The Postal Service has a fundamental requirement to provide products and services that meet the needs of its different business and consumer customers. The Postal Service continues to improve its monitoring of the business environment through market research, customer satisfaction/loyalty measurements and Customer Value Analysis for specific products and customer segments.
The Postal Service conducted a broad number of studies in 2001 in areas such as billing and payments, package services, advertising, and product pricing. These studies were designed to provide actionable information to decision-makers in support of the development and implementation of marketing and service programs.
1. First-Class Mail
Effective and efficient service is the foundation of our flagship product, First-Class Mail. This year, high service performance was achieved as measured by the External First-Class Measurement system (EXFC). Our continued focus on transactions mail (bills, statements and payments) has positioned the Postal Service to continue to be the primary enabler for businesses and consumers to conduct financial transactions. Continued refinement of the National Firm Holdout program, redesign of Business Reply Mail (BRM) service, and continued attention to two and three-day service performance have all supported improved service in this critical part of the First-Class Mail base.
On October 1, 2001, we successfully launched the new production system for Confirm – the mail tracking system for letters and flats. The improved system contains the following attributes:
- Near real-time data access.
- "Start-the-clock” data to verify place and date of mail induction.
- Service performance measurement tools that enable the Postal Service to improve performance.
- Expanded PLANET Code functionality for increasing the amount of data assigned within the codes to meet mailers’ business needs.
- User-friendly web site.
- Dedicated customer support.
Confirm information allows mailers to make better business decisions by knowing where mail is in the mail stream and when it is about to be delivered. Confirm also serves as a performance measurement system and diagnostic tool for Postal Service Operations to identify and correct operational deficiencies. Deployment of hardware and software to enable all bar code sorters in the field to read and transmit PLANET Code data is essentially complete for both letter and flat sorters. In 2002, we will continue to improve scan rates for flat mail by installing automated feeder systems on FSM 1000 machines.
In 2001, Confirm was the winner of the World Mail Innovation award, which was presented in London.
Product Development began testing several new First-Class Mail application enhancements, including MicroPayment and Friend-To-Friend Mail in 2001. MicroPayment concept uses stamps as a form of currency. MicroPayment reply cards, either business reply or courtesy reply, offer customers the option of using stamps as payment for low price point purchases valued between $1 and $10.