This article originally appeared in the May/June issue of Mailing Systems Technology.
Mailers, you deserve a pat on the back. In the latest Mailer Scorecard Performance Metrics report by the USPS®, mailing service providers have met or exceeded the thresholds in all categories. Since its introduction, businesses and providers have educated themselves, improved, and worked with the U.S. Postal Service® to maintain a high level of performance on the Mailer Scorecard metrics.
In the changing and oft-challenging direct mail communications world, meeting and exceeding goals in this new Scorecard era is worth a pause for congratulations. Well done! These moments are fleeting – there are more big changes ahead for mailing service providers, such as Informed Visibility® and Informed Delivery®. While the Postal Service is still in beta testing for those two products, now is the time for providers to stay diligent on data quality.
There’s a number still looming that needs work – 4.4 billion mailpieces were categorized as “Undeliverable As Addressed” or “UAA” in the 2016 fiscal year. Somewhat remarkably, despite all the changes in technology, UAA mail has hovered around 4 percent of the total mail volume since 1998. Many of new policies and procedures the USPS is putting in place, like Informed Visibility and Informed Delivery, are aimed at impacting that number – and the billions of wasted dollars associated with UAA mail.
Lessening UAA mail is about staying educated, staying diligent and reaching across the table to your partners for support.
--Start Simple. One of the most common causes of UAA mail is sending mail to a deceased individual. A bit morbid, but using a suppression service to flag and/or remove addresses of deceased persons is a simple way to cleanse data and reduce UAA.
--When there was No COA. 75 percent of UAA mail cannot be delivered is because it’s deemed “the customer no longer receives mail at address.” That’s partially because 40% of U.S. movers do not submit a COA (Change of Address) to the Post Office. That doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road for the mail owner. While the USPS, by law, cannot change or alter an address, owners can use data housekeeping tools like Address Resolution Service (ARS) and Proprietary Change of Address (PCOA) to append data in a primary address.
--Doing Your Own Advocacy. Work with customers to help them understand the importance of good data hygiene. Work with your processing and production staff to identify common addressing problems like run-ons, alpha/numeric switches, etc. Empower everyone to be an editor. Do not discount the power of one – one more sale that your customer’s marketing team can attribute to direct mail means more business for you.
Learn more about the ways you can solve UAA mail dilemmas. Visit www.bccsoftware.com/UAAsolutions