Customer needs are changing, and we're changing with them.
While we continue to aggressively manage our costs and increase efficiencies in the U.S. Postal Service, we also continue to look for new ways to make mail even more attractive for businesses and customers.
Two examples are changes to the Domestic Mail Manual that will allow mailers to adhere coupons on the outside of mail and a new system to more accurately and effectively gauge our interaction with our customers.
Working with MTAC customers and other stakeholders earlier this year, we took a close look at Postal rules, regulations and requirements that seem to get in the way of our customers fully benefiting from using the mail. One of the direct results of that workgroup is a change to current DMM regulations that limits attachments to a piece of mail to standard mailpieces larger than 6"ââÂx11" and at a carrier route sort level.
Major mailers love sending coupons to customers to drive in-store and online traffic, and as we all know, customers love receiving and using coupons. We worked with MTAC, large mailers and our own engineering department to find a way that would allow attachments to "stick" to the mailpieces and not separate as pieces move through automated processing.
We had to make sure the mailpieces wouldn't stick together and that no damage would be done to processing equipment. The change now allows release cards or pieces smaller than 6"ââÂx11"ââÂ for automation as well as carrier route letters and flats.
Letters must be four to six inches high and eight to 9.5"ââÂ long. They cannot exceed a maximum .125"ââÂ in thickness and be of a minimum 60-pound, book-grade paper. The release cards must be two to 2.5"ââÂ high and three to 3.5" long, and between .007" and .012"ââÂ thick. The cards must be affixed by machine and are limited to one per letter.
Release cards on flats have similar requirements: Flats must be a minimum of six inches high, eight inches long and .02"ââÂ thick for automation. The cards must be two to 2.5" high, three to 3.5"ââÂ long and .007"ââÂ to .012"ââÂ thick.
This is but one example of the way we're changing to meet the changing needs of our customers. With that knowledge in mind, we took a hard look at how we defined a successful customer or business transaction.
We spent a considerable amount of time and research to create a tool that looked at the entire experience a customer has with the Postal Service. It offers new insights about customers and captures information at every step of doing business with the Postal Service, including the buying process, their channel experience and how they view service quality.
This new "Customer Experience Measurement"ââÂ (CEM) has replaced a process we had in place since 1991. CEM measures customer satisfaction as well as perceived service quality, including the buying process, their channel experience and how they view service quality.
We will continue to use a survey, but that survey will be modified to draw information that is relevant and actionable. The new CEM survey moves away from the process of mail delivery and focuses on the experience customers have with us. Customer feedback will be collected and analyzed through surveys and text analytics, along with traditional and social media to assess the overall information landscape and provide quantitative metrics that measure and report the value of our products and services to our customers. Results from the expanded survey capabilities will improve the Postal Service's understanding of the customer perspective, allowing us to make necessary changes in a meaningful way.
By measuring customer experience across all contact points, the Postal Service will build stronger relationships with customers and become a more customer-focused organization.
Steve Kearney is Senior Vice President, Customer Relations, for the USPS.