In writing my book, Silicon Collar, I saw plenty of examples of how machines make human workers safer, smarter and speedier. I also became more aware of poor implementations where the man-machine balance is broken and leads to worker and customer dissatisfaction. In this series, I will highlight some of those experiences.
I love using the APC kiosk at our local post office. The kiosks are accessible 24x7 and allow users to process even elaborate forms of certified and return-receipt mail, to purchase stamps, and to renew P.O. boxes. The kiosks are said to be able to perform four out of five of the transactions normally handled by a retail window clerk. I, for one, find them much more convenient than waiting in line. Yet the USPS has been baffled that even after a decade its customers have not made more use of its kiosks. An audit showed the customer adoption percentage (CAP) was 9% below their target of 35% for walk-in-capable transactions in FY 2013.
I think I understand why
I recently had to wait in a long line to use media mail( Media mail is an author’s best friend – allows you to ship books and electronic media at discounted rates). The clerk told me “the kiosk supports media mail”. I went back and navigated through various menus and could not find the option.
I Googled to check if the kiosk does support it. And found this site with all kinds of comments why people find the kiosk frustrating
- “Media Mail please” – several comments to that effect
- “Self service kiosk was removed from our local post office” and “We need to be able to search (online) for the kiosks as so many have been REMOVED from our local post offices.”
- “Take cash and dispense change. Even a soda machine can do that!”
- “There is NO tracking info on the machine issued receipt.”
- “I'm fine with the kiosk, but just found out, although date/time is on it, its postage doesn't count as "postmarked" for legal purposes.”
Come on USPS, with some minor adjustments, you should be able to get way more than 35% usage!