Nowadays if I want to listen to my favourite music, watch the latest films, and read my emails and messages, I simply need a single device that covers all these demands. I know that someone earns a huge amount of money with every single action I perform. I know that someone tracks my data, stores it and uses it to make me a better and more convenient offer yet again. And I accept it. If I want to handle my postal mail, I may not have it available at the moment I need it. I cannot organise when, where and how I receive my mail and how someone should reach me in order to make mail delivery more suited to my personal schedule. That is why I regularly miss important deadlines and dates, which costs me a huge amount of money. When comparing these two worlds in which I have to handle communication and documents, I have to score mail as inconvenient, incomprehensive and uncompetitive.
This might be one reason why mail volumes are melting rapidly worldwide. Since it became obvious that all worst-case scenarios about declining mail volumes are the hard reality, all stakeholders in the postal industry are thinking about ways to react on these scenarios. Physical mail is melting, but the flow of communication and documents is growing permanently as can be experienced in the everyday use of smart phones, social networking and email. Document volumes are growing at eight percent annually, so why is the postal industry not able to tap into the potential of these growing markets?
Could it be that new communication is not defined as post? That the universal service definition does not fit in with the reality of our lives anymore? Is it simply bound in market protection strategies, regulations, international barriers, rigid standards and unnecessary discussions in defining what mail is and what is not? Indeed, what is a USO? A universal service universally services a major part of the population and guarantees access for everybody at any time. Are not email providers, social networks, webmail services and even a globally acting online book store also universal services?
And what about the quality of the service? Posts regularly claim to provide a good quality to the market – but is this also the consumers’ perception? Is the quality of a service defined by customer needs or is it still defined as a transit time performance no consumer will ever understand? The measures must be competitive, comprehensive and keep in mind the convenience of the people to whom mail is delivered.