ADDRESSING FOR SUCCESS By Christine J. Erna
Following these best practices can reduce your mailing costs, increase the effectiveness of your mail piece, and improve your overall operations.
he Data Warehousing Institute reports that most organizations believe that their contact data quality is fine. However, the United States Postal Service consistently releases news that contradicts this assumption — and this misguided complacency could have a significant impact on mail operations. Consider that: 23.6% of all mail is addressed incorrectly The quality of stored US addresses decays at a rate of 17% per year Undeliverable-as-Addressed (UAA) mail costs the USPS nearly $2 billion each year
Corporate data governance (or lack thereof) related to mailing addresses is suspect, challenging, confusing, and damaging to organizations trying to communicate with their clients and prospects. It is not difficult to get the correct mailing address data through commercial address cleansing software that performs Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) and National Change of Address (NCOA) functions. What is difficult is getting this correct, complete, and updated information into a company’s database or system of record (SOR). There is a lot of misinformation in our industry surrounding the “legality” of updating an address record in a company’s database.
In my experience, these misconceptions are prevalent across most industry verticals: banking, insurance, tech/energy, and healthcare. Compliance and risk assessment are extremely important in every business. Equally important is educating compliance and risk departments about address quality. Recognizing the difference between actual laws restricting an update to a client’s address and corporate policies that restrict this because of an organization’s desire to protect against any type of risk or liability for having made such changes is crucial. The fact is, there are very few laws governing or preventing a company from updating its SOR. There are many policies that companies and organizations have in place that restrict them from maintaining quality data records for their clients and prospects. Laws are definitive, but policies are not, and they could (and should!) be reviewed and changed to establish a quality data governance process that can protect an organization. THE IMPORTANCE OF MEASURING ADDRESS QUALITY The USPS finally has the tools to measure address quality, and, luckily, they are doing so. Their tools are accurate and sophisticated enough to support the monthly fines and assessments they began sending to mailers in April of 2018. Educating organizations
Mailing Systems Technology Nov/Dec 2018