We’ve all been there. Spending hours waiting for mail delivery, only to have nothing in our mailboxes by the end of the day. Although it sucks, we can’t forget the fact that the USPS loses over 146 billion mailpieces every year. Some of the mail goes missing after theft or misdelivery.

If the USPS didn’t lose your mail, perhaps they sent an “Out for Delivery” notification to let you know that the mailman has it. Or maybe, the carrier had no way to access the neighborhood, and they’ll have to give it another try the next day. Whatever the reason, as a business, you don’t want your mail delivery failing--at least not in the middle of a hot buying season.

In this post, we look into certified mail as a possible cure for mail delivery fail, the most common reasons why mail delivery could fail, and how to fix it.

Using Certified Mail: Rules, Pros, and Cons

Certified mail is a service offered by the USPS. The sender receives an official receipt as proof that the mail was delivered or that an attempt was made to deliver. When shipping, the sender of the mail must provide their signature, which stays in the USPS database for a maximum of 2 years. At an additional fee, the sender can also request a return receipt.

Rules of Certified Mail

Certified mail is not the same as regular mail. First of all, you must visit the post office in person to send certified mail. Here are other things to keep in mind when using certified mail:

  • The USPS makes only one delivery attempt for certified mail.
  • Someone must be present at the point of delivery to pick up certified mail. Otherwise, it gets returned to the post office.
  • If no one came out at the mail delivery time, the recipient must go to the post office to pick it up.
  • In case the recipient misses the mail delivery time, they should get a reminder note from the carrier acknowledging that the delivery was attempted.
  • If the mail item remains in the post office for 5-7 days after the first delivery attempt, the USPS leaves a second delivery notice at the mailbox.
  • If no one is there to pick the mail 5-7 days after the final attempt, the USPS returns the item back to the sender.

Certified mail takes 3-5 business days with First Class mail. You can also upgrade to Priority Mail Delivery, which takes 2-3 days.

Certified Mail Pros

  • Certified mail ensures that the mail item gets shipped to the right person only.
  • The signature provides legal proof that the item has been sent to the recipient.
  • The sender can restrict delivery to specific people only.
  • Certified mail can be easily tracked online or via phone

Certified Mail Cons

  • If no one is home, the mail item goes back to the post office. The recipient must go to the post office and provide identification to pick it up.
  • Certified mail isn’t always convenient for eCommerce because it comes with extra charges.
  • The 15-day waiting period before the item gets shipped back to the sender might be too short for recipients if, for some reason, they can't make it to the postal office.

Five Reasons Why Your Mail Delivery Could Fail

Mail delivery is not always successful the first time. Sometimes, the carrier faces several hurdles in the attempt to deliver items to your mailbox. From non-existent mailboxes to loose pets on the premises, here are 5 reasons we think that your mail delivery could fail.

Invalid Address/Mailbox

Incorrect addresses are a solid reason why your mail delivery could fail. We all make mistakes, more so when filling out zip codes, street names, or state abbreviations.

Missing critical details on addresses may lead to invalid mailboxes. The good news is that it can be fixed by your address verification provider. Address verification checks and corrects errors in a given address.

Full Mailbox

Sometimes the mailing company won’t deliver mail to a full mailbox. If the mail is undeliverable, the carrier leaves a PS form 3849 (Redelivery notice). The mail will be held at the local post office for at least 10 days, after which it bounces back to the sender, just like in a mail delivery subsystem.

Inaccessible Mailbox

The USPS values carrier safety. They will ask you to remove any obstructions making the mailbox inaccessible. Big hills of snow, vehicles, and other obstructions to your mailbox need to be cleared before the mailman arrives. USPS policy requires that the mailman get out of the delivery vehicle and make the delivery to your mailbox. If it’s not easily accessible, the safety of the carrier is at risk, and your mail might not be delivered.

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Hazards and Natural Disasters

Bad weather, health hazards, and natural disasters are out of the mailer’s hands. But, the mailers can still protect their employees’ safety by temporarily delaying your mail and resuming delivery once the bad conditions are over. Stay on alert. The USPS warns consumers and businesses of mail delivery disruptions due to bad weather and natural disasters.

Loose Animals

Loose animals count as a threat to the personal safety of the carrier. For instance, if the customer has a dog on the loose, the delivery service for that home could be temporarily halted. Even worse, the entire neighborhood could also face the consequences. Owners should lock up their pets during delivery hours.

If you can’t receive mail due to any of the issues listed above;

  • Pick your mail from the local postal office.
  • Have your neighbor receive it on your behalf.

Tips to Keep Your Mail Safe and Ensure It Doesn’t Fail

A lot could go wrong with mail delivery, but that doesn't mean you can't keep your mail delivery safe. Here are a few ways to protect your shipment and ensure mail delivery doesn't fail:

  • Obtain the right customer address. Before everything else, mail recipients need to provide correct customer addresses. Address verification software ensures that the provided information reflects a true address.
  • Mail tracking. There are several ways to track mail sent through the USPS. You can use the USPS online service. There's also a USPS app for Android and iOS. Others use SMS by texting the mail's tracking number to 28777.
  • Use the right carrier. Always remember to use the right carrier for your direct mail. Valuable items need to go to the right people or have some kind of protection against theft. Customers can use certified mail or sign up for Registered Mail.
  • Educate customers on the best mail delivery practices. The customer also has a part to play in successful mail delivery and safety. For instance, they should be there to pick up the mail the moment it lands. Doing this wards off mail theft.
Keep Your Mail Safe

Technology Solution for Foolproof Mail Delivery: Inkit Send + Inkit Verify

Need to send direct mail to your customers? Inkit Send and Inkit Verify can help with that. Although certified can help securely deliver high-value mail and print communications, it is not enough to send letters and packages at bulk. Your business needs a simple, cost-effective way to verify customer addresses first and then deliver items to their mailboxes.

Inkit Send is a direct mail automation tool that helps businesses connect with customers by automatically sending print communication based on real-time customer action. Our easy-to-use tool integrates seamlessly with your CRM to deliver direct mail and print communications on demand.

Inkit Verify also steps in by addressing the invalid/incorrect customer address problem. This tool integrates with your checkout forms and websites. It screens customer data against the USPS database to ensure that the given addresses exist and that they are deliverable. It also automatically generates a list of customer addresses to minimize the chances of wrong address input.

Final Thoughts

Normal mail delivery should take anywhere between 3-4 business days. Companies spend a lot of money on address verification and shipping to ensure that customers get what they order regardless of where they are. Still, something may go wrong in the process. If you have any questions about mail delivery or need help with your system, get in touch with the Inkit team today!

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