Good marks for the portuguese postal services - despite public ignorance of prices and services

/ Updated on 24.01.2002

The Portuguese are generally satisfied with the service provided by their national post office, reveals an ICP study on Consumer Perception of Quality in the Postal Service. The public image of the national operator has improved, with most respondents considering that services have improved in the last five years.

Consumers - represented by a universe of 1080 respondents - were satisfied with the condition of letters and parcels on arrival, the interior and exterior appearance of post offices, the price of stamps and mail delivery times.

However, this perception is accompanied by widespread ignorance of post office services and prices. Most respondents were unaware of many services on offer. Similarly, most had no idea how long mail, especially non-priority mail, took to arrive, or how much stamps cost. Priority mail is less of an unknown quantity, with half of the respondents correctly asserting that mail sent by priority should arrive on the following weekday.

Perceptions of service quality, then, are as positive as they are vague. But some opinions were unfavourable. The lack of automatic stamp vending machines and post office opening hours were frequent targets for criticism.

These opinions were taken into account in the recommendations made by the ICP as a result of the study. The national regulator recommends that the post office provide more information on the new postcodes, quality standards and prices, and that it give more attention to the opportunity for publicizing the customer assistance telephone service and its Internet site in post offices.

Other recommendations include extended weekday and Saturday morning opening hours, more stamp vending machines and more stamp vending points outwith the post offices themselves.