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USPS has released revenue figures for the second quarter of 2018, which revealed the postal operator's shipping and packages revenue grew by US$445m or 9.5% (read more here). But how many more parcels did the operator handle between January 1 and March 31, 2018?

Postal Technology International Awards 2017


 

Digital Innovation of the year:
SingPost’s SAM self-service kiosks and online services

SingPost’s SAM is an omnichannel platform that offers consumers anytime, anywhere access to postal and other consumer services through a network of self-service kiosks, a web portal and a mobile app.

The project is the result of significant investments in technology by SingPost, aimed at delivering services that improve the customer experience, including shortening queues at post offices. SAM provides digital channels through which customers can buy stamps, weigh parcels, track mail, pay bills, make donations and conduct other transactions. Through the SAM kiosks, SingPost, in partnership with Western Union, has become one of the first national posts to facilitate remittances 24/7, as well as providing the service over the post office counter.

Dr Bernard Leong, head of post office network and digital services at SingPost, says, “This is an age of exponential technological transformation and changing consumer expectations. There is an ever-increasing desire from consumers for greater control and improved efficiency.

“The SAM platform was created because we recognized that the post office needed to be augmented from a bricks-and-mortar entity to a pervasive, digital network that can cater for the next generation of digitally savvy customers, while enabling our older customers to enjoy the improved customer experience that the digital post office will result in.”

Older generation
The SAM kiosks are a key channel in the transition to the digital post office, particularly for older customers who are less familiar with the web and mobile channels. Dr Leong says, “An important consideration in realizing our digital post office vision was the broad spectrum of customers we serve. While Singapore is a fairly tech-savvy nation, some of our older customers may be less familiar with web and mobile channels. “The SAM kiosks provide a hybrid channel that presents a digital interface of the web and mobile channels, in the more familiar context of a physical station.” SingPost designed and engineered its kiosks to offer an enhanced experience through an interface Leong describes as “modern and user friendly”. The kiosks use high-resolution, responsive touchscreens powered by Apple iPads and use cloud technology for back-end processes, enabling a fast rollout. The user interface is based on the same design as the web and mobile interfaces, to ensure a unified user experience across all SAM channels. Leong says, “With SAM, our customers gain new ways to access services previously available only at post office counters. On top of postal services and bill payments, remittances and the sending of registered articles are being enabled at the self-serve kiosks. The new kiosks also feature redesigned interfaces that facilitate a faster and friendlier navigation experience.”

Access mail anywhere
SingPost is offering customers Digital Postal Mail (DPM) via the SAM platform as a way for them to receive and store mail. Compared with physical mail, DPM offers immediate access to new and archived correspondences anywhere, with certainty for the security of their communications. According to Leong, this has clear benefits for SingPost’s business partners as well as its customers.

“SAM reduces the significant time and resources that our business partners would have had to spend catering to the diverse payment needs of their customers,” says Leong. “Our partners can increase their reach and provide an omnichannel experience to their customers through SAM. They can also receive unified payment reports that offer insights into customer preferences. It enables our business partners to focus on their core business while leaving the payment processing to SingPost.” The change from physical mail to digital postal mail provides cost savings and improves efficiency for SingPost’s business partners, through savings on stationery and administration costs. Businesses also gain more control over how they interact with their customers. For example, they can check whether a verified recipient has received or viewed the communication.

A developing platform
SingPost firmly believes in the strength of its digital proposition in securing the future of the post. “SAM forms the foundation for our vision of the digital post office, where the post office is no further than your pocket. Through the SAM omnichannel platform we are offering consumers anytime, anywhere access to postal and other consumer services, keeping in step with their needs and demands as they evolve in this digital age,” says Leong. As part of this future proofing of the platform, SingPost is continuing to develop the features of the SAM web and mobile platforms, with e-signing being the latest addition. The post intends to continue to digitize counter services at post offices, complemented by the introduction of new services. Leong says, “Our key focus is to transform and enhance the customer experience, using customer transactional data made available by digitization. “We are conducting a pilot to automate the sending of registered articles through the self-serve kiosks. The SAM platform also integrates our Digital Postal Mail as a value-added service. This enables trusted communication between verified senders and recipients via the SAM platform.” The signs so far indicate that customers are happy with the SAM platform, with surveys showing significant improvements in levels of satisfaction. “Our post office net promoter score survey showed an increase of about 11.5% between the first quarter of 2016 and the third quarter of 2016. During this period, the number of verified SAM users using web and mobile was growing at an average of 26% month on month.” “Compared with a year ago, we have seen SAM users on web and mobile increase by 35%.”

DIGITAL INNOVATION OF THE YEAR SHORTLIST:

  • Hermes’ Alexa Skill
  • Zebra’s SmartPack
  • Evertracker’s AI
  • FarEye’s mobility solution for retailers



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