In the springtime, many mailers attend the National Postal Forum to hear from United States Postal Service (“USPS”) officials and fellow industry professionals about the current state and future of our industry. In the fall, the focus shifts to National Postal Customer Council (“PCC”) Week, which takes place September 8 – 12 at multiple locations throughout the country.
In the past, this event was called “PCC Day” and was held on the third Wednesday in September. The Postmaster General would participate in a live simulcast from the city that had won the PCC of the Year award. PCCs needed to hold their events at a location that could broadcast a satellite feed of the speech. Usually after lunch for the East Coast, and breakfast for the West Coast.
A few years ago, “PCC Day” transformed into a week-long event. The Postmaster General pre-records his speech, and distributes it to the districts. This allows PCCs greater flexibility in selecting the location – and the day of the week – that works best for their organization. The result has been better turnouts across the country.
PCCs are an underutilized resource – by both the USPS and mailers. I know of no other industry where the customers volunteer to organize, and then pay for, educational events on how to use a vendor’s service better. USPS management needs to better use the PCCs as a two-way communication platform. The PCCs are a great way to distribute information to business customers, and educational seminars are needed.
But management needs to listen to the customers as well. Not just parry comments with prepared defenses of postal policy, but attentively listen and react to what the customers are saying. Large mailers may be represented by professional organizations, but the PCCs represent the small and mid-sized mailer as well. Business mailers – First Class, Standard, Package and Periodical mailers – represent the overwhelming majority of the USPS income. Their voice deserves to be heard, and their opinions matter.
Too many mailers don’t take advantage of the opportunities presented by their local PCC either. There are classes on postal regulations, USPS initiatives and industry trends. We’re in an era of transformative changes on how we create, print and prepare mailings. We owe it to our organizations to keep ourselves educated. And PCCs provide that educational opportunity.
To find more about your local PCC and their National PCC Week event, check out the PCC Locator on the USPS website. Or, call your local USPS District Business Service Network representative for more information. Most of the events are more than reasonably priced, so bring some of your co-workers with you. The benefits far outweigh the expense.
PS – I believe in practicing what I preach. I’ve been a member of the Greater Boston PCC for decades, and currently sit on their Executive Board. During National PCC Week, I’m presenting for 3 different PCCs – the Omaha PCC Advertising Expo on September 10, the Greater Kansas City PCC event on September 11, and the Carolinas (all 5 PCCs) Postal PCC Forum in Charlotte on September 12. As always, I’m waiving my speaking fees for these mailing organizations.
Hope to see you at a PCC event soon!