Friday, July 2, 2010

Big idea #5: Establish a third kind of mail

In my “Big Ideas” post earlier this month, there were several unique, out-of-the-box suggestions for helping the Postal Service right itself.

This week, we are exploring explore five of those ideas and you can weigh in on each.

Here’s the fifth installment:

Of course, our business is regular, postal mail. And e-mail has taken away big chunk of personal correspondence. Some have suggested a third kind of mail – “Virtual postal mail.”

One commenter said this: “I think USPS should implement "virtual mailboxes" such as Zumbox and Earth Mail. Since it's still in its infancy we should do that, since we can do it better & more securely. Our employees take an oath and are respected more by the public for protecting privacy.”

Another suggested, “Have e-mail addresses linked to PO Box rental with password access, and a terminal similar to WebTV where only the e-mail account could be accessed” in the lobby. And someone else chimed in, “Let’s make e-mail a postal term.”

What if we had physical paper delivery, but also offered e-mail delivery that was tied to the customer’s physical address. The concept is that if say, JC Penny offered to send a catalog, they could opt for either physical or vitual delivery. In either case, USPS would be responsible for the “mailpiece.”

What do you think? Are any of these ideas smart? Are there some good benefits? Is there too much downside? Not enough upside? I want to know how you feel. Just be thoughtful and polite in your response.

Comment here.


Jasmine Krotkov said...

I don't think that there's any question that this "third kind" of mail will be the new normal - it almost is, already. The pertinent question is will the Postal Service recognize that its mandate to deliver communications includes emerging technologies, or if it will decide that the decreasing revenue from paper mail necessarily makes us irrelevant.

The next question concerns the inevitable grumbling that will come from private business if the Postal Service attempts to subsidize its paper communication revenue stream with innovative business concepts. They always complain that the PS is competing unfairly with private business. In providing some electronic communication services to the public, though, there is currently no competition from private business, at least in rural areas. Here in the hinterland, I pay over $100 per month for phone/internet access; much more than charges for comparable services in areas where there is competition. Because the PS already has an enormous retail network all across the nation, we have a natural advantage over private businesses who might want to provide "third kind" of mail services - a natural advantage, but not an unfair one. We've been investing in our retail network for a long time, why abandon it now?

Anonymous said...

Offering some sort of "third kind" of mail is a good idea, although I'm too technologically challenged to know how it would work. I do know young people think the Postal Service is irrelevant and this might win them over. We're already a trusted company so we would have that as a head-start over other, unknown, companies.

Anonymous said...

I am no computer nerd, but I like the idea. I imagine it would be a huge amount of work, but I think it's great to keep us viable in the 21st century.

Merk said...

Yes, we definitely need to adopt some type of technology based mail delivery. To ignore this opportunity will make USPS obsolete. This series of blogs has shown that employees have many great ideas, I hope HQ is listening! We employees have a huge stake in the survival of the Postal Service and management needs to ask for ideas and then use this large pool of talent & innovation to implement them.

jaon said...

Okay now all we need is to get the world wide web to recognize the USPS has the right to bill for email. NOT! If we keep an Intranet for email, only available at USPS we might make it work.

grannybunny said...

According to the Ross Philo IT3 videos on Link, the Postal Service is already considering getting into the electronic mail market.

Anonymous said...

In reference to one of the comments above - are any of the "Higher-ups" seeing what is written on this web-site??? Or is just craft and lower-level EAS???
There are many, many good idea's I have reading on this web-site. I hope it is not all in vain. I think there are many, many of us who do want the USPS to survive and to be a viable service to the country!!! Can anyone verify if the "Higher-ups" are monitoring this web-site??? I hope they are and will listen and at least consider some of the suggestions that are presented here!!!

Anonymous said...

Have customers give email address when they rent a box and we could do what UPS does and notify them when they have a parcel or express mail.