Pitney Bowes Business Insight has released the results of its mailing address quality survey. Consisting of responses from major high-volume mailers, the findings revealed that while companies are concerned with address quality, many are not yet prepared to receive the cost-saving benefits related to USPS rate changes for the proper management of returned mail and address updates.

The survey evaluated how companies are managing address updates and returned mail. The USPS Move Update Standard aims to reduce the volume of undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) mail, which, according to the USPS, costs about $1.6 billion to process. The latest standards became effective November 23, 2008, requiring businesses to update their bulk-mailing lists for both First-Class Mail and Standard Mail within 95 days of the mailing date. Effective January 4, 2010, companies whose mailings are not compliant will be subject to an additional postage of $0.07 per assessed piece.

Key Survey Findings

  • Sixty-four percent of respondents said they use the National Change of Address (NCOALink) method to identify address changes to help reduce undeliverable mailpieces before they enter the mail stream.
  • Fifty-four percent rely on Address Change Service (ACS) to ensure that the new address information is returned to the mailer. However, only about half of the companies surveyed reported that they thoroughly analyze the ACS notices received, potentially missing out on key information about the UAA mailpieces.
  • When mail is returned from NCOALink or ACS due to incorrect addressing, 33% said they rely on manually updating the addresses, the most costly method. Only slightly more respondents (39%) say they have an automated process to deal with returned mail from NCOALink or ACS.
  • Forty-six percent of respondents consider handling return mail a manually intensive process, and 22% believe that having multiple databases requiring updates is also a key constraint.
  • When it comes to updating addresses in environments that include customer consent as requirements (by legal or business rules), respondents primarily relied on sending consent letters (22%) or email confirmations for verification. Of note, the 22% of respondents who selected "other"ââ❠methods for updating addresses suspect that they do not have an adequate process in place, and some rely on their clients to make the updates.
  • For Move Update processing, about half of the respondents indicated they use an "on premise" solution rather than a hosted or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering.

"The results of the survey indicate that mailers have the opportunity to enhance their best practices for updating address changes, but many have not yet made the investment,"ââ❠said Matt McPartlin, director of product management, Pitney Bowes Business Insight. "With the upcoming changes to postal rate structures in the Move Update Standard, mailers that take steps to improve their address database management today will benefit from greater cost savings and better overall customer communications in the long run."

The survey conducted exclusively by Pitney Bowes Business Insight (www.pbinsight.com) queried more than 50 North American executives and IT managers who conduct high-volume mailings in industries including insurance, financial services, communications or utilities, government, service bureaus and others. For complete survey results, please contact Anna Dreyser or Jenny Ng at pbbi@schwartz-pr.com.