Postal horror story

Mar 01, 2000 10:30 PM  By

I would like to bring to your attention my recent experience with the Postal Service, specifically the Washington, DC, bulk mail center (BMC). We sent out 200,000 catalogs on Dec. 28 and used a freight consolidator to deliver the mailing to the BMCs.

Our mailing reached the Washington BMC on Jan. 3, but after two weeks, we still had no response from that area. I contacted Gail Corum, the customer service representative for the Washington BMC, and was initially told that our mail had never been received.

I finally got the BMC to admit that, indeed, it had received our mail, and that it had been processed and sent out to the distribution centers. But then, after more than a week, it admitted that the mail had never been processed and was still sitting in a trailer at the BMC. The BMC said that it had been so busy that incoming mail was being processed while older mail just sat there! Our first order from that area came on Jan. 3 – more than a month after the catalog was mailed. And Washington was not the only BMC that showed less-than-stellar performance. We also had delayed response from Detroit and Philadelphia.

Just last year we installed a computer system that allows us to track where our response is coming from, and after this debacle, I am even more grateful we have it. I have no doubt that our mail would still be sitting at the BMC had I not nagged the personnel there into finding and processing it. I wonder just how many other marketing people are now scratching their heads at the poor response rate of their mailings.

Also, our catalog is a small, digest-size piece and goes at a letter rate. So it’s not just catalogers being neglected. And the USPS wants to raise its rates! It wouldn’t bother me so much if it were doing its job.