Like many industries, traditional postal delivery has seen tremendous disruptions with the rise of the Internet during the past few years. That rapid rate of change poses significant challenges—and opportunities—for French firm Neopost S.A., the world’s second-largest provider of mailing, addressing, document handling, and logistics systems. With products and services marketed in 90 countries and subsidiaries in 18 countries, Neopost employs a global workforce of 5,500, servicing more than 800,000 customers worldwide.
Headquartered in Milford, Connecticut, the firm’s American operating company, Neopost USA, works with a network of 150 independent dealers and retailers to reach its customers, 90 percent of whom are small- and medium-size businesses with 50 or fewer employees.
That means they need a travel program that maximizes flexibility while controlling costs. With 25 percent of its approximately 2,000 U.S.-based employees traveling regularly (resulting in the issuance of some 4,500airline tickets annually), Neopost relies on the American Airlines® Business ExtrAA loyalty program to make the most of its travel dollars. The program, which features free enrollment, allows companies to earn points for every dollar spent on qualifying tickets and allows their employees to earn their own, individual AAdvantage miles. Those points can then be redeemed for flights and other rewards such as upgrades, Admirals Club® memberships, and even AAdvantage Gold® Status.
“One advantage of the program for us is central management of travel rewards,” says Carl Amacker, senior vice president of U.S. marketing for Neopost USA, “By participating fully in the program, we can redeem points when it’s most advantageous, such as for last-minute travel. This enables us to maximize savings when we can plan travel ahead of time and reduce costs when advance planning isn’t possible. With the industry in such a state of flux, we have to be flexible and dynamic enough to look at different business models and new opportunities.”
Meeting communications needs
Even with rapid change becoming the norm, the company’s mission—helping customers communicate—is more relevant than ever. “People haven’t stopped communicating,” Amacker points out. “In fact, we have more ways of communicating now than ever before. Our ability to thrive and grow depends on helping our clients reach their customers in the format—whether electronic or physical—that best suits the message.” The company’s strategy is to work with customers as trusted advisors who can help them sort through the myriad communication and shipping options available to them.
Central to this strategy are Neopost’s networks of dealers and partners. “We believe that one of our competitive advantages is having a nationwide sales force that customers can call on when they have a question or issue,” Amacker says. “Sometimes they have needs that can’t be met effectively through email or a remote call center, and they want to know who to call when those needs arise.” The challenge for Neopost USA then becomes managing its network of independent dealers to satisfy their requirements and wants and keep them up to speed. At the same time, the company follows a strategy of partnering with or acquiring companies that can provide products and services relevant to its customers.
Developing and maintaining each of these networks requires a robust and flexible travel program, such as Business ExtrAA. “Face-to-face contact is crucial for us in two major areas,” Amacker says. “The first is with customers. Although most of our end users are small businesses, we do have some very large clients. When someone spends $300,000 to $400,000 with you, they want to know whom they’re working with. They want to put a face to a name and know that someone is taking care of them.”
The second area, though not customer-facing, is no less important: independent dealers and partners. “We rely on our dealerships, and we can’t neglect them,” he says. “We have to make sure they have the resources and training they need to service their customers or they’ll take their business elsewhere.” Similarly, when it comes to negotiating a partnership or acquisition, he adds, “you simply have to be in the same room, around the same table, to make sure everyone is on the same page and in order to conclude the deal.”
In this fast-paced market, Neopost has to respond to valuable business opportunities as they arise.Thanks to the American Airlines® Business ExtrAA program, the company can establish and maintain mission-critical partner relationships while keeping its travel budget under control.
To learn more about how American Airlines® Business ExtrAA can make your business travel program more flexible and cost-efficient, visit www.businessextraa.com. Enroll Today