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Chapter 2
Postal Operations

2. Business Service Network

The Business Service Network (BSN) provides customer service to the Postal Service's largest business customers, who represent more than $39.6 billion in total revenue for National and Premier Accounts or 57 percent of total revenue for 2005. In 2005 the BSN focused on driving user adoption of its customer relationship management application, improving data quality, and increasing customer satisfaction. As a result, 5.5 percent more customers contacted the BSN in 2005. There was more than a 50 percent increase in the number of customers registered to use the online service. BSN results in 2005 exceeded the prior year's Customer Satisfaction Index for National and Premier Account customers.

3. Customer Relationship Management

The Postal Service continues to build applications and best practices to improve the quality of information about its customers' needs and use of the mail. During 2005 more than 20 separate customer information systems were integrated within a common customer identification system, which vastly improved the completeness and accuracy of customer information. A second initiative was the introduction of Customer Registration, which gives large mail volume customers access to online postal services with a single logon ID. As a result, the Postal Service added more than 7 thousand new users to its roster, making it easier for these customers to accomplish postal business and easier for the Postal Service to serve them.

4. Engaging Employees to Grow Revenue

The Postal Service has achieved initial success with its Customer Connect and Business Connect programs, which equip selected employee groups to identify and develop new business opportunities.

Customer Connect, which began in 2004, asks Postal Service carriers to help identify small businesses that could benefit by increasing their use of postal services. Carrier referrals are provided to sales employees who then meet face to face with customers to better understand their needs and recommend the right mix of products and services. Customer Connect has exceeded expectations for both participation and revenue. In 2005 more than $69 million in revenue was generated from more than 34 thousand leads that came from approximately 18 percent of carriers. An additional 1,500 participating Customer Connect locations were added in 2005, for a total of 3 thousand offices. Moving forward, the Postal Service will engage more carriers at the existing sites to increase customer awareness and use of postal products.

Business Connect began in May 2005 and encourages postmasters, station managers, and branch managers to help small and medium-sized businesses generate revenue with Postal Service products and services. Postmasters have always been a vital part of the communities they serve.

Business Connect builds on this role by providing them with the tools and training to identify new customers and revenue prospects, make professional presentations about products and services, and establish themselves with these customers as the primary local resource for business growth and success. Since the program's inception, postmasters have generated more than $35 million in annualized projected revenue with more than 278 thousand businesses through Business Connect. In 2005 over 51 percent of postmasters and station/branch managers participated in a customer activity.

J. Retail Programs

Most Americans buy and use postal products and services through postal retail outlets. Each day millions of customers visit Post Offices to buy stamps, mail packages, or collect mail from a Post Office box. More Americans, however, are now obtaining stamps or other services through alternate channels - by mail, online, from an Automated Postal Center, and through more than 40 thousand commercial outlets that make stamps available, including supermarkets, convenience stores, and ATMs.

1. Retail Sales

The Postal Service's retail channel provides local access for the core product applications of correspondence and business mailing, domestic and international package shipping, and special services, including delivery through more than 20 million Post Office boxes. The principal customer groups using retail are small businesses and consumers. Total retail revenue for 2005 was $17.3 billion, almost 1 percent more than 2004.

Approximately 80 percent of all Postal Service retail revenue and 96 percent of all retail operating expenses accrue from counter services provided at Post Offices and at contract postal units (CPU). Alternate access channels, such as self-service stamp vending and, produce the balance.

To provide convenient, one-stop shopping for postal customers, many Post Office locations offer additional products and services, including ReadyPost shipping supplies and U.S. passport applications and photos. New ReadyPost displays capable of holding standard and decorative items were deployed to 3,839 offices and passport services were added to 500 new offices in 2005. ReadyPost revenue grew 13 percent to $91 million and passport revenue grew 27 percent to over $140 million.

2. Building Customer Awareness and Satisfaction

Many postal customers are unfamiliar with many of the Postal Service's basic products and services. Addressing this need is central to retail marketing. New menu board signage, containing easy-to-understand product and price information, was deployed to all Post Offices in 2005. These are supplemented quarterly with updates that highlight products most likely to be used during that time period. Additional signage in support of passport application acceptance boosted sales of this key retail service.

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