Address management problems can even affect revenues. Consider a year's worth of marketing campaigns, in which a million pieces of direct mail are sent. Assuming a modest 1% conversion rate, and a 10% rate of mail that reaches its destination either too late or not at all, due to address errors, how much business could be lost? Let's take a look:
1% conversion rate = 1000 lost customers
Assuming a $100 value per customer, the potential savings is $100,000. Not only is there a calculable dollar cost for every piece of lost mail, but prospects who weren't reached by your mail may end up buying similar products from your competitor.
Many companies attempt to save money by sending much of their mail via third-class. That may seem a cost-effective solution, but incorrectly addressed third-class mail is simply destroyed by the post office, rather than being returned. This can end up costing more money, as management may never become aware of address management problems, since they never see the returned mail.
Solving Data Problems Before They Even
The traditional method of trying to solve address problems is to use a data cleaning software to run through the addresses and highlight problem addresses.A better solution is to stop bad data before it gets into the database and to validate the address by matching it against the U.S.Postal Service database as the data are entered.
Here are some typical scenarios where users can stop bad addresses before they can damage a company's bottom line:
- If a call center operator misspells a street name when entering it into a database, the operator should be notified that an error is being made and show her the correct spelling.
- When a customer forgets to include an apartment number when filling out an order over the web they should be prompted to provide it.
- A new employee wants to order office supplies, but doesn't know his employer's ZIP code.This should be done automatically.
- Your database formats irregular addresses, such as those in Puerto Rico, PO boxes, or international addresses, slightly incorrectly, resulting in undelivered mail. Address validation solutions exist that automatically formats these addresses according to the Postal Service's strict Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) regulations, ensuring on-time, cost-effective delivery.
- A customer's address is 123 Main Street NE, but he forgets to mention the "NE" while talking on the phone with a mail-order firm.An automatic prompt to the call center operator should ask him for a directional.
Address management problems are the profit-eaters you may not even know you have. In the past, losing money through returned or undelivered mail was simply considered the cost of doing business by mail. In 2003, this is no longer necessary. Knowing the mail statistics, and recognizing how those statistics can affect your bottom line, is the first step. With cutting-edge solutions available at off-the-shelf prices, there is no excuse for losing money through poor data address data management.
# According to the United
States Postal Service, (http://www.usps.com/communications/organization/postalfacts.htm)
* According to a 2002 United States Postal Service report