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Role with it

Postal Service reboots retail training program

Postal employee hands man package at retail counter
Rutland, VT, Retail Associate Dean Noble serves a customer last year. USPS is introducing improved training for retail employees, part of the organization’s broader focus on improving customers’ experiences.

USPS is introducing expanded training for retail associates as part of the organization’s broader efforts to strengthen customer service and help newer employees learn the ropes.

The training will educate newly hired retail associates about postal products and services so they can better help customers. Participants will also receive guidance on conflict resolution, improving their interpersonal skills and working with the newest retail technology.

“The program design is customer-centric with the goal being consistent service nationwide,” said Peggy Havanas, a retail management analyst who oversees the initiative.

“It’s also about changing the Postal Service’s culture so the customer feels they’re No. 1. We want them to experience a friendly, clean, inviting and efficient environment, and that starts with retail associates on the frontline.”

Twelve USPS trainers recently completed an eight-day course on the new program. In April, these individuals will begin training retail associates through pilot programs in each of the Postal Service’s seven areas.

After the pilot phase, USPS will roll out the training nationwide later this year.

One highlight of the new program: mock retail units where the retail associates will participate in role-playing exercises.

“The new program is great,” said Quintta Turner, a Fullerton, CA, retail associate who is one of the 12 employees who’ll train others. “I like the hands-on training of the new retail associates and I love the mock training aspect.”

Havanas said the role-playing exercises aim to better prepare retail associates for their jobs than current training methods, which consist of online courses, lectures, assigned readings and on-the-job training.

“We’re showing them how to practice, which grows confidence and knowledge and will better help with more complex customer transactions,” she said.

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