Eagle River Post Office enhances customer experience with mPOS

Eagle River, AK, Post Office team

Eagle River, AK, Post Office team

Customer satisfaction is an important element of growing a business. To enhance customer experience at their office, employees at the Eagle River, AK, Post Office began using an mPOS device last year. The mPOS, or mobile Point of Sale, is a hand-held device which lobby directors use to assist customers by speeding up simple transactions. Though employees were hesitant to use the new technology at first, one individual embraced the device.

Retail Associate Marilyn “Punky” Morris greets customers as they enter the Post Office lobby and directs them to either the Self-Service Kiosk (SSK) or she offers to serve them with the mPOS, rather than having them wait in line. Her dedication to customers has not only reduced the wait time in line, it earned her office a special award.

The Eagle River team recently received a certificate of appreciation from Alaska Marketing Manager Dawn Peppinger for their efforts as well as a traveling mPOS performance trophy.

Letters to Customers Go Viral

Glendale, AZ, City Carrier Michael Raymer

Glendale, AZ, City Carrier Michael Raymer

“I’m not high-tech. I write letters – I write letters to my mom and to my brothers and sisters,” said Glendale, AZ, City Carrier Michael Raymer.

After 20 years of service to USPS, Raymer is retiring at the end of this month. He wanted to share his deep appreciation for the opportunity to provide customers with dedicated service, so he wrote a letter to each one along his route.

“It has been a privilege and a pleasure to have been your letter carrier for the past thirteen and a half years,” Raymer said in his letter.

One of his customers posted the letter to Reddit, and soon afterwards, Raymer’s kind words went viral.

In his interview with local media, Raymer talked about the one thing he’ll miss the most about his job.

“I’m just going to miss the people – these people are so kind and we all get along. I hope I’ve made a difference and I’ve left an impression on somebody,” said Raymer.

In the sharing of his letter with Reddit, and the many people who have since read it world-wide, customers indirectly had the opportunity to tell Raymer just how much they’ll miss him.

Big Heart for Local Community

Big heart for local community

Kristin Frish’s concern for her customers and her love of the environment has made her a popular figure around the Grangeville, ID, Post Office where she’s been a city carrier for the last 10 years.

Two of Frish’s visually-impaired customers recently nominated her for an award from the Idaho Commission for Libraries and their Talking Book Service.

“For several years Kristin has been our carrier,” wrote one customer. “She is always pleasant and friendly. She checks on the elderly and disabled, especially those living alone, on an almost daily basis. She will ring our doorbell when we receive our Talking Books and magazines. Kris is GREAT!”

“I believe very strongly in good customer service,” Frish said. “I don’t consider it a big deal to go over and above to assist special needs customers.”

Frish started a recycling program in the Grangeville Post Office to be sure waste paper products are put to further use.

“Kristin has single-handedly spearheaded our recycling program, taking it upon herself to collect and deliver Post Office recyclables to the local center on her own time,” said Postmaster Kevin Richards. “I’m monitoring our trash output and I believe we can downsize to a smaller dumpster due to generating less trash, saving us hundreds of dollars a year in city trash fees.”

“I arranged with our local recycling center to get bags to put in our lobby so customers can dispose of unwanted paper,” Trish explained. “There is a green bag for catalogs and newspapers and a white bag for all other paper. I also have a tub by my case so our employees can drop off waste paper.

“On my way home from work on Fridays, I drop off the bags at the recycling center,” she added. “I think it is important that we do what we can to protect our environment.”

Postal Hero

Danny Chavis 2

On March 13, Aurora, CO, City Carrier Danny Chavis was recognized for the extraordinary care he displayed for one of his elderly customers who had not checked his mail in several days.

Out of concern for his customer, Chavis conferred with a neighbor and obtained contact information for the customer’s family. Shortly thereafter, family members arrived at the customer’s home and found that he had suffered a stroke.

Had Chavis not acted out of concern for his customer, medical attention would not have been rendered as soon as it was, potentially placing the elderly man’s life at risk.

Customers in the Delivery Business

Customers in the delivery business

Since the creation of package delivery services, customers have enjoyed receiving their special purchases from USPS and other delivery companies. If a retail company implements a proposed innovative delivery strategy, shipping companies could find an entirely new class of competition entering the arena.

In an effort to save on shipping costs and provide same-day delivery services, Wal-Mart is considering the idea of tapping its customer base as a new delivery mechanism. The idea, still in the development phase, would offer customers a discount on their shopping bills in exchange for delivering packages to online shoppers who live nearby.

There are many regulatory and legal issues to resolve with the proposal, but it could be an additional tool in Wal-Mart’s delivery arsenal. The company is currently testing same-day delivery with its own vehicle fleet in five major cities and is planning on introducing parcel locker services this summer.

What do you think would be some of the challenges in customer delivery services?

Lists Create New Revenue for Growth

Lists creat new revenue

Tough times call for creative opportunities to boost revenue for businesses. This is the position Hongkong Post is taking when looking to stimulate its struggle enterprise.

As more people conduct their business electronically, Hongkong Post is adding to the list of services it offers to customers. That includes creating customer profile data offered to marketing mailers.

