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Chapter 2 Postal Operations
of products and services. Customer Connect has exceeded expectations for both participation and revenue.
The Business Connect program provides postmasters, station managers, and branch managers with the tools to help small and medium-sized businesses generate revenue with postal products and services. Postmasters have always been a part of the communities they serve, and Business Connect provides tools and training to identify new customers and revenue prospects, creates professional presentations about products and services, and establishes them as the primary local resource for business growth and success.
To provide additional support to field personnel implementing Customer and Business Connect programs, the Postal Service piloted seven business development teams. These teams played a key role in the identification of ways to increase program revenue and participation.
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 49,000 commercial outlets that make stamps available, including supermarkets, convenience stores, and ATMs.
1. Retail Sales
The retail channel provides local access for correspondence and business mailing, domestic and international package shipping, and delivery through more than 20 million Post Office boxes. The principal users of retail are small businesses and individual customers. Total retail revenue for 2006 was $17.3 billion. Post Offices and contract postal units (CPU) account for approximately 80% of all retail revenue and 96% of all retail operating expenses. Alternate access channels, such as stamp consignment and usps.com, produce the balance.
2. Building Customer Awareness and Satisfaction
Many postal customers are unfamiliar with the Postal Service’s basic products and services. The central purpose of retail marketing is to address this need. The Postal Service deployed new menu board signage, containing easy-to-understand product and price information to all Post Offices in 2006. The new signage is supplemented with quarterly 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.
The Postal Service continued its Postal Team Makeover efforts to provide a consistent retail experience for customers. Currently, 26,039 registered retail units have completed the standardization process. In addition, 12,149 retail units have completed the Postal Team Makeover program. This program focuses on best practices in operational efficiency, sales skills and product knowledge, and promotion and merchandising. To support the effort, retail ambassador teams comprised of one retail associate and one postmaster/station manager/customer service supervisor from each district have been trained to assist local installation heads in improving
their lobby condition, in-store message placement, and merchandise display. The Postal Service developed a Retail Standardization Resource Guide/Toolkit that guides offices through the process.
3. Point of Service ONE
The Point of Service (POS) ONE system is now used in 15,000 retail locations, providing detailed transaction data for roughly 90% of all postal retail sales. Customers at POS ONE-enabled retail locations receive up-to-date information about available products and services and have immediate access to options and price to make more informed decisions. POS ONE transactional data is incorporated within the Retail Data Mart (RDM), which provides critical business information and reports used for operations planning, sales, and market analysis. Retail associates receive timely and reliable information regarding new products and services, updates to policies and procedures, and corporate direction. Managers and supervisors have access to performance data that enables them to make more informed decisions regarding day-to-day operations. These data and customizable reports are available to managers at multiple levels including, most significantly, at the individual retail unit where local managers can now make much more informed and timely decisions about staffing, scheduling, and hours of operation.
The Postal Service transitioned to a single vendor for POS ONE, and 27,539 systems at 6,742 sites were successfully converted from another vendor. The transition process was completed in September and all 15,000 locations now use the same POS ONE software. This conversion will result in more consistent customer service and will reduce support costs by roughly $70 million over 5 years.
4. Retail Operations
The focus of the Postal Service’s retail operation is the effective and efficient deployment, integration, and operation of customer transactions across all types of retail access. These include full counter services, customer self-service, services provided through agents, and online options available on usps.com.
A. RETAIL OPTIMIZATION
The Retail Optimization Access Management System (ROAM) is a geographical information tool used to identify current postal, partner, and competitive retail locations. It identifies placement of retail service points based upon demographic reports, market profiles, and retail expenditure reports, as well as driving times. This information assists in improving effectiveness in managing the retail network and optimizing the placement of retail locations. The application was brought in-house and now utilizes Postal Service logon functionality.
In tandem with a number of initiatives to expand and enhance online, self-service, and carrier-provided services, the Postal Service expanded hours at more than 1,400 Post Offices and added new service options through retail and online partners. Even without counting pickup services, which are available to every customer, at every address, customers now have more ways and places to do business with the Postal Service than ever before.