DECEMBER 2010

FRONT PAGE WHAT'S UP INSIDE SCOOP
KEEPING POSTED SPOTLIGHT ON SUCCESS INFO@USPS

FRONT PAGE

PATRICK DONAHOE named POSTMASTER GENERAL

DEFINES CORE BUSINESS STRATEGIES

Patrick Donahoe

The 73rd Postmaster General of the United States, Patrick Donahoe, has defined the core business strategies that will guide the organization to become “a profitable, nimble Postal Service that competes for customers and has a well-defined and valued role in an increasingly digital world.”

Donahoe’s strategies will drive significant change in the organization in the coming days, weeks and months. “We are not going to stray from our core business function — mail and package delivery — but we are going to revitalize the way we approach the marketplace,” he said.

The core strategies, which will be more fully detailed as specific initiatives are announced, include:

  • Strengthening the business to consumer channel,
  • Improving the customer experience,
  • Competing for package business; and
  • Becoming a leaner, faster and smarter organization.

“We have to win customers and find ways of complementing and adding value to the evolving nature of the way people communicate and conduct business,” said Donahoe. “We are at the beginning of a new chapter in the history of our organization, and we will all help write it.”

Prior to his new appointment, which was effective Dec. 4, Donahoe served as Deputy Postmaster General and Chief Operating Officer.

POSTAL SERVICE CUSHIONS FLAT RATE ENVELOPE OFFERING

LEGAL ‘EAGLE’ NOW AVAILABLE, TOO

Padded Flat Rate, Legal Flat Rate, and Priority Flat Rate Envelopes.
Priority Mail Padded and Legal, and Express Mail Legal Flat Rate Envelopes.

The Postal Service is expanding its portfolio of flat rate packaging for customers shipping Priority Mail and Express Mail domestically and internationally.

The Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Envelope measures 12 ½ inches by 9 ½ inches and is ideal for lightweight merchandise. It will be available to all Priority Mail customers in January and is priced the same as the Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope and the Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelope, respectively.

The Priority Mail Legal Flat Rate Envelope and the Express Mail Legal Flat Rate Envelope each measure 15 inches by 9 ½ inches, allowing customers to send legal-size documents without folding. The Priority Mail Legal Flat Rate Envelope and the Express Mail Legal Flat Rate Envelope will be available in January for both domestic and international mailing.

The Priority Mail Legal Flat Rate Envelope is priced the same as the Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope and the Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelope, respectively.

The Express Mail Legal Flat Rate Envelope is priced the same as the Express Mail Flat Rate Envelope and the Express Mail International Flat Rate Envelope, respectively.

The Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Envelope and the Priority Mail Legal Flat Rate Envelope may be ordered online at usps.com/shop.

The Express Mail Legal Flat Rate Envelope is available at retail Post Office locations and at usps.com/shop.

NEW REGIONAL RATE BOX

GIVES SHIPPERS A FLAT RATE WITH ZONE PRICING

Regional Rate Boxes.
Regional Rate Boxes.

The Postal Service is introducing an affordable option for Priority Mail Commercial Base and Commercial Plus customers shipping small and dense packages in domestic zones 1 thru 4 — the Regional Rate Box.

There will be two Regional Rate Box types (offered in top-loaded or side-loaded options) with a letter identifier for each type: A or B. Priority Mail Regional Rate Box prices are based on the box that is used and the destination zone.

Regional Rate Box A has a 15-pound maximum weight limit and starts at $4.97. Regional Rate Box B has a 20-pound maximum weight limit and starts at $5.81.

This new offering also can be used with Merchandise Return Service (MRS) parcels returned at Priority Mail prices.

Postal Service-produced packaging is required, which can be ordered online at usps.com/shop.

Customers can find more information about Regional Rate Box requirements by referring to the product’s Federal Register final rule, which is posted online at pe.usps.com.

NEW ‘CRITICAL MAIL’ PRODUCT

A CRITICAL OFFERING FOR COMMERCIAL PLUS CUSTOMERS

Critical Mail Envelopes.
Critical Mail Envelopes.

Critical Mail is another innovative product offering starting in January for Commercial Plus customers. Offering fast, consistent time-in-transit service for sensitive documents such as event tickets, identification cards and high-value direct mail, Critical Mail provides customers with tracking and free Delivery Confirmation. Critical Mail is a category of Priority Mail with First-Class Mail service standards.

Customers can find more information about Critical Mail requirements by referring to the product’s Federal Register final rule, which is posted online at pe.usps.com.

