1. Summary

/ Updated on 24.01.2003

The objective of this study is to measure consumer satisfaction regarding postal services in 2001, as part of a series of similar studies which have been carried out by the Instituto das Comunicações de Portugal since 1992.

The scope of this study covers the use, quality and prices of the postal services provided by CTT - Correios de Portugal, S.A.

The results were obtained via the organisation of an opinion poll. The fieldwork and data handling was conducted by a specialised company. The sample defined for this study consists of 1080 interviews carried out between March 29 and April 12, 2001. The results have a confidence level of 95% and sampling error of 3%.

1.1. Main Findings

The main conclusions to be drawn from this work are as follows:

1.On a scale of 1 to 20, the overall assessment of the postal services achieved an average of 14, with a majority of those polled (90%) considering that the last 5 years have seen a positive development.

2.Around 40% of those polled declared that they do not use the new postcodes. 41% of this group stated that it was because they never or only rarely send letters, whereas 26% justified this behaviour due to the fact that they do not know the new codes.

3.The main conclusions with regard to use of the post offices or other elements of the postal network are as follows:

  • The majority of those polled stated that they visit post offices rarely (39%), or only once per month (27%);
  • Approximately 57% of those polled choose to use a post office close to their zone of residence, whereas 14% use post offices close to their place of work. Amongst those individuals that choose to use a post office beyond their zone of residence/work, 15% state that they have difficulties in locating a post office;
  • Peak hour in post offices is between 09:00 and 12:00. Approximately 85% of those polled consider that post offices1 opening hours are adequate. However in terms of preference for other opening hours for post offices , Saturday morning (37%), lunchtime (27%) and late afternoon until 20:00 (21%) were specified;
  • The services with greatest demand were related to sending letters and payment of services. Around 62% of those polled considered that the existing services in post offices are sufficient. However, the respondents suggested the provision of additional services in post offices such as, an ATM (Multibanco) service, submission of tax returns (IRS), purchase of car stamp duty, submission of lottery tickets (totoloto/totobola), sale of newspapers/magazines, Internet access, etc.
  • In relation to information on display in post offices, information regarding prices was considered to be insufficiently visible by 35% of those polled. Information regarding main services (27%) and times of last collection of priority mail and non - priority mail (26% and 25% respectively) were also considered to be insufficiently visible.
  • Around 68% of those polled claimed that it was not easy to find automatic stamp vending machines;
  • In the Autonomous Regions of Azores and Madeira, 47% of those polled considered that the number of points of collection (post offices and post boxes) were not sufficient;

4. With regard to attendance in post offices, the great majority of respondents considered that employees are well presented (67%) and friendly and helpful (78%).
The average perceived queuing time was, for 32% of those polled, a period of 7 to 10 minutes. Around 43% of those polled in the Greater Lisbon Area mentioned this queuing time.
The most commonly perceived maximum queuing time (22% or respondents) was a period of 6 to 10 minutes.
It should be noted that, in accordance with the monitoring of quality of service carried out by CTT in 2000, the average queuing time was 3 minutes and 28 seconds, and peak queuing time was 4 minutes and 1 second.

5.In relation to use of the postal services, the main conclusions were:

  • Around 47% of those polled sent 1 or more letters per month. Around 21% of respondents never send correspondence. The main reason identified for this limited use of the postal services was preference for use of the telephone (54%);
  • Around 54% of those polled claim that they use the post offices' parcel delivery service, and 74% of respondents considered that the price for this service is fair and reasonable;
  • Only 17% had an accurate idea of the standard delivery targets for Non - priority mail (D+3, in which D is the day on which the correspondence is deposited by the client in the point of collection);
  • Only 45% had an accurate idea of the standard delivery targets for Priority Mail (D+1);
  • In the Autonomous Regions of Azores and Madeira respondents seemed to be less satisfied with the quality of the priority mail service. Only 75% of respondents claimed that the normal delivery targets announced by CTT (D+2) are fulfilled;
  • Around 34% were aware of the cost of a stamp for a letter of up to 20 grams by Non - priority mail (PTE 53) during 2001. However, only 60% of these individuals referred to this price in the correct manner. 87% of respondents considered this price to be fair, in view of the quality of service provided. Amongst the other respondents, the great majority (90%) considered the price to be too high;
  • Only 29% of those polled were aware of the cost of the stamp for a letter of up to 20 grams by Priority Mail (PTE 85) in 2001. However, only 69% of these individuals referred to this price in the correct manner. 83% considered that the price was fair and reasonable, in view of the quality of service provided. Amongst the other respondents, 90% considered the price to be too high;

1.2. Recommendations

Taking into consideration the conclusions presented above, the following recommendations were made to CTT:

  • Disseminate greater information, via appropriate channels, about the new postcodes;
  • Disseminate information in a more intensive manner, via appropriate channels, in particular post offices and the CTT Internet Site, about the features, prices and levels of quality of the different postal services;
  • Affix greater information about delivery times for standard and priority mail and collections times on post boxes and letter collection points, and affix information on post boxes and letter collection points for non - priority mail, directing customers to specific post boxes for priority mail;
  • Provide more information on the freephone customer support telephone service, as well as the CTT Internet Site, and disseminate information in a more intensive manner regarding access to the complaints service;
  • In order to help to reduce queuing time at post offices, promote the use of stamp vending outside post offices, in particular, when appropriate, by acquisition in automatic vending machines;
  • Study the possibility of increasing the number of letter collection points and disseminate, via appropriate channels, the location of existing letter collection points.
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