On January 5, 2015, The United States Postal Service (“USPS”) implemented new delivery standards for First Class Mail. The new standards mean slower delivery times. For single-piece mail, the delay will be at least one full day, and for metered and permit mail, the average delay will be anywhere from a half-day to a full day. Since most companies only receive mail once a day, the “half day” translates into a getting mail a full day later. And if there’s a holiday involved, there will be even more delays.
Is a one-day delay a big issue? It is for companies required to have bills or statements to their clients within a certain time frame. Insurance carriers need to provide members ID cards and policy explanations before the policy goes into effect. And consumers paying bills by check could face late penalties they never incurred before.
As this is an online blog, it’s important to address the “I don’t get paper bills” and “People should just pay bills online” comments up front. The truth is most people want to receive their bills in hard copy format. Not everyone has access to high speed internet service. And physical mail remains more secure than online transactions. Mail is here to stay – for more years than most pundits predict.
Mailers should be monitoring in-home delivery dates closely, especially if your company does business in several states. Use IMb tracing to gather information on transit times for your mail. Some of our customers are experiencing delays even longer than the new standards, with mail taking 4 days to reach the west coast from New England.
If the delivery delays are causing customer service or compliance issues, put together a plan to adjust mailing dates accordingly. This may impact more than just mailing operations, but billing, information technology, sales, marketing and customer service. Assemble a team to make sure all aspects of the customer interaction are considered.
For remittance organizations, sample inbound mail and examine postmark dates. Implement “Origin” IMb tracing for select lines of mail. Track late payments to measure any changes in volumes. Help your customers make the necessary adjustments, by adding a “Mail by MM/DD/YY” message to payment stubs.
When the proposed closures of over 80 USPS processing plants begin, mailers will probably see even more delays. Mail operations managers must keep accurate records to measure the impact on their organizations. With that information, companies can make the changes to adapt to the new, slower USPS.