Electronic Certified Mail® Return Receipts: A Digital Solution to an Analog Problem

Back in 1955, the U.S. Postal Service created the Certified Mail® service, an initiative designed to give peace of mind to the pre-digital generation that their shipped items were getting to their intended destinations, and getting there on time.

Fri Apr 21 14:54:42 EDT 2017
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Back in 1955, the U.S. Postal Service created the Certified Mail® service, an initiative designed to give peace of mind to the pre-digital generation that their shipped items were getting to their intended destinations, and getting there on time. Without any text or email notifications for tracking deliveries, shippers of the day had to rely on recipients signing Certified Mail return receipts to prove that their package or envelope had made it. Over the decades that followed, these small, green return receipts became synonymous with accountability and transparency.

But, they also became synonymous with a handful of logistical struggles, too. Because while the return receipts may provide peace of mind, they are, at the end of the day, still another level of paperwork to deal with. That means committing to any number of labor hours and costs in sending, receiving, retrieving and filing these receipts; filling out specific USPS® forms to request return receipts; and, for legal offices and other professional service firms that rely on return receipts, being forced to reallocate precious resources away from more important tasks to overseeing these little green cards.

Bringing Return Receipts into the 21st Century

Given all that, it should be little surprise that USPS® moved in 2001 to give its return receipt offering a much-needed modernized facelift. Since its inception, the electronic Return Receipt (eRR) service has quickly become the preferred solution for mailers and shippers. It’s easy to see why:

  • No more risk: One of the biggest worries with traditional paper return receipts is that they sometimes don’t always make a smooth journey from point A to B; they can get lost along the way, stuck in someone else’s mail and arrive at the wrong destination, and at times come back with no signature at all. With e-Return Receipt, the notice of receipt with signature comes directly back to the mailer electronically, in a simple PDF format. This PDF can be saved within your system or uploaded to any other internal application. 
  • Quicker notifications: No more needing to fill out forms manually and wait for the return receipts to arrive to you in the mail days or weeks later. eRR provides the same service in a fraction of the time.
  • Reduced costs: Compared to the green paper-based Certified Mail receipts, eRRs provide the same delivery confirmation for about half the price (currently $1.30 saved per piece when using eRR). USPS postal rates are not fixed price levels, so as rates can and do continue to change, the prospect of a half-priced eRR service is too alluring to pass up.

USPS Certified Mail with electronic Return Receipt is available as part of the Pitney Bowes SendSuite® product family, a robust carrier management system that can be customized to fit and grow with your needs, while providing flexibility to work within your current workflows. You can reap the savings and labor efficiency of USPS Certified Electronic Return Receipt with our SendSuite solutions and manage all of your carriers (USPS, FedEx®, UPS®, DHL®, etc.), all within the same web-enabled application.