On a roll

Employee posing with parcels

Customer Connect is continuing its hot streak.

The program, which encourages letter carriers to identify new business opportunities for the Postal Service, produced more than 50,000 leads for USPS during the fiscal year that ended in September, up 6.7 percent from one year earlier.

Customer Connect also generated more than $160 million in estimated annualized revenue during fiscal 2017, a year-to-year increase of almost 9 percent. Since its inception in 2003, the program has generated almost $2.5 billion in estimated annualized new revenue.

“Letter carriers are the face of the Postal Service for most customers,” said Small Business Engagement Director Mary Anderson. “Customers see them at their homes and businesses every day and trust them with their mail. Leveraging these relationships is what makes the program so successful.”

The Postal Service celebrates the program’s success each year by designating Nov. 17 as Customer Connect Appreciation Day. Across the nation, Post Offices will conduct stand-up talks and other activities to educate letter carriers about the program and thank participants.

Customer Connect Appreciation Day is also used to highlight employees like James Cecala, a letter carrier who recently identified an opportunity while on his route in Staten Island, NY.

As Cecala delivered mail to a warehouse, he saw a competitor’s truck making pickups.

He then submitted a Customer Connect tip that led to a sale generating 125,000 new packages annually and more than $1 million in new estimated annualized revenue for the Postal Service.

“I could see firsthand how this company was growing,” Cecala said. “I knew the Postal Service could help them with their shipping needs.”

The Sales Blue page has more information about Customer Connect and other programs that allow employees to submit sales leads, including Rural Reach (rural carriers), Submit a Lead (Executive and Administrative Schedule employees), Clerks Care (retail associates and clerks) and Mail Handlers.

Shining stars

Two employees holding award

A Louisiana Post Office and its leader were recently honored for displaying resilience following a major disaster last year.

In August 2016, prolonged rainfall in parts of Louisiana resulted in catastrophic flooding that submerged thousands of houses and many businesses. Several area Post Offices, including one in Greenwell Springs, were forced to temporarily adjust their operations.

Postmaster Tannor Dupard Jr. helped lead the recovery, prompting fellow Postmaster Bryant Townsend of Angola, LA, to salute him and his employees.

Townsend repurposed a star from a flag at the Greenwell Springs Post Office and framed it with a written tribute to its employees, customers and flood victims. He dubbed it “Recovery Star.”

According to the text, the star and its “faded color represents the dedication that the residents of Greenwell Springs gave to rebuild their lives after the Flood of 2016.”

Townsend chose a special occasion to present the tribute to Dupard.

“I wanted to present my colleague and friend with a birthday gift for being a special individual and an inspiration to me both personally and professionally,” Townsend said.

Need to know

Woman holding tablet showing Open Season website

Open season resources. USPS is offering managers and supervisors a convenient place to learn about this year’s open season benefits enrollment period.

The open season toolkit has information on employee benefits, Checkbook’s Guide to Health Plans and more. There are also promotional videos, pamphlets and FAQs, all geared toward simplifying the process for employees.

The toolkit is available on the Systems and Tools Blue page under the “Benefits” heading.

USPS wants managers and supervisors to share the toolkit’s information with their employees and encourage them to learn about the available plans.

This year’s enrollment period runs from Nov. 13-Dec. 11.

More value. If you’re a bargaining unit employee and have a colleague in your workplace who is positive and passionate about his or her work, USPS wants to hear from you.

The organization is extending its nomination period for its Engagement Most Valuable Player (EMVP) program, which recognizes bargaining employees who foster enthusiasm, involvement and commitment in their workplaces.

The new deadline is Jan. 15.

You can nominate a bargaining unit employee in your work group for the program by completing a nomination form on LiteBlue. Nominations will be reviewed by local managers, who will determine the final selections.

The Employee Engagement LiteBlue page has information.

Got news for “Need to know”? Email your submissions to uspslink@usps.gov.

News quiz

Employee looks at veterans display

Here’s Link’s latest “News quiz,” a weekly feature that invites readers to test their knowledge of recent stories. The correct answers appear at the end.

1. How many postal employees served in the armed forces during World War II?

a) 40,000
b) 56,000
c) 64,000
d) 90,000

2. Fill in the blank: One of Raymond Loewy’s claims to fame is designing the Postal Service’s iconic (blank).

a) Carrier uniforms
b) LLVs
c) Logo
d) Railway Post Offices

3. True or false: Coinsurance is the percentage paid for some covered health care services.

a) True
b) False

4. Which city had the first known women letter carriers?

a) Chicago
b) Detroit
c) St. Louis
d) Washington, DC

5. Match the health plan in Column A with its description in Column B.

Column A
a) Consumer-driven health plan
b) High-deductible health plan
c) Health maintenance organization
d) Preferred provider organization

Column B
I) Comprehensive coverage for high-cost procedures
II) Fee-for-service plan
III) Offers employer-funded health reimbursement arrangements
IV) Provides care in particular geographic or service areas

Answers: 1) b. 2) c. 3) a. 4) d. 5) a. III., b. I., c. IV., d. II. 

Look for a new quiz next week and share your feedback with Link at uspslink@usps.gov.