WHAT’S UP

HAVE IT YOUR WAY WITH STAMPS NOW

STAMPS Now is a new program for businesses, allowing them to design an account to meet their needs for stamp and envelope purchases. There's no cost to establish an account, and customers can order as needed or on a set schedule.

Program Summary:

  • Stamp products include booklets, panes, coils of 100 and coils of 10,000. (There is no waiting for an office order of large coils).
  • All denominations and all current stamp designs are available.
  • Prepaid Priority Mail envelopes also are available.
  • Envelopes include personalized Stamped Envelopes.
  • Businesses can have their orders sent to one place or place an order for multiple locations. A $1 shipping fee is charged for each order shipped.
  • Business accounts can select their payment method: ACH (account clearing house), business check, FedWire, money order or credit card.
  • Customers can select a reconciliation report format that fits their monthly reporting needs.

Stamps Now can be reached at 1-800-STAMP-24; at fax 1-816-545-1202; and at orders-stampsnow.orders@usps.gov. Customers also can request account information through stampsnow.info@usps.gov.

A HOLIDAY GIFT FOREVER TO BUSINESS MAILERS

Liberty and Flag FOREVER stamps.
Lady Liberty and U.S. Flag Forever Stamps.

Business mailers across the nation will receive a special holiday gift from the U.S. Postal Service this season with the issuance of two, new, First-Class Mail Forever Stamps on convenient coils.

“Our customers have spoken, and we have listened,” says David Failor, executive director, Stamp Services. “This is a customer convenience that will last forever.”

The Lady Liberty and U.S. Flag Forever Stamp coils are now on sale at select Post Offices nationwide, online at www.usps.com, and by phone at
1-800-STAMP-24.

As the name suggests, Forever Stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price and can be used to mail a 1-ounce letter at any time, regardless of when the stamps are purchased and no matter how prices may change in the future.

2011 PRIORITY MAIL CUBIC TIER MEASUREMENT AVAILABLE NOW

When the Postal Service changes Shipping Services prices Jan. 2, 2011,
a change in the method for calculating Priority Mail Commercial Plus cubic pricing tiers also will be implemented.

At that time, customers measuring pieces to calculate pricing tiers should round down any fraction of a measurement to the nearest .25 inch, as opposed to the current method of rounding off to the nearest whole inch.

In anticipation of this change, and to help ease the transition, the Postal Service will immediately begin accepting Priority Mail Commercial Plus cubic mailings using the modified measurement approach without customers having to request an exception for early adoption.

The final rule, “Domestic Shipping Services and Mailing Standards Changes,” can be viewed on the Postal Explorer website at pe.usps.com by clicking on “Federal Register Notices” in the left frame.

POSTAL SERVICE YEAR-END REPORTS ONLINE

This year may be remembered for steep declines in mail volume and revenue, or the continued requirement to prefund retiree health benefits. However, that’s only part of the story.

Among the best stories of 2010 are how employees continued to deliver superior service and kept customer satisfaction at record levels — all while reducing work hours to increase productivity.

The Comprehensive Statement on Postal Operations puts the year in context and provides a broad summary of actions taken over the year, including product and service improvements for customers, initiatives for employees and operational enhancements. Readers also will learn how the Postal Service was able to achieve a better-than-plan operating income, which is discussed in more detail in the Annual Report.

Read more about the challenges and accomplishments in the year-end reports now on usps.com. Click here for the Comprehensive Statement and here for the Annual Report.

MIGRATING TO IMb WEBINARS

The deadline for conversion to the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) is fast approaching. In May 2011, to be eligible for automation discounts on letter-size and flat-size mailpieces, mailers will be required to use the IMb with either Full Service or Basic options, in place of the POSTNET barcode.

Additionally, the PLANET Code barcode, used with Confirm service for mail tracking, will be retired.

To help mailers with the transition, webinars titled “Migrating to the IMb” are being offered now through May 3, 2011. For the webinar schedule and log on information, visit the RIBBS website under Intelligent Mail Latest News.

STOCKING STUFFERS FROM THE POSTAL SERVICE

Stocking stuffers from the Postal Service.

Ideal for customer appreciation gifts and stocking stuffers, the new Let it Snow CD and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer DVD are now available from the U.S. Postal Service at select major metropolitan Post Offices or online at usps.com/shop.

”Customers can buy the CD, DVD and other gifts for great prices and ship them at even better prices from the same, convenient location,” says Tim Healy, vice president, Retail Products and Services.

The Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer DVD, featuring Rudolph and Hermey the Elf, is part of a gift pack that includes a special Rudolph–themed Flat Rate Box. It costs $11.24

The Let it Snow CD, featuring Paul McCartney, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and other top stars, comes with a themed gift box and mailing label at a cost of $9.74. The CD is produced in association with the Concord Music Group.

FYI

Online registration for the 2011 National Postal Forum will begin in January 2011. Be sure to register early to take advantage of early bird discounts and reserve your hotel room in the National Postal Forum room block. Click here for NPF information.

INSIDE SCOOP GRAPHIC: USPS will process an average of 661 pieces of mail each day during the holidays.

KEEPING POSTED

2011

  • National Postal Forum, May 1-4, San Diego, CA

  • National PCC Day, September 21, Tampa, FL

INFO@USPS

YOUR LINKS TO MAILING RESOURCES

U.S. Postal Service: usps.com
National PCC Network: usps.com/pcc
RIBBS: ribbs.usps.gov
Questions? Comments? Send an e-mail to pccinsider@usps.gov
Sign up for PCC Insider at usps.com/pcc, select “PCC Insider Registration”
PCC Insider online archives
PCC Management Insights online archives

SPOTLIGHT ON SUCCESS

ONE STICKY SITUATION YOU’LL LIKE TO BE IN

“We were flooded with updates the first 48 hours after the mailing was delivered,” says Ann Elliott, communications chair and industry vice co-chair, Tampa PCC. The mailing she’s talking about was a recent membership outreach comprising 1,600 newsletters that included a Repositionable Note — or “sticky note” — next to the address box to prompt and remind members to submit address changes to the organization.

Repositionable Notes (RPNs) allow mailers to affix a message to the outside of an envelope — or on a magazine, catalog or newspaper — to grab customers’ attention quickly to improve open-and-read rates. They also permit a direct mail piece to be more actionable by driving readers to respond to an offer.

In Elliott’s newsletter mailing, the RPN’s message called out members’ first names and included this text: “Help us keep our mailing list clean! E-mail changes to...” Elliott says that she usually receives only one or two address updates per mailing, but with the RPN mailing, she received 50 — representing a 25- to 50-fold increase in response rate.

“In test mailings we conducted a few years ago with actual businesses, packages with RPNs outperformed packages without RPNs by as much as 44 percent,” says Paul Vogel, USPS president and chief marketing/sales officer. “Marketers love this tool for its low cost and high rate of increasing incremental response.”

Elliott says that RPNs that state, “Last chance to register!” are ideal for the postcard mailings the Tampa PCC sends out to remind members to register for upcoming seminars. Members can just peel off the sticky notes and re-stick them by their phones or computers as a trigger mechanism. “We absolutely plan to use Repositionable Notes again; they will definitely be an integral part of our communications plan.”

There are many uses for RPNs. They can be used as teaser copy, as a coupon that can be redeemed or as a reminder notice to be placed on a calendar.

RPNs must be approximately three inches square and can be placed on any flat mailing, periodical or direct mail piece. The notes must not interfere with access to the mailing label, but can be placed in various spots on the envelope or mailer. “RPNs can increase the life of the mailer,” adds Vogel, “as well as the company’s return on investment.” RPNs can also be placed on letters, but must be placed in a defined location adjacent to the address block.

To save money, some businesses opt for a black and white mailpiece when using an RPN because the colorful RPN will stand out even more.

“We’re planning to use RPNs for our PCC Day mailing to call attention to the page in the newsletter where members can sign up for a corporate sponsorship,” adds Elliott. “I recommend that other PCCs do the same. I’m sure they’ll be as successful as we expect to be.”

For more information about Repositionable Notes, visit usps.com/repositionablenotes.
© 2010 United States Postal Service. The following are among the many trademarks owned by the United States Postal Service: USPS®, U.S. Postal Service®, United States Postal Service®, Postal Service™, Post Office™, Priority Mail®, Express Mail®, Standard Mail™, First-Class Mail®, Registered Mail™, Certified Mail™, RIBBS™, Delivery Confirmation™, Signature Confirmation™, ZIP Code™, Click-N-Ship®, FOREVER®, NetPost®, Intelligent Mail®, Stamps Now®, PCC Insider® and The Postal Store®. This list is not a comprehensive list of all Postal Service marks. See our privacy policies at usps.com. If you prefer not to receive future e-mail communications from the Postal Service, contact PCC Insider to stop future e-mails. Write us at: PCC Insider, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L’Enfant Plaza Rm 4541, Washington DC 20260-4541



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