Partnering With Customers and Competitors

The Postal Service has worked with customers to improve mail service since it first began operations in 1971, and even earlier, as the Post Office Department.

Mail Users Councils, renamed Postal Customer Councils (PCCs) in 1971, were first established in 300 large cities in 1961. That year, faced with large amounts of business mail deposited after 5 p.m., the Department began a Mail Early campaign. Local business and postal executives meet regularly to schedule bulk mailings and discuss ways to improve customer service, customer satisfaction, and corporate profitability through educational programs, mailer clinics, and seminars. By the end of 2006, more than 100,000 businesses belonged to PCCs.

The Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) was established in January 1965. Its members represented, and continue to represent, major bulk-mailing associations and organizations, including publishers, advertising mailers, envelope and greeting card manufacturers, as well as representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. MTAC offers technical advice in implementing policies and solving problems and has suggested improvements to the ZIP Code and ZIP+4 programs, handling changes of address, and presorting and barcoding, among other initiatives. It has worked with postal officials on optical character recognition and electronic payment and transactions for business mail deposited at Post Offices. In 2005, MTAC worked on programs to see that large, bulk mailings moved into the mailstream more smoothly and were accurately prepared and addressed; it also focused on service measurement and improvement.

Consumer Advisory Councils, called Customer Advisory Councils prior to 2000, were established by 1989. The councils consist of groups of citizens who volunteer to work with local postal management on issues of interest to local communities.

More recently, the Postal Service has allied with some of its traditional competitors to improve delivery operations.

In 2001, the Postal Service formed a business alliance with FedEx, using FedEx’s air network for the domestic air transportation of U.S. Mail and allowing the company to place self-service collection boxes on postal property. In 2006, the Postal Service signed a new contract with FedEx, continuing the alliance.

In 2004, the Postal Service contracted with United Parcel Service (UPS) for air transportation of U.S. Mail. In June 2006, the Postal Service expanded the alliance, contracting with the company for air transportation of mail to and from 98 U.S. cities.