Hongkong Post accumulates customer data from the census and separates it into different categories. Advertisers looking to market their products to certain groups of individuals can use that portion of the mailing list that suits its needs. The list reduces the efforts involved by the advertiser in marketing to customers, and boosts interest in marketing with Hongkong Post.

While maintaining a customer database isn’t likely to be the ultimate solution to fixing sagging revenues, it is likely to support an existing service and boost its desirability to business customers.

Do you think selling customer lists to other businesses is a good source of postal revenue?

Sales Lead Means Money in the Bank for Investment Company

Mary McCarver, a clerk in Vancouver, WA, was helping a customer mail letters when she learned that his company, Fisher Investments, shipped many flats for marketing purposes to potential customers using UPS. From Mary’s conversation with the customer, she felt that USPS could offer a better solution for him. She contacted Mailing Solutions Specialist (MSS) Tory Foster and submitted the sales lead through the Employee Engagement Program (EEP).

Foster met with the Operations Manager at Fisher Investments, a financial advising company that provides clients with stock information and investing tips, and discovered that they used UPS specifically for its fast delivery service. The company wanted the most rapid response possible to have a better chance at closing a sale with potential customers when sending out promotional material. While speed was vital to the company, they also believed that saving money was also very important.

Foster presented First Class Mail as a potential solution since the vast majority of their flats weighed much less than thirteen ounces. He described the value of First Class Mail, such as speed, free forwarding and returns, Saturday delivery, and strength of reaching a broad consumer market. The lower price structure for First Class Mail was also discussed, as well as the additional option of presorting their mail for an even better rate.

Fisher Investments was impressed with the value USPS represented over their current service with UPS, particularly when they learned that USPS would get marketing information to consumers while they were still in a buying mode. The value of USPS services was more than enough to prompt Fisher to switch their business to the Postal Service. The move saved the company approximately $1,500 a day on average using First Class Mail over competing products, and earned the Postal Service approximately $260,000 in new annual revenue.

National PCC Week

This week is national PCC Week where Postal Customer Council members get together with USPS officers in Atlanta, GA, to exchange ideas and viewpoints and learn more about current events and opportunities within the mailing industry. While this is interesting information to have, what exactly is a Postal Customer Council and what does it do?

There are more than 200 PCCs across the country. Each one is made up of members of the local business community, both large and small, as well as government agencies. Membership in the organization represents an opportunity for businesses to get together and learn about marketing their products and services in the mail, discover where to find mailing lists, and share knowledge and experience with other members of the mailing community. It also offers members the chance to earn professional certificates by learning more about postal products and services.

Prior to this year, PCC was a day-long event. It expanded this year into a week-long event to offer PCC members more flexibility in scheduling and greater opportunities for networking.

For more information on PCC Week, go to: https://www.usps.com/business/get-training-learn-to-grow.htm?.

Have you participated in a PCC event?

It’s in the Numbers

How can you tell when the service you’re providing is satisfying your customers? Conduct a survey and find out.

That’s what the American Customer Satisfaction Index is doing with its annual survey. The survey generates a score on a scale of 0 – 100 based on the level of customer satisfaction in 47 different industries and the 225 companies and 100 government agencies within them. The results of the first survey were released in 1994 and the index has continued to generate solid, useful information ever since then.

The most recent results of the survey, released in June, show the Postal Service continuing to gain ground relative to its competition. In 2012, the Postal Service shows an overall satisfaction score of 75. That’s the highest level of satisfaction since the introduction of the survey more than 17 years ago.

To make the results of the survey more comparable to FedEx and UPS, ACSI extracts Express Mail and Priority Mail and calculates a score based solely on those services. The USPS customer satisfaction level increased to 81 this year from 79 in 2011. That’s a 2.5% increase over last year’s satisfaction levels. FedEx realized a loss of 1.2% to 82, their lowest score since 2003. UPS saw an even greater decline in customer satisfaction. They realized a loss of 4.7% to 81, their lowest point since 2007.

The list of complete scores can be viewed on ACSI’s website at: http://www.theacsi.org/index.php.

In a time when customer loyalty is paramount to achieving long-term company viability, the Postal Service continues to prove that it can increase both value for its customers and the satisfaction level they receive from it.

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Postmaster Goes the Extra Mile

Even during uncertain times, postal employees will go the extra mile for their customers. Postmaster Shareen Wertz in Evans, CO, demonstrated this on Mother’s Day weekend in May 2012.

One of Shareen’s customers entered into her office Saturday looking for medication that was sent via Express Mail. The family was distraught, as the young son needed this medicine by 11:00 a.m. the following day. Shareen took the customer’s after hours contact information and told the family that if it came in over the weekend, she would ensure they were notified.

Shareen contacted the Tour 1 and Tour 3 supervisors in the Express Mail office and gave them her after hour contact info with instructions to call her if the item came in. She received that call at 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning. After she was told that the item had been located, Shareen got up early Mother’s Day morning, went to the plant and accepted the article. She then drove it back to Evans and delivered the item. After the family received the much needed medication, Shareen was back home by 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning to enjoy the rest of her Mother’s Day.

What extraordinary measures of customer service have you come across?

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