DM News' Deliver: Undeliverable as Addressed Costs

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Why lose a single customer because of an incorrect or incomplete address or because a customer moved?


Address quality helps a retailer's or marketer's mail reach valued customers. Cost-efficient and timely delivery of every mail piece depends on an accurate address containing complete and correct address elements (apartment numbers, street directions, ZIP code). Every accurate address lets the U.S. Postal Service provide more efficient mail processing and helps the mailer avoid wasted expense because of undeliverable mail.


In 2005, the USPS processed more than 216 billion pieces of mail. Nine billion pieces were undeliverable as addressed and did not reach the intended household or business customer. Mail that cannot be delivered means there was no connection or contact with the customer. Sales and other opportunities were lost, diminishing return on investment.


The investment a company or small business has made in designing, creating and producing a mail piece is lost if it cannot be delivered, as is the potential revenue from all of the customers the mail piece did not reach. Postage is 20 percent of the overall cost of developing advertising mail.


An accurate address lowers postage costs, increases response rates and improves a company's ROI. Internal steps can improve address quality:


· Insist on high standards from list suppliers and list brokers.


· Implement a comprehensive address quality strategy.


· Use available address quality products and services. The USPS also offers services and products to help mailers manage and improve the quality of their mailing lists:


· ZIP+4 Coding Accuracy Support System uses software that tries to match incomplete addresses against range-based records on file.


· Delivery Point Validation is an extra step after CASS to try to validate each specific address in the file.


· Address Element Correction resolves physical address problems at an average correction rate of 30 percent of submitted files.


· National Change of Address provides information in an electronic format.


For more information on addressing tools and resources offered by the postal service, visit www.usps.com/ncsc


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