CUSTOMER SUPPORT AND FEEDBACK
Business Service Network
The Business Service Network (BSN) provides customer service for large-volume business mailers. As the critical link between these mailers and internal postal operations, the BSN raised its customer satisfaction score by 2.8 percent over last year after adding 13 national account managers and restructuring the Headquarters and field teams to focus more on customer issues.
Customer Relationship Management
The Customer ID process continued to improve both the quality and analysis of customer data. A more robust online application, Customer Registration, now gives customers access to online postal products and services with a single logon ID. This process offers a better customer experience through increased ease of use, while reducing postal costs.
Corporate Customer Contact
Corporate Customer Contact (CCC) provides convenient customer access to a wide array of services through a network of toll-free telephone numbers. CCC handles queries on postage rates and Post Office hours and locations, assists in the submission of address changes, and shows customers how to track packages. CCC accepts customer orders for stamps through 800-STAMP-24 and coordinates responses to the Contact Us page on usps.com. CCC also adds value to My Post Office, an Internet application that enables Post Offices and branches to manage daily processes. It communicates to local Post Offices corporate alerts and customer requests for pickups, holds, and redeliveries.
Pilot In-House Customer Call Center
A pilot customer call center was launched in Detroit, MI, staffed by qualified Postal Service employees in rehabilitation and limited duty programs. The center provides these employees meaningful work and avoids the costs associated with contractors for this service. In 2007, the center handled more than 900,000 telephone inquiries on ZIP Codes, domestic rates, hold mail, redelivery, and other matters.
Customer Satisfaction Measurement
Customer Satisfaction Measurement (CSM) is conducted independently by the Gallup Organization. Ongoing ratings and feedback assess the customer experience with the Postal Service across a range of interactions. CSM reports customers’ perception of the quality of their mail delivery, the service at Post Offices and other postal retail outlets, and their experiences with other postal services, including phone or online assistance.
Because customer expectations vary depending on the type of business they conduct with the Postal Service, CSM reports satisfaction by customer category. CSM-Business surveys three business customer segments: National Accounts (largest business mailers), Premier Accounts (medium-size business mailers), and Preferred Accounts (small business mailers). CSM-Residential surveys household customers.
A total of 1.1 million residential and 400,000 business responses to the CSM survey were received. The survey response rates were consistent or higher than industry standards; residential response was 21 percent, business response was 32 percent. CSM responses are verified by other measurements, for example, retail experience is also measured by a national Mystery Shopper program and conducted by a different vendor. The data from these programs help area, district, and local managers determine where improvements will most benefit customers.
Residential customer satisfaction maintained a 92 percent rating throughout the year despite the postage price increase. Detailed customer feedback from the survey indicates that customers are responding positively to forwarding and delivery service improvements and more convenient access.
Advertising And Promotion
The Postal Service used various advertising channels to boost customer and business awareness of postal products, services, and access. Direct mailings, broadcast commercials, print advertising in trade journals, and publications such as Deliver magazine showed why and how companies should include direct mail in any integrated marketing communications program. The primary message, across all these channels, emphasized the value of mail and how it complements other media.
During the year, advertising also emphasized convenience such as online services at usps.com and simplified package services such as free package pickup and Click-N-Ship. The holiday campaign communicated a similar message and included the Holiday Mailing and Shipping Guide sent to every household. To assist non-English speaking customers, the Postal Service supplied product translation fact sheets in nine languages at many Post Offices to meet local customer needs.
The Postal Service teamed with two popular American icons to raise brand visibility and product awareness. As part of a marketing partnership with Lucas film to promote new Star Wars stamps, 400 Postal Service collection boxes nationwide were “wrapped” to resemble the robot character R2-D2. Americans were invited to vote online for their favorite Star Wars character, Yoda, in a contest that brought hundreds of thousands to usps.com. Another promotion using the With Love and Kisses stamp, which marked the centennial of the Hershey Kiss, drew almost 200,000 customer entries. During the month-long event, Post Offices helped spread the word about flat rate Priority Mail as “the sweetest deal in shipping.”
For small businesses, Grow Your Business Days promoted the ease and speed of Direct Mail Online Services to design and implement direct mail campaigns right from customers’ computers. An educational program called the Direct Mail Institute used industry experts to train representatives to help medium- to large-size customers understand the value and power of the mail.
The Postal Service served as the title sponsor at the national eBay Live! 2007 convention held June 14 to 16 in Boston, MA. Workshops covered changes to domestic rates and international mail. Attendees also learned about the new PayPal MultiOrder Shipping Solution that allows customers to print multiple domestic shipping labels, pay with one click, and link shipments to the newly launched Shipment Confirmation Acceptance Notice (SCAN). SCAN lets both mailers and recipients know when a package enters the mailstream.
The Postal Service sales force worked with more than 30,000 commercial accounts to develop appropriate mailing and shipping solutions around the core business needs of those accounts. Several key initiatives around direct mail contributed to a successful year.
Sales specialists were certified on selling and supporting direct mail, including branding, customer acquisition, and customer retention. The Branding Through the Mailbox program set in motion customer contact, analysis, and 15,000 customized presentations to marketing decision-makers, leading to $800 million in sales. This program focused on the power of direct mail for more than a dozen key business needs, and its ability to establish and strengthen brand identity for any business. The Package Sales Strategy program provided the sales force with tools to identify product fulfillment opportunities along with targeted presentations for package decision makers. Due to their proven success, these initiatives will continue into 2008.
The Postal Service has achieved great success with its Customer Connect and Business Connect programs, which equip select employee groups to identify and develop new business opportunities. Customer Connect asks city 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 the customer to understand business and mailing needs and recommend the right mix of products and services. Customer Connect has continually exceeded expectations for revenue and participation.
Business Connect encourages postmasters, station managers, and branch managers to sell postal products and services to small and medium-size businesses. 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, to make professional presentations about products and services, and to establish themselves with these customers as the primary local resource for business growth and success.