Bringing the Post Office to seniors

portland-district1

During the holidays, customers around the country visited their local Post Offices to send special messages and packages to people on their “nice” list. For some senior citizens, visiting the Post Office to handle their mailing needs can be a challenge. To overcome this obstacle, the Portland District Retail team decided to take the Post Office to seniors.

For the second year in a row, the Portland team visited several retirement living community centers to offer a full range of postal services. Retail Specialist June Norbom along with Creston Lead Retail Associate Desiree Freeman and Parkrose Lead Retail Associates Stephanie Kantola provided mailing expertise, positive attitude and exceptional service to seniors who couldn’t make the trip to the Post Office.

“We received many compliments,” said Norbom. “Seniors appreciated the service because without it, they could not send out a package.”

USPS online solution saves time for small business owner

Lincoln, NE, College View Station Retail Associate Heather Bayless

Lincoln, NE, College View Station Retail Associate Heather Bayless

When Lincoln, NE, College View Station Retail Associate Heather Bayless saw a business customer lugging more than 200 packages, all without postage, into the office to mail to customers, she knew she could help improve the customer experience.

Bayless discussed online postage opportunities as well as package pickup with the customer. The business owner was intrigued by the time saving proposition and agreed to look into USPS.com. Shortly thereafter, Field Sales Representative Christy Funcke worked with the customer and walked her through the process of using USPS online solutions to prepare and mail her shipments.

The customer now takes advantage of the benefits of PC Postage and saves a trip to the Post Office by having her shipments picked up by her carrier.

Winter storms no match for determined Postmasters

Provo, UT, Postmaster Rick Brandon and Moab, UT, Postmaster Jay Stocks.

Provo, UT, Postmaster Rick Brandon and Moab, UT, Postmaster Jay Stocks.

On Christmas Eve, a snowstorm blanketed parts of Utah, giving residents a healthy collection of fresh powder to enjoy. While the storm might have dissuaded some from venturing out that night, Provo Postmaster Rick Brandon and Moab Postmaster Jay Stocks took to the road to make sure customers received their holiday cheer.

Brandon discovered that a sizeable number of packages destined for Moab didn’t make it to the Post Office in time for distribution on Christmas Eve. Without intervention, the delay would have prevented customers in Moab from receiving their special items in time for Christmas Day. Unwilling to disappoint customers during the holidays, he contacted Stocks to remedy the situation.

Stocks knew his customers would likely want their special items in time for Christmas, so he coordinated efforts with Brandon to transfer the packages into his care. The two drove great distances and met at Soldier Summit at 2:30 a.m. where Brandon transferred the 7 Priority Mail Express and 90 Priority Mail packages to Stocks’ vehicle. That morning, Stocks drove across Moab to deliver the items as local residents awoke. Customers were grateful that Stocks and Brandon went to great effort to ensure a merry day for their customers, and expressed their satisfaction across social media outlets.

“I was amazed at the service,” a local resident told the Times-Independent. “The gift itself wasn’t all that important, but to have it delivered on Christmas Day, under the circumstances, was way above and beyond the call of duty.”

Holiday Shipping Deadlines

2015 holiday PM medium box

To ensure timely delivery of holiday wishes by Dec. 25, send cards, letters and packages no later than the dates listed here.

Deadlines for holiday domestic mail delivery:

  • Dec. 15 Standard Post
  • Ground service for less than urgent deliveries and oversized packages.
  • Dec. 19 First-Class Mail
  • Service for standard-sized, single-piece envelopes and small packages weighing up to 13 ounces with delivery in 3 business days or less.
  • Dec. 21 Priority Mail
  • Domestic service in 1, 2, or 3 business days based on where your package starts and where it’s being sent – variety of Flat Rate options.
  • Dec. 23 Priority Mail Express
  • Fastest domestic service, guaranteed overnight scheduled delivery to most locations. Some restrictions and exceptions apply.

Incorrect Address No Match For Vigilant Employees

Milaca, MN, Retail Associate Lori Runyon

Milaca, MN, Retail Associate Lori Runyon

When a cancer patient in CA recently sent a stem cell transfer kit to his sister in Milaca, MN, he inadvertently placed an incorrect destination address on the package. When he realized the problem after he had already sent the package, he contacted the Milaca Post Office.

Retail Associate Lori Runyon answered the call and helped the customer with his concern. She assured the man that his package had arrived, that employees had determined the correct address and that the package would be delivered the next day.

“I am beyond thankful for the excellent service and the willingness of all the local employees to go the extra mile,” said the customer. “This was very, very important to me.”

Get It Back – Package Intercept Helps Customers Redirect Sent Packages

Package intercept

For customers who change their mind about sending a trackable package after they’ve already dropped it in the mail, there is good news.

