If you watch any national news outlet on a regular basis, you’ve heard all of the bad news about the United States Postal Service. How they must raise the price of stamps, how they are having financial trouble, and all the other bad news, they prove the point that the difference in customer service is people, not ads and signs.

A few days ago, I was at our local post office to send a package using their Priority Mail service. If you’re not familiar with Priority Mail, it’s a very nice service and you can read about all of the features here.

The line at the post office is 11 people deep and there is only one clerk on duty. People are huffing and puffing, present company included, in the line. The huffing and puffing is because the person currently being waited on by the sole attendant has 15 or so boxes and large envelopes to mail out.

Each package requires keying in stuff and calculating postage and scotch taping and making sure of this and that. The nice lady with the 15 packages is getting nervous, because unlike most people, she picked up on the inconvenience this caused for other customers. After a few minutes she goes all 1950’s and announces to the huffers and puffers that she is going to the back of the line, surrendering her position, and letting the others with single packages and less business go first.

While this was a very nice thing for her to do, the real story is the USPS attendant. In my appraisal of customer service excellence, she was terrific. Through all the huffing and puffing she REFUSED to let anybody in the line walk out the door. One huffer tried to escape but she announced “sir, I am almost done I will be with you in just a few minutes.”

The huffer turned around and remained in line. Unlike the ‘just a few minutes’ announcements at Delta Airlines, this nice, attentive clerk really did only take ‘just a few minutes.’ When the 15-box lady surrendered her position, the USPS attendant took care of all the others in a manner that would make Usain Bolt proud.

And it gets better. So help me, she consulted each person she waited on about how better to ship things and how to save a buck or two. Then she left each person with a brochure titled “EXTRA WAYS WE CAN BE OF SERVICE.”

A great person that gave up her spot so the others wouldn’t have to wait and a great attendant. Damn. Makes you want to mail something.

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