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1. Customer Feedback Analysis
The Postal Service uses a variety of means to communicate with customers about products, services, and policies. The information from these customer contacts allows for its integration into postal planning and business practices. In 2005 the Postal Service Corporate Customer Contact handled more than 65 million customer inquiries via phone, Internet, and mail. Of these, nearly 2.8 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. The Postal Service also incorporates feedback that is received through its Business Service Network from business customers.
The Postal Service established a Privacy Office in 2000 to protect the value that privacy brings to the trusted Postal Service brand. Re-designated in 2005 as the Privacy Office, Consumer Policy and Strategy, it continued to integrate and communicate privacy issues, while expanding support for customer policies and procedures.
This year the Postal Service accomplished three key privacy goals. First, it inaugurated comprehensive and specialized Postal Service privacy training. Training consists of a general session on Postal Service policies and practices for proper collection, use, and protection of customer and employee information. In addition, customized sessions were built and delivered that focused on case studies of major companies that experienced a variety of significant privacy breaches.
Second, it published a revised Postal Service Privacy Act Systems of Records. Although the number of systems was reduced by half, from 90 to 45, the new systems broaden coverage and compliance with the Privacy Act. They are easier to use for employees and customers whose data is protected, as well as for management personnel with compliance responsibilities.
Third, the Postal Service furthered its goal to develop streamlined tools for employees and customers. This included automation of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request processing through the eFOIA Tracking System. This system will reduce resources required for extensive manual hard copy processing. In 2005 the tracking system electronically processed requests and automatically generated the 2004 FOIA Annual Report required for submission to Congress.
3. Customer Outreach and Mailer Liaison
A. NATIONAL POSTAL FORUM
In 2005 the Postal Service directed and supported the National Postal Forum (NPF) in Nashville, TN. Attendees included more than 6 thousand business customers and exhibitors. The NPF theme was "Where Knowledge and Innovation Connect," which provided 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. Sessions on address management, costs and rates, and preventing fraud scams were offered.
More than 2 thousand participants attended 130 training and education program workshops. Eleven certificate programs were offered as part of the Postal Service's commitment to continuing education. The 2005 Forum also featured five 1-day symposia on Marketing, Printing, Periodicals, Packages, Mail Intelligence, and Research. The forum's educational program was complemented by the exhibit floor, which featured hundreds of companies displaying the latest in mailing supplies, services, automation equipment, software, and systems.
B. EXECUTIVE MAIL CENTER MANAGER PROGRAM AND MAIL DESIGN PROFESSIONAL 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. Offered as both a residency program and through the Postal Customer Council (PCC) network, the program has been operational since December 2001. To date, 550 mailing industry professionals have completed this comprehensive 40-hour program.
The Mail Design Professional Program was developed in August 2004 for mailing industry professionals. The 32-hour curriculum is focused on technical skills needed to prepare mail while optimizing its compatibility with Postal Service automated equipment to ensure greatest efficiency and cost savings.
C. POSTAL CUSTOMER COUNCILS
The Postal Service and its customers have long benefited from collaborating through grassroots organizations such as the Postal Customer Councils (PCC). The mission of PCCs is to enhance working relationships with local businesses, to better understand customer needs, and to educate customers on Postal Service products and services to help businesses grow. Current membership represents more than 100 thousand businesses. In June 2005 the PCC "Directory of Mail Service Providers" was launched to connect local business with local service providers. "Keeping Posted" is a featured column about PCCs in Memo to Mailers, a monthly magazine distributed to 150 thousand commerical mailers. Complementing this publication is the national PCC Web site at usps.com/nationalpcc. In 2005 the site was redesigned with improved navigation and value-added content. The average number of monthly visitors to the site was 4,300.