The handwritten letter always delivers
By Cindy Zimmerman

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I am deeply aware of the mission and urgency of the National Postal Forum, as well as this publication: "To assist the United States Postal Service in building relationships with and educating mailers in the most effective and efficient use of the products and services offered by the United States Postal Service."

Every now and again, it is prudent to remember the basics. The five-star service of the postal worker is the most effective service offered by the U.S. Postal Service. Furthermore, we know the Holy Grail of their service is the handwritten letter.


How often do you send handwritten letters to customers?
  • 1. Never, it's outdated
  • 2. On special occassions
  • 3. Frequently, it's a nice touch

As the self-appointed handwritten note advocate, I have traveled the world documenting stories of how handwritten notes affect people's lives and businesses. My hope is that I will find just the right story to motivate others to put pen to paper and trust that letter to a postal worker.

I've written numerous columns for an international magazine, even have going as far as writing my memoirs about the many handwritten letters that have impacted my life. Some people call it a book, I call it the most important and longest thank-you note I will ever write. I will tell anyone and everyone who will listen: "Handwritten notes are more important, more effective than any technological communication man or woman will ever invent."

With a cost point of pennies, an open success rate of close to 100 percent, why wouldn't we use the most "standout" product of all time, a handwritten letter? May I further suggest you might have much of what you need to write one within five feet of where you are reading this?

The statistics support the results: Hand-addressed envelopes have an open rate from 99.2 percent to 100 percent. Every part of the envelope is an opportunity to connect and capture the attention of the recipient. For my money, right now I'm using the new Johnny Cash postage stamp. Most people aren't aware of it, garnering a fresh attention-grabber. He and his songs hold a place in most people's hearts — a sure winner.

Every detail of our product, the personalized handwritten letter, is an opportunity to connect with our customer. The ink color of our writing makes a difference. Any color other than black, enhances the personal touch. The many textures, colors and sizes of envelopes available provide yet another opportunity to show our customer our correspondence is unique. The paper we write on, again, many products to personalize our message. Fine-writing instruments, pens, pencils help us create our most important human element, our handwriting.

I will continue to look forward to the annual National Postal Forums. Undoubtedly, I will walk away amazed at the new technology, new products and new ideas to help the mailing industry become more efficient. As impressed as I will be, I will smile to myself knowing the most important feature the USPS will always ever have are the men and women working for the post office. The human interaction, the personal five-star touch.

New ideas, new technologies, new products? Yes, there will be many of them, March 16-19, 2014, at the National Postal Forum, to help the behind-the-scenes operations of the mailing industry. I look forward to seeing you there, learning all about the new products. And maybe, you'll have a story to share about your handwritten letters, when you revisited the basics. Between now and then, happy writing, happy days.

Cindy Zimmermann, award-winning author of "A Woman of Interest: A Memoir in Letters," international columnist for Pen World Magazine and advocate for the handwritten note, has traveled the world speaking about the importance of written communication. For more information, visit or