problems under a stable and unchanging environment. However, that would not be the case, as the environment was quite susceptible to change. The Commission report said that consumer experiences registered relatively low customer equity according to his or her perceptions of low value, slow deliveries and inability to meet consumer expectations. The Commission is obligated to provide a strong and consistent voice to the views of consumers and argue for equity on their behalf and that of small businesses, both as senders and recipients. Quality of service, the combination of product offerings, the availability of service, and the customer-vendor relationship are the major components of the postal experience. In its highly and increasingly competitive environment where consumers have the right to choose, customer equity is very significant and weighty. Brand equity is that value of a brand determined or established by consumer preferences and spending patterns (Postal Rate Commission).
The key findings of the report on priority mail were that first-class mail appeared to provide equal or better-quality delivery times than priority mail and that postal service appeared to pressure on the public to buy priority mail by insisting that priority mail was transported on the Express Mail network. This was viewed as quite misleading because Express Mail was transported, processed and delivered ahead of priority mail. The Postal Inspection Service also reported in 1999 that return receipts paid for by customers were often never returned to them, or if these were returned, they lacked the necessary signature. The Office of the Inspector General reported to the House of Representatives in March 2001 on similar failures to provide adequate certified mail/return receipt service. The finding also noted that postal service staffing during the tax season was very slow, leading the people and the federal government to lose much interest income. Furthermore, postal service failed to adequately inform buyers about the limitations on insurance coverage and the type of documentation needed for reimbursement. As it was, the postal service required the public to pay attention to lengthy technical regulations and understand the limitations of coverage (Postal Rate Commission).
The most common or major complaints about the postal service are long lines at the post offices; confusion over the difference between first-class mail, priority mail, and express mail (Postal Rate Commission 2001). These types of mail sounded alike and indicated high-speed and high-quality services in the minds of buyers. An Associated Press Poll conducted in 1999 showed satisfaction but not strong satisfaction and that the Postal Service of the federal government scored lower than UPS and FedEx at 70 for the Postal Service, 78% for UPS and 82 for FedEx. The Consumer Federation of America survey showed that there was overall favorable ratings for the quality of service and performance by the Postal Service but less than for that by private competitors. Subjects of the survey considered the Postal Service on first-class mail as good but not reliable and that priority mail did not appear to have any advantage over first-class mail. They also found service to be mediocre and deplored bureaucratic management attitudes, lack of concern for good service delivery and poor behavior and performance by letter carriers. The Postal Service's Express Mail did not have the quality and value exhibited by FedEx, according to them. Overall finding said that between 30 and 60% of Postal Service business was at risk to its competitors, based on the perceptions of customers, as being average or below average (Postal Rate Commission).
These studies and surveys were conducted with respondents who expressed satisfaction over the Postal Service but suggested room for much improvement on the matters of timeliness, responsiveness, insurance claims, buying stamps, mailing a package and picking up a package (Postal Rate Commission 2001). These implications were negative for retention equity and that the general consumer was satisfied with the Postal Service only to a mediocre degree. They are consistent with the overall claims of both the UPS and FedEx on selling satisfactory delivery service to businesses, the government and the general public. FedEx has a slight advantage over UPS in the ratings, not unlikely on account of its current and effective systems and processes, which address quality and continuous upgrading of service, and other programs. As its senior specialist in procurement said, Federal Express Corporation also stood for "For Ever Changing (Smith 2006)."
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2. Postal Rate Commission. (2001). Report of Consumer Advocate on Quality of Services Provided by the Postal Service to the Public. Postal Rate Commission. http://www.prc.gov/oca/papers/quality/summary.doc
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