April 10 2008 04:28 PM

Throughout the 1990's Mitch Hungerpiller visited facility after facility around the United States witnessing tray after tray of returned mail.  Mitch would inquire about the trays and the popular response from those responsible for the trays would say, "We get them daily and hate them.  They just will not go away!"  Mitch asked, "What do you do with them?"  The return mail processor would say, "We identify the mail piece, open the envelope, locate the debtor in the computer and record the return mail.  Next we try to find a new address."  Mitch's natural instinct was to figure out a better way as this process seemed way too complicated and time consuming.  Return Mail, Inc. was born!

 Return mail has been studied at least twice by the USPS in the past ten or so years.  The reports are lengthy and analyze every aspect of return mail.  The bottom line, return mail will always be with us.  Too many people move without telling many people, mailing lists become outdated quickly, mail delivery is not a perfect science and errors are made.  There are also privacy laws that govern the USPS and every other aspect of our lives.  The USPS frequently labels return mail as "Undeliverable as Addressed" or quite simply, "UAA" mail.  This USPS label of return mail as UAA draws you to instinctively think that the mail is undeliverable because it has a bad address or the intended recipient does not accept mail at that delivery point.  This label ignores the mistakes and errors that the USPS makes on good addressed mail that is addressed properly.  We have determined after eight years of processing return mail that up to one third of all returned mail should have been delivered by the USPS.  The recent USPS sponsored UAA study released in 2005 states that there are over ten billion UAA units.  This means that there are over three billion mail units that are addressed properly and should have been delivered.  This conclusion infers about a 3% return mail rate as average based on 100 billion non-package units processed annually.

LabSouth based in Birmingham, AL was not any exception to return mail volumes.  LabSouth management had over twenty years of experience in the laboratory and diagnostic services industry.  Ronnie Elliott realized the value of automating the return mail processing function for his business.  As LabSouth's president, Ronnie wasted no time engaging Return Mail, Inc. (RMI) to handle his mail returns.  Ronnie said, "Return mail is a big problem for us.  The average statement amount is so low that it costs us more to process and research than to write it off."  Ronnie's quick understanding of RMI's business niche and process directed him to sign a contract immediately.  Within 60 days of signing up with RMI the return mail volumes decreased by over 50%.  Daily reports that included patient number, guarantor, statement balance, mail date, return date and facility location were provided electronically.  A new address report was provided weekly on those guarantors that could be located at a different address.  After the first year, bad debt write-offs were reduced 3 % and full time staff dedicated to return mail processing was reduced by two-thirds.  LabSouth's financial statements improved substantially and within two years LabSouth was acquired by a national company, Dynacare, Inc.  Ronnie was so adamant that RMI's services contributed so much to his improved financial performance that he insisted that RMI service become a part of the larger company acquisition.  He was successful in his requests and RMI became a national service provided overnight.  Dynacare Labs was headquartered in Dallas, TX and serviced facilities throughout the US.  All of Dynacare Labs statements bore the return address of Dynacare Labs, PO Box xxxx, Birmingham, AL  35283 for sites in WA, TX, IL, NY, AL, LA, WI, MS, OK, TN & WY.  Corporate was able to stratify return mail by facility, dollar amount, days outstanding and whether mail is continually returning for a specific patient.  All of these powerful reporting capabilities are real-time and on-demand.  The company's operations were so successful that within a few years it was acquired by the second largest laboratory and diagnostic service company in the country.  Today, that company is reporting sales of over $4 billion and one of the largest clinical laboratories in the world.

Return Mail, Inc. (RMI), www.poreturnmail.com,  is headquartered in Birmingham, AL and was awarded a business method process patent in November 2004.  RMI has developed and patented automated solutions for end-user companies and print mail service providers that send large quantities of mail and are plagued by the costly and manual problem of return mail. Whether you print in-house, outsource or utilize USPS's address services, RMI has a solution for you. And, we at Return Mail, Inc. place you, the customer, first.

RMI's solutions:

  • RMI READ© eliminates the manual handling of return mail by automating the processing of return mail at a licensed RMI facility.
  • RMI reAddress© searches and automatically updates best address files for hard to find recipients.

With RMI's automated return mail solutions, your company can not only eliminate the handling of return mail forever, you will reduce re-printing and mailing cost, improve cash flow, and provide a higher level of customer service - cost effectively and reliably.

Eliminating the handling of return mail enables your company to redeploy mail room employees and reduce the total costs of reaching your customer.

Finding those hard-to-find recipients enables your company to improve cash collections, reconnect with lost customers, improve customer service and increase your bottom line.  For more information contact Mitch Hungerpiller, Founder at 866-458-3110 or email to Mitch@poreturnmail.com.