Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dear U.S. Post Office

We’ve heard the rumors about the post office going “downhill” for years; is social media partially to blame? And now perhaps the most dire news has been announced; no more mail delivery on Saturdays (except packages), thus saving an estimated $2 billion a year. 

Was it the decrease of holiday cards that hurt the most? Hallmark saw it coming and they diversified (more on that here). 

Who is to blame for the change? Why, market research of course. According to you, the Postal Service, and major news organizations: Close to seven out of ten Americans were in support of reduced delivery that would in essence help you to reduce costs. Is this really a solution or the slapping of a band aid? 

So, what should you be doing right now (hopefully you already ARE doing these things):

#1 Marketing. Let’s start with Twitter. You’re practically the size of a small country; why is there little happening here? And you’re not even following people back; the good people who NEED your services!  

Your Facebook page has seen some activity since you posted about the phasing out of Saturday delivery and, in response, received an onslaught of comments regarding the loss of jobs! And yet you respond with a very generic statement. Showing that you are concerned and care about people is highly recommended here; remember this IS a public forum. 

I’ll give you kudos for your YouTube channel; nice way to keep us up to date with those short videos! Do you post those vids on Facebook and Twitter once in a while?

Now, why aren’t you on Google+ and Pinterest? Pinterest would be a great place to show all the wonderful stamp designs over the years; boards can be set up by subject matter. And while you’re at it, why not create posters of some of those vintage stamp designs? Great lead in for boosting brand identity; there’s got to more than just stamps and boxes for sale, no?

Who are you, U.S. Post Office? Part of the government, something that is scary to a lot of consumers. Can’t you downplay that fact a little and inject a little more fun into what you do? Your places of business look stodgy, colorless, and dated; did your decorators only see light gray and wood paneling? A pleasant décor will help create a more positive experience! 

#2 Diversify. I mentioned posters of classic stamps previously and if you aren’t already offering those, well, then, consider doing so! Now, it may be a high hurdle to move into other areas as far as acceptance by the general public. DO take baby steps. And think out of the box; why aren’t you offering a virtual card service via the internet? Or partnering with a card company for that matter? 

Since you already deliver packages, why not deliver people to where they need to go too? Trains, planes, buses…give Amtrak, United, and Greyhound a run for their money! Oh, wait a minute; Amtrak is 100% by the U.S. government! Perhaps a merger?

#3 Simplify. Make your primary services less complicated! As a small business owner who has to ship products, I’m still scratching my head about how best to ship an item. Your packaging or mine? First class or priority? And of course the weight comes into play as well. I am stumped. Do something to make the average citizen better understand their options. THIS is why I HAVE to go to the post office. And each time, I have to have it all explained to me. The descriptions on your website baffle me. And I’m probably not the only one.

To your credit, I have to say that the majority of employees are cheerful and knowledgeable. I did get scolded by one of your fine employees once for using the informal name in the return address for the area where I live. Sigh. 

So, U.S. Postal Service; what’s it going to be? One thing is clear; if you are going to survive, major changes are in order. I’m betting you can figure it out without more loss of jobs!

Elvis once had a piece of snail mail sent back to him because of an expired address. We're still here and waiting for you to say hello at our website, or on TwitterFacebook, or Google+


Kevin Knauss said...

Excellent assessment. People have a natural affinity for the postal service and they should capitalize on that. Even Amtrak is on Twitter and they monitor tweets about train service and experience.

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Shannon Grissom said...

Good advice for any business. I hope the Post Office is listening.

Unknown said...

A postage meter and shutting down all offices could be the answer. If they shut down every post office for mail coming in and we all just gave it to our mail man like the old days the post office wouldn't have to pay those people to sit in there basically doing nothing. I would have to say create a fixed rate price for mail. And if it keeps going up sorry to say email and other technology is free. Good bye US Post Office.

Anyone elses thoughts?