The USPS Move Update Standard has been in place for over a decade. In order to obtain Full-Service discounts for their clients and receive the Seamless Acceptance incentive, mail service providers (MSPs) must follow this standard. The Seamless Acceptance incentive is a one percent refund on postage paid directly to MSPs, and Full-Service discounts are .003 cents per piece. So, naturally, the higher the volume, the more of a payback there is for the MSP and their customers if they use Seamless Acceptance to electronically induct their mail.
There are various ways to be compliant with the Move Update standard, but basically it comes down to updating the address lists in the databases that are mailed in a timely manner (95 days). This can be challenging for MSPs, because in most cases, they do not own the source name and address data. They can run just-in-time pre-mailing NCOA (National Change of Address) and apply the address changes in the workflow they use to ensure that the latest current address is used on the mail piece. This can be a challenge if the MSP was given a print ready file, though not impossible. If the MSP does update the address, they should offer the source address list company access to the changes. MSPs may be able to work out a mutually agreeable price for this service of returning the address changes.
The bottom line is if the address change does not get made back in the source list of that database, then addresses will continue to be old. Eventually, this can cause the MSPs threshold percentage for change of addresses not applied to increase and risk assessments as the eDoc submitter when their monthly percentage is above .5%.
Another method for Move Update standard compliance is the USPS Address Correction Service (ACS) post-mailing process and electronic data delivery. ACS provides mailers with valuable information regarding addresses that lead to a reduction in Undeliverable-as-Addressed (UAA) Mail. Additionally, ACS allows for maintaining higher quality addresses as related to Change-of-Address (COA) information, provides additional address quality metrics, and (compared to Ancillary Service Endorsement on each piece) provides notifications faster, at a lower cost, and in a format easier to process via automation. NCOA offers a few UAA reasons also, and suppression of these mail pieces could be an option if allowed.
So how do MSPs track their customers address list and measure the address quality of it? MSPs should always review their Business Customer Gateway Scorecards and any service that taps into Scorecard data. In many of these services, monthly Move Update compliance numbers are tracked by your CRID. However, MSPs often combine multiple clients’ data into their print and mail runs using their CRID. The MID (Mailer ID) tied back to a CRID in eDoc is what is tracked in the scorecard data. So, it is cumbersome to figure out whose address data is not current when assessments of eight cents apiece above the .5% threshold are charged to the MSP. It’s preferable to choose a solution that will tap eDoc mailing data and scorecard data and tell you exactly which clients are the biggest offenders with respect to being above the .5% threshold. Some offerings provide a dashboard showing monthly and trend data as well as the ability to drill into the jobs and the actual pieces that did not meet the 95-day update standard. MSPs can then negotiate with their customers (data providers), showing the metrics and sending the piece data that can be tied back to a customer list and their database.
There are other important reasons for keeping name and address data current, such as meeting in-home dates for marketing pieces and meeting legal requirements for delivery of First-Class transactional mail. When a name and address is not current, the USPS will use its machines with electronic forwarding information, manual review of individual pieces with OCR equipment, and carrier force information to get the mail piece to the right address. In almost every case where a new address is found, the mail will be delayed, sometimes a week or longer. The worst case is that the piece is undeliverable, with the cost of producing it wasted. The customers of MSPs are sometimes aware of this, but MSPs can help their customers understand all of this and work with them to achieve better deliverability and cost savings.
With over 30 years of innovative postal solutions that make using the Postal Service easier and more profitable for mailers and shippers, Jeff Peoples, founder and CEO of Window Book, has done presentations at industry events, GraphExpo, MAILCOM, the National Postal Forum, Postal Customer Council meetings, Harvard Business Expert Forum and other industry and direct marketing events.
This article originally appeared in the January/February, 2022 issue of Mailing Systems Technology.