Swiss Post seeks letter volume boost with later collections

Swiss Post is investing an extra EUR 8m a year to upgrade its collection services to pick up letters from postboxes later in the day. The company said doing so will improve customer service and help “retain the appeal” for people to communicate through letters.

With immediate effect, around 93% of letters mailed in postboxes will be collected at 5pm or later.

Swiss Post is also introducing 148 collections that will take place at 7pm Monday to Friday, along with 222 new Sunday collections at 5pm.

And, the company is releasing a new website and smartphone application to help customers to locate their nearest postbox.

Around 400m letters are mailed in postboxes in Switzerland each year, with letter volumes growing 1% in the first half of this year, according to Swiss Post’s latest financial results.

“Mainstay”

The company says the letter market is still an “important mainstay” for its business.

Even while it is investing in digital and hybrid technologies, Swiss Post said this week it was “convinced” that letters will remain a core business, and that it will continue investing in optimising services and seeking new opportunities for growth.

“Swiss Post is continuing to focus on letters. In many applications, physical mail has a significantly more powerful impact than electronic alternatives,” it said.

“The fall in volumes of addressed letters levelled off significantly last year. The first half of 2011 is showing an even more positive picture, with the volume of addressed consignments increasing slightly.”

Part of its search for growth is in providing better off-peak collection services, with 469 of the most frequently used postboxes now given a collection at 7pm or later.

Of the 1,800 postboxes that have a Sunday collection, Swiss Post said 479 will now be emptied after 5pm.

The new website and smartphone app will help publicise the availability of its postbox network, using a map-based location finder to help customers locate their nearest drop-off point.

Swiss Post said the system would allow customers to search for postboxes by both geographical location and by collection time.

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