Doing their part

Postal Service employees are using the organization’s lead generation programs to help business customers discover the USPS Connect Local pilot program now underway in Texas.

USPS Connect Local provides businesses and nonprofit organizations with local-to-local same-day and next-day package delivery at affordable rates.

Soon after the program’s July launch, Ralph Fields, a Duncanville, TX, letter carrier, made it a point of mentioning it to his business customers.

“I deliver to a lot of different companies and different customers. I’ve been a letter carrier for 27 years, so I’m in tune with the customers on my mail route,” he said.

One of the customers was the owner of Bowed Out, a startup that markets designer hair bows.

The owner was interested in learning more about USPS Connect Local, so Fields submitted a lead card to his Postmaster.

Ronald Williams, a USPS sales representative, followed up with Bowed Out, which now uses USPS Connect Local to mail packages to its customers.

Fields’ lead is credited as the first employee-generated sale for USPS Connect Local, a major component of the Postal Service’s 10-year Delivering for America plan. The program is now available in more than 300 postal locations in Texas.

Fields, who also owns a small textbook publishing business with his sister, believes USPS Connect Local addresses many of the shipping challenges small businesses face.

“I know how important it is for a company to have good shipping, good pricing and a reliable distribution chain. I tell customers the Postal Service is the most reliable distribution chain,” he said.

Lakeisha Russell also believes USPS Connect Local is a good match for many of her customers.

“There are a lot of small businesses here. Most work from home and they usually mail a whole lot of packages,” said Russell, who has worked as a retail associate at the Waxahachie, TX, Post Office for eight years.

When customers drop off packages, Russell talks to them about USPS Connect Local.

“I tell them they can save some money and their customers will get their packages the next day with USPS Connect Local. I also give them the name of a customer service representative,” she said.

Sometimes customers aren’t interested, but it’s important to let them know about USPS services, Russell said.

“Often they will come back and ask, ‘What was the number to the customer service representative again? I think I want to try it,’” she said.

Russell has submitted several leads, including one for a fragrance company that recently signed up for USPS Connect Local.

“I submit leads all of the time. It makes me feel good. I feel like I’ve done my job,” she said.

Fun flair

Message Monsters, the Postal Service’s most playful, customizable Forever stamp design ever, will be released Sept. 24.

The pane of 20 stamps features four monster illustrations that can be dressed up with dozens of self-adhesive accessories on the selvage.

The accoutrements include cartoony voice balloons and thought bubbles with exclamations and salutations, hats and crowns, hearts, stars, daisies and other fun flair.

Antonio Alcalá designed the pane with original artwork by Elise Gravel, author and illustrator of popular children’s books.

The stamps will be available at Post Offices and usps.com.

Ports in the storm

The Combined Federal Campaign’s cause of the week is disaster relief, a category that has sadly increased in importance in the past decade.

The phrase “once-in-a-millennium” to describe a natural calamity — be it a hurricane, heat, flood or other peril — is becoming paradoxically common. Storms are intensifying, and the needs of survivors are great.

That’s where the campaign’s disaster relief charities come in, providing shelter, food, clothing and comfort to victims as well as helping fund groups that mitigate the threat.

The campaign, also known as the CFC, has highlighted five areas under the disaster relief heading: public safety, fire prevention, search and rescue, natural disasters and first responders.

A quick search on the website under the category Public Safety, Disaster Preparedness & Reliefwill turn up organizations from Alaska to Wyoming assisting such efforts here and abroad.

The Combined Federal Campaign is the federal government’s workplace charity drive. The latest campaign began Sept. 1 and runs through Jan. 15.

Participation in the CFC is voluntary.

The GiveCFC.org website has more information.

This is the first in a series of articles spotlighting the Combined Federal Campaign’s cause of the week. Next week: education.

Cold facts

“News Quiz” is a weekly feature that lets you test your knowledge of recent Link stories. The correct answers appear at the end.

1. Fill in the blank: Priority Mail Express Cold Chain Packaging is designed for products that must remain cold for up to (blank) at 45 degrees or below during shipment.

a) 24 hours
b) 36 hours
c) 48 hours
d) 72 hours

2. How many member countries belong to the Universal Postal Union?

a) 192
b) 291
c) 912
d) 921

3. True or false: Two New York City ZIP Codes were retired by USPS after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

a) True
b) False

4. On Sept. 9, the Postal Service released its first newly designed Happy Birthday stamp since when?

a) 1987
b) 1988
c) 2002
d) 2020

5. How much will customers save when they purchase two Hallmark greeting cards at select Post Offices, through Sept. 26?

a) $1
b) $2
c) $3
d) $4

Answers: 1) d. 2) a. 3) a. 4) c. 5) a.

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