May 3, 2018
The Postal Service has taken another step to make centralized delivery of mail, primarily in cluster boxes, the “preferred mode of delivery.” They did this by revising their internal manual called the Post Office Manual, effective April 26. It applies to “all new residential and commercial developments.”
This further tightening of the rules comes in spite of the fact that many mailers think centralized delivery reduces read and response rates, degrading the value of mail.
The USPS Office of Inspector General found that delivering to centralized boxes increases the chance that it would be thrown away without reading:
Advertising mail delivered to a recipient’s door generates higher “read and response” rates than advertising mail delivered to the curbside or a neighborhood cluster box. Door delivery customers also are less likely to throw their ad mail away than customers with curb or cluster box delivery.
The OIG reported that the read and response rates for a donation solicitation would be three times higher (12%) with delivery at the door versus at a cluster box (4%).
It is clear that operational cost savings are taking precedence over value creation, marketing, and listening to customers. USPS is experiencing very high labor costs, overstated legacy costs, a major shift from mail to packages as its growth engine, and no Board of Governors, among other things.
The Postal Service is ready and willing to deliver packages 7 days a week but will no longer deliver letters and flats to the doors of any new housing developments.