Is your post office prepared to serve Millennials and Gen Z?
Christoffer Augsburg, Growth Marketing Manager at e-Boks discusses why the postal industry needs to change to serve the next generation.
“For most people around the world, the post office is often associated with images of thousands of mail envelopes, delivery trucks, and mail workers. That is normal, given that one of the world’s oldest industries has remained the same for decades: official letters are often delivered physically, with quite a number being delayed in the system.
Now, Millennials and Gen Z do not want mail delivered physically.
These two population groups make up a huge part of the workforce, and they are quite distinct. Millennials are tech-savvy, born when significant digital systems were just being made; and Gen Z is digital natives, exposed to screens even before they learned the alphabet.
While their familiarity with technology may vary, they understand what going digital is supposed to do: make transactions quicker, more reliable, and more convenient.
What are the pain points of Millennials and Gen Z with the postal industry?
For post offices to keep on delivering in the digital era, they must understand common user pain points:
Snail mail is too slow
Important documents still get delayed, or worse, get lost at this age. In a world where messages can be instantly sent online, official communication is still distributed on paper. While this is okay for getting in touch with older stakeholders or those who have no access to digital technology, it is also important to invest in digital post solutions that are fast and secure.
Transactions in Denmark, for example, are highly digitised: from using digital postbox services to connecting all offices under a single secure delivery system, transactions became faster. It also helps that the government recognizes correspondences done through their secure system. With digital as good as physical, the need for paper in communication has diminished.
Going physical impacts nature
Traditional post systems rely heavily on paper: from letters sent in the mail to documentation processed internally. One of the benefits of digitising the postal industry is diminishing wasted resources, which is a valid concern given the ongoing climate crisis, a pressing issue for young people today.
This also helps save money in the long run, in terms of cut costs on time, transportation, and disposable material.
There is no “Phygital” connection
Insights from Deloitte highlight the “phygital” or combination of physical and digital experiences for millennials. A “smart post office” for example can enhance a young person’s postal service experience: from notifications for on-site self-service transactions to QR-enabled processes to eradicate physical queues.
These make full use of smartphones and near-field communication, to name a few, to make that rare post office visit a pleasurable one.
The postal industry might have existed for centuries, but it needs to get the message that digitising is important moving forward, especially with Millennials and Gen Z making up most of its customers.
Checklist: Questions to ask to know if your post office is prepared to serve Millennials and Gen Z?
There is no reason to stop at accurate parcel tracking or website redesigns: there is more work to be done to future-proof deliveries. But how would you know that your postal service is getting there? Here are some questions to ask:
Do you have a smart post office?
A smart post office is a mix of digital and physical assets, and a way to provide an omnichannel experience. Most importantly, being a smart post office means you are moving towards digital transformation.
Using queuing numbers instead of asking customers to line up may sound like digital transformation already. But it should not stop there. Going smart means making your transactions smooth and efficient for all stakeholders: not just for citizens picking their parcels and receiving their mail, it should also be convenient for workers running the system.
Do you leave paper notices for failed deliveries or do you inform the customer through digital means?
Must a customer physically queue for multiple windows and talk to different employees for simple transactions, or do you have a self-service system in place that makes processes stress-free? Those just a couple of points to consider if you aim to have a smart post office.
Are you offering other types of services aside from sending snail mails?
Back in 2018, Singapore’s SingPost won the World Post & Parcel Awards under the Technology category. Aside from making door-to-door parcel deliveries easier through SmartPac’s prepaid flat rates, their flagship smart post office also enhances the customer experience of sending packages by incorporating weighing scales in self-service kiosks. They also have lockers which could be “used as a secure and flexible point of trade for private buyers and sellers.” Stamp collectors can also conveniently purchase goods on-site.
That is one example of improving customers’ post office experience. A visit doesn’t have to be limited to sending mail: by engaging visitors through its many features, SingPost is able to strengthen relationships with stakeholders.
In Europe, digital post solutions are already in place in Denmark and Ireland. This leads to the next question…
Are you using secure communications platforms?
Everybody uses email. But when it comes to dealing with sensitive information, a digital postbox solution like what we offer at e-Boks is much more secure. With communication happening between verified users in a closed system, messages are guaranteed to be delivered by legitimate senders to intended recipients. There’s very little room for error to happen.
Are you listening to your consumers?
At the end of the day, the best insights you can get about your services are from your users. How do you address complaints? What steps have to be taken to encourage user feedback? How convenient is it for customers to reach representatives for concerns? You may have the best digital system in place, but if you’re not listening to people who use them, your investment is wasted.
Going digital can be intimidating, especially in the postal industry where pushing for change can be challenging. Become an e-Boks partner and let us help you make a better transition.