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Biggest Postal Rate Change in History Forces Rethink for UK's SMEs

(March 27, 2012)

HARLOW, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwire) -- 03/27/12 -- Pitney Bowes is advising Britain's SMEs not to get caught out by huge increases in the postal rate, announced today by the Royal Mail. Those businesses which still use first class stamps could see their postal bill rocket by 30% as stamps rise from 46p to 60p for the smallest letter. Second class stamps will increase from 36p to 50p, an additional 38%. Users of franking machines however, will bear a smaller increase of 5p from 39p to 44p for 1st class mail, and 3p for 2nd class letters, from 28p to 31p.

The new prices will come into effect on 30th April, giving the UK's 2,645,000 SMEs and SoHos little time to consider their options.

Phil Hutchison, Pitney Bowes marketing director said: "Initially this may appear very challenging for Britain's SMEs, but there are some alternatives to consider. For instance, many customers can cut costs immediately by moving to metered mail which has become increasingly attractive financially.

"Pitney Bowes's Smart franking machines are equipped with postal scales to ensure that the right price is applied every time. As well as safeguarding against overpaying for your post, this also ensures that you never run the risk of underpaying, which can be costly to businesses, particularly with administrative fees moving to 80p for every underpaid item, plus the underpayment amount on each item.


"Those who want to stick with stamps can also make savings by folding documents into letter format."

Pitney Bowes will be publishing comprehensive advice online at www.ratechange.co.uk as well as offering specific product options suitable for small and micro businesses. Existing users of meters will be able to view a Pitney Bowes webinar to help them understand the issues and which response is best for their individual situation.

"The gap between the cost of stamps and metered mail is widening each year and many SMEs would be well advised to consider moving to a franking machine if they haven't already", says Phil Hutchison. In addition to significant instant time and money savings, metered mail also delivers a range of benefits such as better 'open rates' and presents a more professional image to customers, as well as enabling users to access a range of other bulk mailing discounts.

Pitney Bowes warns businesses not to abandon physical mail in a bid to avoid high postage rates, advising that physical mail still has an important part to play. Phil Hutchison continues, "Successful customer communications depend on a delicate balance of message, medium and timing. Although digital communications undoubtedly have their place, traditional print campaigns are still critical for most businesses and are likely to remain so for many years to come."

Recent consumer research by Pitney Bowes has shown that customers still enjoy physical mail and in many cases it has clear advantages over email. Pitney Bowes believes that both forms of customer contact are likely to exist alongside each other for many years and SMEs should take the opportunity to review their entire communications strategy.

Pitney Bowes recently released the results of customer research showing that consumers are becoming increasingly jaded as a result of excessive contact from businesses, and revealing the 7 Deadly Sins of Communication. (http://pressroom.pitneybowes.co.uk/why-your-customers-are-just-not-that-into-you/).

www.pitneybowes.co.uk

For more information, interviews or an image, please contact James Harris at Lucre Public Relations on 0208 332 9690 or pitneybowes@lucre.co.uk.

About Pitney Bowes

Delivering more than 90 years of innovation, Pitney Bowes provides software, hardware and services that integrate physical and digital communications channels. Long known for making its customers more productive, Pitney Bowes is increasingly helping other companies grow their business through advanced customer communications management. Pitney Bowes is a $5.3 billion company with 29,000 employees worldwide. Pitney Bowes: Every connection is a new opportunity(TM). www.pb.com

Contacts:
Media Contact:
James Harris
0208 332 9690
james@lucre.co.uk


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