At the National Postal Forum 2017, the USPS® highlighted several exciting programs including the Informed Visibility® (IV®) initiative to the mailing industry. This replacement for IMb Tracing™ and the legacy IV data will give mailers new and enhanced insights into the visibility of their mail. Of particular interest is the enhanced visibility that will be available to flats mailers.
Due to the way in which the USPS processes flats mail and, in particular, Carrier Route-qualified flats mail that bypasses automation, visibility was not possible since that mail only saw manual operations. Informed Visibility will address this gap by supplying new bundle scan events, including associated scans.
Associated scans provide additional piece scan events in a bundle from the physical scan of the top piece in the bundle. This functionality is expected to raise scan rates on flat mail to rates typically seen with letter mail, upwards of 97%.
Now that flats mailers will be able to share the same visibility experience as letter mailers have enjoyed for years, they can harness the value of enhanced visibility for marketing, InHome™ date management, customer experience and regulatory purposes.
Implications & New Possibilities with Informed Visibility
- Monitor the delivery of your mail. Having scan data at a detail and summary level gives you visibility to specific geographic regions or even specific mailpieces. This can assist in customer service issue resolution and in pinpointing delivery problems in specific geographies.
- Better coordinate omnichannel campaigns. In a digital world, this enhanced visibility allows for precise coordination with digital and social.
- Have your mail delivered based on your marketing schedule. Consumers’ response to direct mail is dynamic and can be highly influenced by the day of the week a piece arrives. If you had the ability to see when your mail was being delivered, you could measure this variable and manage it. In the retail world, you can manage communications to coincide with brick-and-mortar sales activity.
- Predict demand. Having the intelligence of when your mail will be delivered allows you to hone in on when the demand curve for that campaign will be initiated.
- Build historical intelligence. Over time, by using historical information from past campaigns, you will be able to precisely manage future campaigns to achieve desired results.
- Eliminate antiquated seeding practices. Seed Mail only gives you an idea of what might have happened to the vast majority of your mail due to the limited number of reporters and geographic areas that they cover. GrayHair will give you summary and detail-level intelligence on the majority of the mail as the scan data is provisioned by the USPS.
- Staff call centers more efficiently. This enhanced mail delivery intelligence enables you to staff call centers and other operational centers to meet demand.
- For example, with single piece lookups, call centers can track down the exact path of individual mailpieces to answer customer inquiries.
The speculation of when mail might be delivered is over, and the newly available data will create much greater value, engagement and results for flats mailer organizations. The big data tracking insights will allow flats mailers to ensure customers receive what they want, when they want, and how they want it.
Dylan Purse is GrayHair’s VP of Product Management, responsible for the company’s technology roadmap, product development, go-to-market strategies, and partner relationship initiatives.