When was the last time your mail center employees got recognized for their efforts that enable cash flow, support customer retention, or attract new customers to the business? This group of dedicated employees often toils away in relative obscurity. They rarely get attention unless something goes wrong.

Over the last few months, we’ve seen demonstrations of appreciation for essential workers like health care professionals and first responders. Well, those mail center employees are essential, too. Timely and accurate outgoing and incoming mail processing ensures customers pay their bills, renew policies, or respond to offers — all important activities when so much of business-as-usual has been interrupted by COVID-19.

Business conducted through the mail is helping many organizations to continue functioning as they did before the pandemic, while they experiment with alternative approaches like remote workforces or touchless customer interactions. Corporate executives would probably describe mail services as crucial to their company’s sustainability, but mail center operations aren’t often top-of mind.

That’s the conundrum of corporate mail services. They are practically invisible most of the time. Everyone expects mail to be formatted correctly and distributed on time to the proper individuals. They know mail coming into the organization will be routed to the proper destinations like accounts receivable, accounts payable, or sales. As long as the system functions as designed, little consideration is given to how it all happens.

Don’t Take Them for Granted

The mail professionals I’ve met throughout my career are a dedicated group. They are very good at what they do, whether that’s running an inserting machine or mail sorter, delivering mail across corporate campuses, or handling the daily mess of outgoing mail like correspondence and other small mailings prepared by internal departments. They are so good, the process runs flawlessly nearly all the time. A lot of folks throughout the enterprise take mail services for granted because it’s so dependable.

Before the pandemic, most of us took grocery clerks and night stockers for granted too. It wasn’t until we started experiencing grocery shortages and disruptions that we really appreciated the role these employees play in the food supply chain.

Mail Professionals Will Be Prepared

If mail delivery were to become uncertain, the efforts of everyone involved in the production and distribution of mail would also come to the forefront. I think many corporate employees would come to appreciate the knowledge and experience of their mail center crew should mailing issues arise.

Most organizations, however, won’t experience a negative consequence if the mail process develops some challenges because of the pandemic. Mail professionals stay informed about circumstances outside the mail center’s control and work in advance to alter procedures that limit the impact on their organizations. Mail professionals have a long tradition of helping their organizations mitigate postage rate increases or deal with modifications in mail classification or service standards.

The mail center staffers at your organization probably aren’t yearning for accolades. They don’t need a parade in their honor. But a bit of recognition about their contributions to their company's success would be well received. If you are in a position in your company to highlight the contributions the mail center employees are making to your organization, give them a little public praise every once in a while. Or buy some pizzas for lunch one day, just to say “thank you”. The gestures will go a long way towards making these employees feel part of the team as they continue to provide those essential services day after day.

Mike Porter at Print/Mail Consultants creates content for the document industry and helps document operations build and implement strategies for future growth and competitiveness. Learn more about his services at www.printmailconsultants.com and www.pmccontentservices.com. Follow @PMCmike on Twitter, or send him a connection request on LinkedIn.