A new proposal to the US Postal Service, recipients would receive a text or email message the moment mail has arrived in their mailbox.
Under the proposal, a patented service called Postal Notice would work in tandem with the USPS’ Informed Delivery system to tell recipients the moment mail has arrived in their mailbox. The automated notification service would enable recipients to know when critical mail arrives such as Social Security checks, mail-in ballots and other legal documents. It also could provide public service messages, reminders to vote, weather alerts and other time critical data.
“This service is a logical social media step in USPS’ drive to continue to be in contact with every citizen every day,” said Anthem Pleasant, developer of Postal Notice. “If you think about it, the Postal Service is the original social network, delivering messages throughout the country for more than 200 years. It now can deliver letters as well as meaningful electronic messages every day.”
The Postal Notice system, a notification system developed over a two year period, uses existing technology and is totally invisible to letter carriers. The result would be better service to Postal Service customers without an increase in cost for equipment and labor. In fact, Pleasant believes the addition of Postal Notice to the USPS’ customer service mix could generate almost three quarters of a billion dollars annually. The revenue would be generated by a minimum monthly subscription, and through the addition of advertising. Postal Notice could also contain public service messages, and internet links to the delivery notification email.
“If only 10 percent of the nation’s 155 million mail delivery points subscribed to Postal Notice, revenues would be more than $700 million a year. The subscription fee could be as low as $3 monthly for private customers and $7 for businesses,” he said. “Additionally, local businesses, government services, and others could attach brief sponsored advertising messages to the notification that could include a hyperlink for additional information.”
If sponsored messages were added to the system, there would be no cost to recipients but would still add substantial revenues for the Postal Service. The Postal Service earns revenue under a similar tracking notification system exclusively for packages, and also could be a huge revenue generator for the cash-strapped agency.
Pleasant said the message would be informative and no more intrusive than messages already attached to routine texts. “In this case, the US Postal Service would be generating significant revenue from the messages, in real time. The customer knows mail is delivered as it immediately happens, which is especially critical to businesses. Plus it doesn’t add to Postal Service cost or letter carrier labor.”
Every letter carrier is equipped with a global positioning system device that registers each of the more than 155 million mail geocoded delivery points in the United States. Using Postal Notice, when the carrier arrives at a subscriber’s mailbox, including cluster boxes, a message is immediately sent with notification of the delivery. The use of social media as a notification tool brings the USPS further into the 21 st century.
The integration of Postal Notice with the existing Informed Delivery system offers postal customers a complete end-to- end service. Informed Delivery requires each letter to be scanned prior to loading and sorting into mail delivery routes, then sends an email with a black and white image of the day’s mail to subscribers. Postal Notice tells the customer, by an automated text, when the mail has been actually delivered.
“Each of these automated notices could potentially generate enormous revenue for the Postal Service, and be a boon for bulk mailing organizations. Pleasant believes, “Without continued service by the USPS, bulk mailers would have no delivery service, and would cease to exist as they are currently operating.” For example, the system could increase the impact of bulk mail by sending a text message that corresponds with the letter. If a letter from a local auto dealer is scheduled for delivery that day, the Informed Delivery email/text could contain sponsored special offers from the same dealer. Then when the recipient’s letter is delivered, the Postal Notice text could contain greeting from a local business, such as “Your mail has arrived, happy day from Peoria Florist,” or “Your mail has arrived, don’t forget to vote next week.”