Chapter 2: Postal Operations
B. Product Development
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The Postal Service has a fundamental requirement to provide products and services that meet the varied needs of its business and consumer customers. The Postal Service continues to monitor the business environment for specific products and customer segments through market research, customer satisfaction/loyalty measurements, and customer value analysis. The Postal Service continued to pursue a number of initiatives in 2002 in areas such as billing and payments, package services, advertising, and product pricing. These initiatives are focused on improving the value of existing products and services and developing new products and services which meet customers’ needs.


Approximately 68 percent of letters delivered in 2002 were mailed using First-Class Mail service. Efficient service is the foundation of this flagship product, as shown by results of the External First-Class (EXFC) measurement system. The continued focus on transaction mail (bills, statements, and payments) positions the Postal Service to remain the primary channel for businesses and consumers to conduct financial transactions. Ongoing refinements of the National Firm Holdout program, redesign of Business Reply Mail (BRM) service, and constant attention to two- and three-day service performance have supported service improvements in this critical part of the First-Class Mail base.

First-Class Mail service has been further enhanced by the implementation of the new Confirm® service, which provides customers with the ability to track their outgoing and incoming reply mail pieces. Full implementation of Confirm was completed in September 2002. Confirm information enables mailers to make better business decisions by knowing where their letters or flats are as they travel through the mail stream and the time of delivery. Confirm also provides operations data and serves as a performance measurement system and diagnostic tool to identify and correct operational deficiencies.

Product Development continued to test and develop several new First-Class Mail application enhancements in 2002, including the MicroPayment® service, Friend-To-Friend Mail™ service, and Repositionable Notes.

  • The Postal Service’s MicroPayment concept allows customers to use postage stamps as a payment mechanism for low price point purchases valued between $1 and $10. In 2003, the USPS MicroPayment program is expected to be enhanced to include centralized processing, automated accounting for payment postage, and transmittal of electronic files that contain images forwarded to customers via secure electronic servers.
  • Friend-To-Friend Mail is an enhancement to First-Class Mail service that enables advertisers to reach new customers by supplying their current customers with Business Reply postcards promoting special offers or messages, which also can be sent to interested friends, family members, business associates, or colleagues.
  • Repositionable Notes give First-Class Mail (and Standard Mail) service an extra edge. Repositionable Notes are specially designed and applied Post-it type notes that let mailers affix a message to the outside of the envelope, calling attention to the mailer’s product or service, address, telephone number, or website and inviting customers to look inside. The note can then be repositioned on a refrigerator, computer or telephone, for example, as a reminder or for future reference after the mailpiece is discarded.

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Chapter 2 Table of Contents

A.  Public Perceptions, Customer
     Outreach and Mailer Liaison

B.  Product Development

C.  International Mail

D.  Mail Volume and Service

E.  Mail Distribution

F.  Delivery Unit Operations

G.  Stamp Services

H.  Licensing Program

I.  Commercial Sales

J.  Retail Programs:
     Building the Core

K.  Pricing and Classification

L.  Marketing Technology and
     Channel Management

M. The Internet:
     Transforming the Way We Connect
      with Our Customers

N.  Technology

O.  Operations Planning

P.  Financial Management