Is the USPS Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

[responsive]returntosender[/responsive]According to USPS CIO Jim Cochrane, “The U.S. Postal Service has been a quiet leader in business technology for the past 40 years. Technology has enabled us–one of the largest employers in the country–to remain nimble and responsive to changes in customer trends and needs.”

This quote appeared in an article written by Cochrane in CIO titled “USPS Tries to Keep Mail Relevant in a Digital Age.” He talks about the robust technology infrastructure that has helped to reduce costs, and the data and analytics they are using to “stay ahead of the curve.”

It’s true; they have certainly become tech-heavy in their operations, and are utilizing data to a degree never before seen. Which could be great. In this age of big data, marketers should be able to flawlessly execute highly personalized mailings with the greatest of ease, efficiency and value.

Unfortunately, it seems that the USPS is missing a link somewhere in their implementation. At some point in the system, bulk mailing became more expensive, more confusing and subject to ever-changing regulations. Keeping up is a full time job, and errors come with a heavy price tag.

Cochrane continues in his article, “The Postal Service delivers 40 percent of the world’s physical mail volume, or 162 billion pieces of mail, catalogs and packages every year. We are at the core of an $800 billion industry, and the size and scope of our physical network is unmatched. However, our focus today is on keeping mail relevant in a world where people increasingly use digital communications.”

We think he may have just identified the problem.

Mail is still highly relevant in today’s world. Direct mail volume is steadily increasing, and print mail still trumps email for access and relevance. That’s all good, and yes, the USPS is an important partner in all of this. We need the USPS, and we need it to run well and effectively. They are, all things considered, pretty good at it.

And here’s how you could be awesome, Mr. Cochrane: Instead of focusing on keeping direct mail relevant, focus on customer service. Make it outstanding. Train your people in the gorgeous technology you use, and educate your customers in a way that makes it easy for us to understand and use your system.

Focus on delivering the mail to the best of your ability. We’ll work with you to make sure the volume is there to support your existence.