Disagreements with significant others.
Dealing with the public on a daily basis can be a difficult chore, but Kathy Yeagley pulls it off quite nicely, with compassion, courtesy and empathy.
In fact, Yeagley has turned the concept of customer service into personal attention. Her approach has helped reclaim the United States Post Office’s role as a hub of busy small town life in Campbelltown, and transformed it into one of the friendliest post offices in central Pennsylvania.
Local residents may go to the Campbelltown post office, at 20 North Palmyra Road, to mail a letter. But they come back for the warm feeling they left with.
“My goal is to give the customer the best experience they can have at the post office,” said Yeagley. “All I can do is make the experience here enjoyable. I think that’s what the post office wants. They want people to have a good experience. Everyday I’ve worked here, I’ve had fresh-cut flowers on the counter. People bring them in and they know that fresh-cut flowers have to be on the counter.
“I smile and I laugh,” continued Yeagley. “I could be in the worst situation and I still have to put on a happy face. When that happens, I think of my mother. She was always giving, and I want to be like her.”
Based on an on-line survey conducted by the United States Postal Service, Campbelltown has been ranked the highest-rated among 700 post offices in central Pennsylvania. The survey is designed to measure the level of customer service received during visits to their local post offices.
Some of the comments left by customers on the survey about the Campbelltown Post Office and Yeagley include: ‘Very professional and helpful. Awesome. Makes it right. Friendly. Efficient. Wonderful service. Nice person behind the counter. Polite. Pleasant.’
“When I hear those things it just makes me bubble,” said Yeagley, a 57-year-old resident of Fredericksburg. “It makes me want to do more for the customers. I know the people coming in. I say, ‘Thank you.’
“It’s not about the survey,” Yeagley continued. “If customers are willing to complete the survey it’s because I helped them. It’s about the customer service. If they get good service they’re more than happy to do the survey.”
“She enjoys her job, and the customers enjoy her,” said Karl Kratz, Campbelltown/Palmyra’s Postmaster. “She can take a little more time with her customers because it’s Campbelltown. Maybe there’s some small post office somewhere else that’s saying, ‘If Kathy can do it, why can’t they do it there.’”
By paying attention to details, Yeagley has made the Campbelltown Post Office into a warm and welcoming environment.
Outside, customers are greeted by a quaint, well-manicured garden setting, complete with a water fountain, a small table-and-chairs set and of course the traditional flag pole. The friendly confines inside are decorated with quilts, butterflies, lighthouses, and pumpkins, depending upon the seasons of the year.
“I pick a theme,” said Yeagley. “I like lighthouses and butterflies. It just took off from there. We change things up for the seasons.
“I have butterflies for the kids to find and re-find,” added Yeagley. “I have an angel for the adults to find. I will say to the kids, ‘How many butterflies can you find?’ The kids will say, ‘Do you have anything else for me to find?’ The kids are running to get in here before their parents. Kids enjoy going to the post office.”
Campbelltown and Yeagley accommodate about 340 visits from customers in a week, or nearly 17,000 annually. Like many small town post offices, Campbelltown serves most of its local residents through post-office boxes.
“It has a lot to do with the person behind the counter,” said Yeagley, officially a non-traditional, full-time employee. “I just love keeping customers coming in. Sometimes they’re open with me. Some only open up after I give them nicknames.
“There was one gentleman who would come in and he’d never smile,” Yeagley added. “I called him ‘Smiley’. Now every time he comes in, it’s with a smile on his face. It’s not your regular type of post office.”
Yeagley has worked at the Campbelltown Post Office for the last four years. Before that, she was stationed at the post office in Palmyra.
Yeagley has also worked at the Fredericksburg and Myerstown post offices, and at one time was a rural carrier associate.
“I’ve pretty much always been a people person,” said Yeagley. “I take the approach that the most important thing is the person standing in front of you.
“My husband’s been on me to retire,” continued Yeagley. “But I’m going to have to be old and decrepit before I can. I could grow old here.”
With grace and dignity, of course.
All photos by Jeff Falk.
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