USPS Awards Inbound to Harte-Hanks

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The United States Postal Service has tapped Harte-Hanks to handle inbound telemarketing and fulfillment for the USPS's business and consumer marketing campaigns.

"We are providing lead management services, customer support, order processing and fulfillment for the USPS business to business campaigns," said Ron Tenbush, account manager for Harte-Hanks.

The business to business campaign, began its initial phases in late October and is being fully implemented this month. Harte-Hanks is setting aside a team of 15 to 20 dedicated agents to the campaign depending on call volume. Once the business to business campaign is fully underway, Harte Hanks will create another team to provide similar services to the business to consumer campaign the postal service is planning.

"We are capturing and tracking responses to questionnaires and passing that information to a database which is being provided by Paragren Technologies," Tenbush said.

Paragren, Reston, VA, is providing two types of database technology for the USPS. One, designed to help the postal service with discovery and analysis of consumers, will tell them who their best customers are and what services they are using. The other, a campaign manager, will allow the postal service to segment customers and engage in direct marketing strategies.

The USPS is going to be linked to Paragren's database in Reston through ESS Base, a Web-based Hyperion software package that will allow the USPS to retrieve information stored by Paragren. It will also be able to access Harte Hanks' database directly through the Web.

"When Harte-Hanks engages in fulfillment of a product they will send the information on the customer to us through a regular feed and we will put that into our database and will develop profiles through data such as the SIC [Standard Industrial Classification] Code," said Dan Lackner COO of Paragren Technologies. "This will help them determine what their penetration in a particular market is and what their customers are buying and what they are likely to buy. "

Harte-Hanks is using its in-house operations to fulfill requests from customers and prospects who call the 800 number. The fulfillment materials include information on postal services such as Priority Mail plus and several other programs.

The postal service and Harte-Hanks, Austin, TX, have signed a two-year contract with three one-year extension options for the projects. Harte-Hanks was chosen by the USPS through a standard bidding process.

The USPS has established key indicators which are used as a guideline to monitor Harte-Hanks' operations.

"Based on those indicators we will look at their ability to achieve or exceed them," Lance said. "We will also have quality control and audit procedures in place."

The postal service worked with Harte-Hanks on direct mailings in the past but never in a telemarketing capacity.

The postal service is also working with four agencies on creative and targeting strategy: Young and Rubicam and Foote, Cone & Belding, both in New York; and Frankel & Co. and Draft Worldwide, both in Chicago.

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