Do you mail in your tax returns? Have you ever received a summons for jury duty? If so, it’s likely you’ve sent or received Certified Mail — a special service from the U.S. Postal Service that provides proof of mailing to the sender.
With its distinctive green label, Certified Mail is easily recognizable. It can be added to other mail products like First-Class Mail or Priority Mail for an extra fee. And with its proof of mailing, full tracking through the postal network, and confirmation of delivery/attempted delivery, Certified Mail is a valued service for people, businesses, and governments.
U.S. legal and financial systems rely on Certified Mail transactions, which can be used as evidence in legal proceedings that a document was sent or received. Many businesses and governments are required to send certain types of notices by Certified Mail. Even when it isn’t required, customers often choose to send important documents like tax returns, contracts, or cashier’s checks with Certified Mail because of the increased confidence in delivery.
As noted in our new white paper, Delivering Peace of Mind: Certified Mail and the U.S. Postal Service, Certified Mail is the highest-selling USPS ancillary service, earning $670 million in revenue in fiscal year 2016. When revenues from base postage and related services like Return Receipts and Adult Signatures are added, total revenue associated with Certified Mail is estimated to exceed $1 billion.
Yet, recent declines in Certified Mail use suggest it’s time for innovation. The Americans we surveyed expressed broad interest in innovating Certified Mail, such as providing a digital receipt to the sender or offering a fully electronic version of Certified Mail that could be used to transmit electronic documents. Many respondents said such developments would likely increase their use of Certified Mail.
Do you use Certified Mail? What do you like about the service? What product enhancements would make you more likely to use Certified Mail? What other ways could the Postal Service improve their Certified Mail services?