USPS offers Package Intercept, a service that allows customers to redirect shipments that haven’t been delivered or released for delivery. Customers who use the service can have a package or mailpiece redirected to a different address, returned to the sender or held at a Post Office for pickup.

For customers who’d like to take advantage of this service, visit usps.com to learn more.

Crowd GPS Could be Beacon of the Future

Crowd GPS

New innovations in technology have created the ability to track items that individuals may have misplaced. From lost keys to vanishing remote controls, finding objects can sometimes prove difficult if one’s memory isn’t functioning at full capacity. When that happens, there are a variety of companies that have developed devices to track such missing items with a simple press of a button.

Manufacturers such as TrackR, Tile, and Bringrr offer a similar product – small, thin objects roughly the size of a quarter that can be attached to items an individual wants to track. The objects connect with a user’s phone via Bluetooth technology and a specialized application tracking software. If a person loses a set of key with a tracking object attached, the individual can locate the item through the application. These tracking objects have a limited range of about 100-150 feet though, so they have to use a crowd GPS feature to find items further out of reach.

Unlike GPS-enabled navigation devices, crowd GPS doesn’t use a satellite to locate objects. Instead, it relies on other phones using the same tracking software. These applications connect with sibling applications on other phones, establishing a global network to track missing items within range of a phone connected to the network. The information shared among other phones in the network is anonymous, and only an individual’s lost object location will appear on that person’s phone, if it’s detected.

There is a downside to crowd GPS. If someone loses an item outside the range of his or her phone, that person must rely on the presence of another phone running the same application to be in close proximity to the missing item. In densely populated cities, this might not be an issue. But for individuals living in smaller communities, it might be some time before another phone with the same application picks up the missing item.

The purchase of a tracking chip could very well be worth the expense for those keys, remotes and other objects that have a tendency to disappear from time to time. Then again, if one forgets both the location of the tracking chip and cell phone, the situation could prove problematic.

Do you think such tracking devices could be used to track packages as they make their way through a delivery network?

Could Packages Be the Next Advertising Opportunity?

Package ad

 

They’re abundant in auto racing, cycling, and on many hats and shirts of tournament poker players. They cover bulletin boards, buildings and stadiums. Wherever they’re placed, advertising logos and messages capture the attention of many who come across them. With the continued proliferation of ads, could packages present a new surface to sell advertising space?

To boost awareness of the soon to be released Minions movie, Amazon.com has developed new packaging in which to send consumer goods. The new, yellow boxes feature unique characters from the movie and will grace Amazon packaging through the release date of the movie in theaters.

According to its latest Form 10-Q financial statement, Amazon.com incurred than $1 billion in net shipping costs during the first three months of 2015. Revenue generated from the new Minions advertising campaign may have the effect of partially offsetting the loss in shipping charges that currently burdens Amazon revenue, though it’s unlikely to have a significant impact with the single ad campaign effort.

If other product providers find value in making similar moves with product packaging, parcel carriers may soon find their vehicles loaded with everything from superhero characters to spaceships and laser swords later this year.

Do you think USPS packaging should contain ads for non-organization-related products to generate additional revenue?

Growth for Future Generations

South Salt Lake City Carrier Bob Fowler

South Salt Lake City Carrier Bob Fowler

South Salt Lake City Carrier Bob Fowler has worked for the Postal Service for more than 31 years. Throughout his time in uniform, he has been the highest sales leads producer at his office. Why does he work so hard to expand the business? His philosophy is simple.

Although Fowler has worked for the Postal Service for many years and is getting ready to retire soon, many of his fellow employees are not. He believes that the future of USPS is in growing the package business, and he is doing everything he can to earn revenue by submitting leads for businesses along his route as well as others he comes into contact with.

Fowler cares deeply about the future of the Postal Service and wants to make sure his coworkers have the same opportunity to enjoy their own retirement, as he will soon be enjoying his.

NextGen Delivery

Letter Carrier JD Kohl demonstrates the capacity of the new mailboxes.

Letter Carrier JD Kohl demonstrates the capacity of the new mailboxes.

Letter Carrier JD Kohl shows off the new NextGen mail box, part of more than 125 in an operational trial in a Broomfield, CO subdivision. Customers volunteered to have their boxes replaced by USPS maintenance at no charge. The boxes will accommodate standard Priority Mail boxes and nearly 80 percent of all parcel box sizes.

“It’s a real convenience to the customer,” said Kohl. “The box protects the package from the weather. It also may save the customer from coming to the Post Office if they aren’t home.”

Broomfield Postmaster Jamie Osborne also touts the safety and maintenance aspect. “This eliminates trips for the carrier along sidewalks and up steps to porches,” he said. “It also should save on vehicle maintenance, eliminating wear and tear on starters and transmissions.”

A USPS film crew recently documented delivery to the new boxes, which are only in four locations across the country.

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