There is an always-smiling face ready to greet customers at the United States Postal Service’s Wellington Retail Annex in the original Wellington Mall at the corner of Forest Hill Blvd. and Wellington Trace. Her name is Ann Milton, and she brings with her more than 35 years of postal experience.
It all started in 1987, when Milton’s college roommate said the postal service was hiring, and they both applied for a position. “I got the job,” she said. “I didn’t have a roommate anymore, but I got the job, and life started from there.”
At the time, Milton had been opening stores for McDonald’s and didn’t have experience sending letters. “So, it was a learning process,” she said.
But she caught on quickly. Over the years, Milton has learned many lessons while working for the USPS.
“I have learned the value of people versus materialistic things. I’ve learned to be appreciative and humble of people in life,” she said. “I learned how to be happy. It’s not an easy thing for people to do nowadays, but I wake up and I always ask myself, ‘What’s going to make me happy today?’ And I make a point to do that.”
Support from her husband, a good cup or three of coffee, a quiet moment to soak in the morning, mangoes from a customer — all are small joys that make a difference for Milton.
Customer-facing jobs can be difficult, but in Wellington, for Milton, it’s easy.
“We have the best customers in Wellington,” she said. “These customers are so great that they network and teamwork to make sure we don’t have lines. So, it makes the job easier. If you have come in here, you know that customers will step aside and be courteous to other customers.”
Having a long line, she explained, is something that is frowned upon, so she and the team in Wellington truly appreciate that customers work together, and those with a great deal of packages try to come in during slower times.
Milton fondly recalls the days when there were real birds in the original Wellington Mall, and she had been biding her time until an opening was available at the Wellington Retail Annex. It finally came through about 18 months ago.
One of the things she truly enjoys about being in Wellington Retail is that she can share her passion for the postal service.
“I look at UPS and FedEx, which are supposed to be our competitors, and we have tremendous, great rates,” Milton said. “It’s just amazing. I have a habit of shipping anything and everything, probably flat rate, without any questions asked, and I can track it on my own. I use my mobile app and get a text. It gives me comfort. I don’t have to do any research or anything.”
Though the Wellington location isn’t a full-service post office, the annex works hard to cater to the community. Being such a small but mighty presence provides a neighborhood feel.
Customer Service Manager Rob Tobias couldn’t have been happier to have Milton join the Wellington team.
“Ann makes you feel special just as you’re approaching her counter,” he said. “She’s happy to see the customers. You can tell she’s happy to see the customers, whether you’re there for the first time or whether you’ve been coming for years. She has a special quality to her that puts everyone at ease, and you know you’re at the right place. All of our post offices are like that, but Ann makes it that much more special, and brings that certain quality to Wellington. I believe that’s why our customers have gravitated toward us.”
Based on customer satisfaction, different offices are ranked. Prior to Milton coming to Wellington, the site’s ranking was in the middle of the pack. That quickly changed.
“She brought it well into the No. 1 spot,” Tobias said, noting that Milton’s experience as a trainer has raised the bar.
Part of the ranking comes from responding to customer needs. Milton, Tobias said, is incredibly responsive, and she has inspired others to improve their scores, as well.
“She’s encouraging other supervisors and managers to run their stations and answer their customer inquiries the same way,” he said.
Wellington Retail works in conjunction with the Wellington Carrier Annex, located at 3161 Fairlane Farms Road, Suite 1, in Wellington.
Most post offices are in one building. Having detached units in Wellington, it’s different, but it works, Tobias said.
Tobias explained that Customer Service Supervisor Sandra Bailey and Assistant Customer Service Supervisor Nertil Kristollari work together to keep the two entities serving the community.
The end of the month tends to be busiest, Milton said, which can be a challenge.
“But we’re always up for the challenge,” Tobias said.
In addition to unique local challenges, the postal service is also focusing on how to best serve customers and provide a greater value through its Delivering for America plan.
This plan focuses on business customers and providing year-round predictable service six or seven days a week, with 95 percent of packages and mail delivered on time. There’s a new suite of e-commerce solutions called USPS Connect that provides more access to the postal network, and there are new tools, new programs, new resources and new offerings as well. To learn more about this program, visit www.usps.com/deliveringforamerica.