Service Design and the Genius of USPS Flat Rate Shipping

I’ve never had much experience with shipping until I sold my old laptop on eBay. Coming into the situation, I didn’t think twice about shipping. I was soon to realize how frustrating and complex shipping can be for the average person. But in the midst of it all, I found a stroke of genius.

I’d like to formally applaud USPS for their Flat Rate shipping. Not only was it extremely easy, “if it fits it ships” but it really shows an understanding of their customer’s needs.

This is a perfect example of excellent service design. USPS looked as the frustrations and inefficiencies of their service from the end user. They eliminated confusion by providing very clear and simple ways to ship. They unified unnecessary variables of shipping by making cost, box size, and weight the same parameter. I’m able to walk into USPS, find the right box to fit what I want to ship and that’s it – that’s how shipping should be. USPS has even gone so far as to integrate adhesive strips into the boxes so that you don’t have to worry about tape.

In a way excellent service design is invisible. But that’s exactly how it should be. A service should not be unnecessarily complex. I should leave feeling happy and float through using the service with ease. It’s more than just intelligent design, it’s being able to conceptually simplify a process at a high level.

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