Chapter 2 Our Customers
Shipping services face considerable market competition from alternative carriers. These products represent the remaining 10 percent of postal revenue and include Express Mail, Priority Mail, Parcel Select, Parcel Return Service, Global Express Guaranteed, Express Mail International, Priority Mail International, International Surface Airlift, and International Priority Airmail.
Unlike mailing services, shipping services are not subject to a price cap. Instead, prices are driven by the market with a price floor as the only restriction.
Express Mail, the fastest postal product for time-sensitive items, offers guaranteed overnight or second-day delivery to most domestic addresses. The product includes tracking, proof of delivery, Sunday and holiday delivery where available, and insurance up to $100. Any mailable matter may be sent as Express Mail.
Express Mail Corporate Account payment methods were enhanced in 2007. Customers were allowed to make deposits to their accounts using a credit card and Automated Clearing House debits from their bank accounts.
Priority Mail offers customers delivery within 1 to 3 days for letters, documents, and merchandise weighing up to 70 pounds. It provides 6-day per week delivery, security, and preferential handling. Priority Mail includes Delivery Confirmation at no additional cost for the electronic option, convenient pre-paid envelopes, custom-designed boxes such as the shoebox, a convenient flat rate envelope, and a flat rate box, which became permanent in 2007. Packaging material is also provided at no additional cost.
This year the Postal Service earned Cradle to Cradle certification for its Priority Mail and Express Mail packaging that exceeds Environmental Protection Agency standards for recycled materials. The Postal Service is the nation’s first shipping company to achieve this certification standard. The new packaging was introduced by the Postmaster General in May. Customers can now use the same Priority Mail and Express Mail packaging for both domestic and international addresses.
Bulk Parcel Post
Bulk Parcel Post consists of Parcel Select, Parcel Return Service, and discounted Parcel Post. Any mailable matter may be mailed as Bulk Parcel Post except matter required to be mailed as First-Class Mail; Customized Market Mail; and copies of a publication entered as Periodicals.
Bulk Parcel Post must be entered as part of a mailing of 50 pieces or more. Bulk Parcel Post is not sealed against postal inspection. Undeliverable-as-addressed Bulk Parcel Post is forwarded on request of the addressee, returned on request of the mailer, or forwarded and returned on request of the mailer, and subject to the applicable Single-Piece Parcel Post price when forwarded or returned from one Post Office to another.
Parcel Select is the ground package-delivery product designed for medium- to large-volume shippers and consolidators entering packages at destination facilities. In addition, pricing is available for mailings prepared and entered at origin facilities as specified by the Postal Service. The Postal Service holds quarterly meetings with the national consolidators’ senior management to discuss issues such as scanning, service, and manifest accuracy. Parcel Select service performance was at an all-time high in 2007.
Parcel Return Service (PRS) offers an easy and convenient way for customers to send back items that need to be returned, recalled, repaired, or recycled. The merchant or agent retrieves returned parcels from designated postal locations or bulk mail centers. PRS offers full end-to-end product visibility through the logistics partner.
Postal Service international package products — Global Express Guaranteed, Express Mail International, and Priority Mail International — provide delivery within 1 to 5 days to international addresses for shipments weighing less than 70 pounds sent from the United States. International bulk mail products for business mailers — International Priority Airmail, International Surface Airlift, and other mail — provide delivery within 1 to 14 days to international addresses for letters, flats, and small packages sent from the United States.
In 2007 the Postal Service redesigned its international product line, reducing eight services to four to minimize redundancy and customer confusion. International product names now are linked with their domestic counterparts. New packaging was developed that reduces waste and more clearly positions the Postal Service brand.
Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) is the premium international Postal Service shipping option, with international transportation and delivery by FedEx Express. GXG offers date-certain delivery within 1 to 3 business days on average to nearly 200 countries worldwide. GXG is available at usps.com and all Post Offices equipped with Point of Service retail terminals.
Express Mail International is the new name for Global Express Mail. This service provides reliable, high-speed service to nearly 200 countries, with postage-refund delivery guarantee to select destinations.
Express Mail International offers on average business delivery within 3 to 5-days to nearly 200 countries, tracking, proof of delivery, and insurance up to $100. Money-back guaranteed service is available for shipments to Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. Effective May 14, international products were redesigned and rebranded to make them consistent with well-known domestic products. Global Express Mail was renamed Express Mail International.
Priority Mail International is the new brand for the single product the Postal Service created by combining Global Priority Mail, Air Parcel Post, and Economy Parcel Post into a single service available to nearly 200 countries. Priority Mail International service provides the same flat rate packaging as domestic Priority Mail service, including a flat rate envelope and two flat rate box options. The product offers average business delivery within 6 to 10 days to nearly 200 countries. Tracking is available to major destinations in Asia, Canada and Europe, and limited indemnity is provided at no extra charge for flat-rate boxes and variable weight articles.
First-Class Mail International is the new brand for the single product the Postal Service created by combining airmail letters, and economy letters into a new single service. This new service can be used for letters, postcards, and items weighing up to 4 pounds.
Improving International Service
In 2007, the Postal Service was recognized for global leadership in international mail processing with the International Post Corporation’s (IPC) Certificate of Excellence awards for all five Postal Service international service centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco. The Postal Service is the first postal authority in the world to complete the year-long certification process, which includes on-site checks to verify compliance with more than 140 items. Certification is awarded for a 3-year period, with continual IPC validation that performance levels are maintained. The IPC is a cooperative association of 24 postal operators in Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific dedicated to improving the quality of international mail, managing payment systems, and providing platforms for chief executives and their top teams to exchange views.