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Chapter 2
postal operations

A. Public Perceptions, Customer Outreach, and Mailer Liaison

1. Customer Feedback Analysis

The Postal Service uses a variety of methods to communicate with customers about its services, products, policies, and personnel. The aggregated data from these sources allow the integration of the voice of the individual consumer into business practices and to provide feedback to the appropriate organization to take action, respond, and improve. In 2004 Corporate Customer Contact handled almost 62 million customer inquiries. Of these, nearly 3 million were customer issues that were documented and electronically sent to the appropriate local Post Office or district Consumer Affairs unit for resolution. Reports providing statistical summaries of all documented issues are available for personnel with managerial oversight to analyze trends and take appropriate actions.

2. Privacy

The Privacy Office was established in November 2000 to protect the value privacy brings to the trusted Postal Service brand - both for traditional hard copy delivery and for electronic applications. In 2004 the Privacy Office continued to integrate and communicate privacy issues internally and externally.

This year the Privacy Office accomplished two major goals. First, in partnership with Information Security (IS), it aligned the Business Impact Assessment (BIA) process to fulfill the E-Government Act requirements for federal agencies to issue privacy impact assessments for IT resources containing personal information. The BIA process is a systematic evaluation of every Postal Service system that contains information related to customers and individuals in contact with the Postal Service. More than 300 BIAs are complete, with more in process.

Second, the Privacy Office furthered its goal to develop effective, streamlined processes and tools for employees and customers. These included automation of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request processing through the e-FOIA Tracking System. This system will automatically generate the next FOIA Annual Report while reducing resources required for extensive manual hard copy processing.

3. Customer Outreach and Mailer Liaison

a. National Postal Forum

In 2004 the Postal Service directed and supported the National Postal Forum (NPF) in Washington, DC, which was attended by more than 6,000 business customers and exhibitors.

Knowledge is Power was the NPF theme, providing attendees with insight into the vision, plans, and priorities of postal and mailing industry leaders. Postal Service executives, along with industry leaders, led discussion groups that addressed issues of interest to remittance, periodicals, package, and advertising mailers. NPF attendees also were offered sessions on address management, costs and rates, and fraud scams.

The forum's training and education program offered customers more than 100 workshops. As part of the Postal Service's commitment to continuing education, six certificate programs were offered with more than 1,500 participants.

This year's forum also featured five, full-day symposia on Marketing, Government, Periodicals, Packages, and Remittance Mail. Complementing the forum's educational program was the exhibit floor, which featured hundreds of companies displaying the latest in mailing supplies, services, automation equipment, software, and computers.

b. Executive Mail Center Manager Program

In response to feedback from the mailing industry the Postal Service partnered with mailing industry professionals and nationally recognized training experts to develop the U.S. Postal Service Executive Mail Center Manager Program. The program has been operational since December 2001. To date approximately 175 mailing industry professionals have completed the comprehensive, one-week training program. The program was expanded in 2004 and is now offered locally to mailing industry professionals nationwide through the Postal Customer Council (PCC) network.

c. Postal Customer Councils

PCCs are local, grassroots business organizations. They provide the Postal Service the opportunity to enhance its working relationship with local businesses and to better understand their needs.

During 2004 almost 200 local PCCs held more than 2,000 customer meetings. Many PCCs actively sought the participation of small- and medium-sized businesses through the Direct Mail Made Easy seminars. As a result of these seminars, more than 200 individuals became new PCC members.

"Keeping Posted" is a featured column about PCCs in Memo to Mailers. Complementing the newsletter is the national PCC Web site at In 2004 this site was cross-linked with and the Mailpiece Quality Control Program Web site to create synergy between the customers visiting these sites.