Pitney Bowes: Many mailers not taking advantage of Postal Service mandate changes

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One-third of the respondents to a Pitney Bowes Business Insight survey said they use manual updating procedures when mail is returned to them from the National Change of Address or Address Change Service methods due to incorrect recipient addresses.

The Pitney Bowes unit released the findings on January 4, the same date that companies whose mailings are not compliant with the US Postal Service's Move Update Standard will first be billed an additional 7 cents per assessed piece. The study queried more than 50 executives and IT managers who conduct high-volume mailings in the insurance, finance, communications and utility industries.

According to the survey, 39% of respondents said they have an automated process in place to deal with returned mail from NCOA and ACS methods. The survey also found that 64% of respondents use NCOA to identify address changes to reduce the number of undeliverable mail pieces. Fifty-four percent use ACS to make sure that new address information is returned to the mailer.

“The survey indicates that not everyone out there is 100% compliant, and that the overall marketplace hasn't fully updated as a move update strategy,” said Matt McPartlin, global portfolio director for Pitney Bowes Business Insight's Communications Intelligence division. “There has been a lot of adoption, but not 100%, and I think the US Postal Service is aware of that as well.”

Forty-six percent of respondents said they consider handling return mail a manually intensive process, while 22% said having multiple databases requiring updates is a key constraint.

The goal of the Move Update Standard is to reduce the volume of undeliverable-as-addressed mail, which the federal agency says costs about $1.6 billion to process. The standard's latest mandates, which became effective in November 2008, require businesses to update their bulk mailing lists for both First Class Mail and Standard Mail within 95 days of the mailing date.

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