2012 Annual Report to Congress
& Comprehensive Statement

Daily Operations Contribute to Success

Most strategic initiatives are built on existing processes, and much of the organization is involved in the day-to-day work of delivering service to our customers. The Postal value chain is a series of closely linked processes, supported by a common infrastructure.

The overall quality and cost of the system depends not only on the actions of the Postal Service, but also on the actions of mailers and mail service providers.

Mail is entered into the mail stream by commercial mailers at Postal Service-approved locations. The USPS processes the mail and it begins its transportation journey around the country by air and truck for additional processing down to the street level. Letter Carriers then deliver the mail to individuals and businesses that receive the mail.

Customer Outreach

Our value chain begins with understanding and responding to customer needs. Most mail is generated by large commercial mailers, often with the help of mail service providers.

Since the Postal Service serves every business and household in the nation, the size and diversity of the customer base makes the outreach program one of the most extensive in the nation.

The Postal Service has many ways to reach out to its commercial customers and mailing industry partners to share information about what the Postal Service is planning, as well as identify customers' needs.  Some key outreach efforts include: Market Research and Customer Information Systems, the Business Service Network, notices in the Federal Register, the Mailers' technical Advisory Committee, Postal Customer Councils, a quarterly Stakeholder Forum,  the annual National Postal Forum, the usps.com website, the Business Customer Gateway, the National Customer Support Center, Business Mail acceptance units, a Postal Suppliers' Council, and individual contact with Postal Service Strategic Accounts.

The Postal Service helps connect people and helps businesses grow by providing a trusted, reliable and cost-effective channel for communicating messages and shipping merchandise to their customers. Some programs reach consumers and small businesses as well as larger mailers and other stakeholders.

Formal outreach channels involving mailing industry stakeholders include the National Postal Forum, MTAC and the USPS Leadership Forum for stakeholder events.

Through these channels, Postal Service management receives valuable feedback on Postal products, services and programs.

The annual National Postal Forum attracts thousands of customers, suppliers and mailing industry partners who gather to share information and ideas, learn about new developments across the industry and meet with Postal officials.

Over 50 national mailing industry associations representing various segments of the industry are members of MTAC, which serves as a venue for the Postal Service to share and discuss technical information and issues concerning mail-related products and services.

The feedback and recommendations provided during the quarterly MTAC meetings help enhance customer value and expand the use of Postal products and services, benefitting mailers and the Postal Service.

USPS Leadership Forum for Stakeholders events are scheduled close to quarterly MTAC meetings, but are open to a broader group of stakeholders. Leadership Forum events allow attendees to hear directly from the Postal Service's senior leaders on current issues and developments.

Commercial and Consumer Outreach

Image description: In addition to reaching out to larger mailers, the Postal Service also has programs and processes in place to reach out to small business customers as well as consumers.  The Postal Service conducts customer experience surveys to obtain customer feedback on products and performance.  Information about postal products and services is shared through media and public relations messaging and paid advertising and promotion.  Changes to rates, products, and service are often shared in community meetings and seminars.  Postmasters and other postal employees reach out to customers in their communities, and there are processes in place that allow customers with service issues to contact the Postal Service by phone, email, letter, and in person to resolve their concerns.

What's in the Mail?

Part of the outreach program is making fundamental research on what is in the mail available to the mailing industry.

The Household Diary Study is an extensive panel study which tracks the content of mail received and sent by households, by application (bills and statements, payments, documents and correspondence, advertising, publications and packages) and by sender (industry).

This study, which has been ongoing since 1987, assists in the evaluation of trends and competitive positioning for mailers. (See http://about.usps.com/current-initiatives/studying-americans-mail-use.htm)

The CEO of the Mail and the Mail Moment

The Postal Service also conducts research that evaluates what happens to the mail when it is brought into the home.

About 37 percent of households have a strong "CEO of the Mail" who also is typically responsible for managing bill payment and for routine shopping. Mail is an integral part of his or her "job" — and this is true across generations.

Households can be helped to learn how to use mail more effectively — increasing the value of mail received. Mail-intensive households blend the use of multiple channels and are among the most desirable customers for many businesses.