Making the Global Connection

In FY2016, the Postal Service made progress in its role as a major international e-commerce shipping solutions provider. Leveraging our strengths in business-to-consumer delivery worldwide, 2016 initiatives supported a forward looking strategy to help U.S. businesses and consumers expand their connections globally.

Commercial Outbound ePacket – In FY2016, we signed the first International Customized Mail Agreement for Priority Mail International and Commercial ePacket hybrid solution for Canada. Designed to meet the needs of e-commerce merchants, this option provides a way for applicable customs duties, taxes and associated fees to be charged to the sender and not collected from the addressee upon delivery.

The Postal Service introduced new commercial solutions as well. We added workshare versions of Priority Mail Express International, Priority Mail International and First-Class Package International Service for commercial customers. These presort drop shipment mailing options are now available to most countries and offer commercial customers a more cost-effective solution for their global e-commerce shipments.

Recognizing that significant opportunities exist in the cross-border e-commerce market, the Postal Service developed an experimental e-commerce solution as a market test designed to remove uncertainty and complexity risks facing U.S. merchants and their international consumers. The easy-to-use, feature-rich integrated solution connects existing web stores of U.S. merchants to consumer markets around the world.

Ongoing Bilateral Agreements – The Postal Service has taken a proactive role in strengthening its partnership strategies globally. The 2017 USPS and Canada Post Corporation bilateral agreement, negotiated in 2016, is one of the most effective in market competitiveness with regard to service performance and cost between the Postal Service and Canada Post. We continue to strengthen our alliance with Kahala Posts Group and the International Post Corporation to be more competitive and provide high-quality delivery service.

In preparation for the Universal Postal Union Congress being held in Istanbul, Turkey, in September-October 2016, the Postal Service hosted a pre-congress meeting attended by more than 40 countries. The objective of the meeting was to work collaboratively to discuss and align with other posts in support of the most significant proposals.

Enhancing Global Products – The Global Business group in 2016 examined global trends to better align our efforts to meet the growing needs of customers. We reevaluated products and services and made a number of changes. Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) was added to PC Postage platforms in FY2016, giving more customers access to this premier USPS international service. Additionally, consumers had access to GXG at Contract Postal Units nationwide.

Priority Mail Express International combined the shipping label/customs form. The new PS Form 2976-B, Priority Mail Express International Shipping Label, reduces paperwork and simplifies the customer’s package preparation experience. In the fourth quarter, we simplified the Priority Mail International product offering by moving the Small Flat Rate Boxes and Flat Rate Envelopes over to the Priority Mail International parcel stream. This gives all Priority Mail International products the same features and benefits and makes it easier for Postal Service customers and employees to understand the value of this Postal Service brand.

A number of initiatives in FY2016 focused on improving the customer experience. At the Customer Call Centers, for example, changes were made to the inquiry and claims system to auto-populate customs data, reducing agent handling time and eliminating the need for the caller to provide information that we already have. Additionally, by modifying the process to monitor each customer inquiry to detect a scan that the package has arrived in the foreign country, we’ve narrowed the focus of our inquiry. If the system does not show arrival in a country, our call center agents work the inquiry without contacting the foreign administration. These inquiries are resolved quicker and reduce unnecessary back and forth communication with foreign administrations.

In FY2016, many Global Business initiatives were designed to increase awareness of the USPS international services brand. For example, additional packaging displays were placed in retail units to promote GXG service. This display also includes how to properly complete the label and shipping forms. In addition to signage elements in retail offices promoting international services, the team educated retail associates and Postmasters on how to sell international services to meet customers’ needs. We showed the employees how to ask questions to learn what truly matters to the customer.

Global Business community outreach included a nationwide summer challenge promoting USPS international services with universities and small/medium businesses. Events were held at Post Offices, universities and larger venues in collaboration with Postal Service retail and small business sales teams in a coordinated effort to promote the Made in Rural America initiative.