Lesson 2: The 5 Dos of Data Quality

October 25, 2019
Author: Caroline McManus
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How clean data can improve customer experience and cash flow

The actual price of a mail piece isn’t just how much the materials and postage cost. It’s also how valuable what's inside the envelope. Depending on what you are sending--invoices, marketing mail, or notices--an undelivered mailpiece can really cost your business delayed cash flow, lost marketing opportunities, and customer dissatisfaction.


Knowing these five key Dos of data quality will help your business get on the right track to getting paid faster and improving customer experience. 

 

1. DO use address correction software with CASS and NCOA databases


Be sure that you use address corrections software that includes the two USPS databases that ensure that addresses are complete and current.


CASS, Coding Accuracy Support System, corrects city and street name misspellings and street suffixes. It also validates zip codes and adds more specific location information such as zip code + 4.


Businesses who use the CASS system can become CASS certified when they confirm and correct ZIP+4 codes and carrier route information against USPS addresses and city/state fields. This will save you potentially thousands on no longer having mail sent to the wrong addresses but also on postage costs.


NCOA, National Change of Address, is a database of about 160 million permanent changes of address going back 48 months. With more than 456 million Americans changing their addresses each year it is essential to regularly update your data from NCOA. NCOA is the primary pre-mailing move update tool and it easily compares the name and address records in a mailing list to the National Change of Address database.


2. DO meet the industry standard of no more than 6-10 percent of mailing costs stemming from UAA (Undelivered As Addressed) mail


If you had to guess, what percent of your mail is UAA? UAA mail gets expensive when you account for the costly process of re-processing undelivered mail, which includes labor hours, new mailing materials, and postage costs. Per industry standards, UAA should only account for 6-10 percent of what you are spending on mail. This should be a calculation your business does annually to evaluate your data quality and how much it may be costing your business. You can always contact a Neopost rep for a free UAA audit!


3. DO look into USPS ACS (Address Change Service) and AEC (Address Element Correction) services

There are two additional services that can cut down on undeliverable mail and are offered to CASS-certified mailers. These services are to help alert mailers when they have undeliverable and promptly fix the issue so you aren't waiting weeks to find out if your mail was delivered or not. 

ACS, Address Change Service, allows mailers to receive notifications that their mail was undelivered electronically. So mailers don’t have to wait weeks and then deal with those pesky yellow-stickered mail sitting in their office. By getting address correction alerts in electronic format businesses can easily update their database without waiting for undelivered mail and the manual processes associated with that.


AEC, Address Element Correction, fixes inaccurate addresses that aren't fixable with CASS Certified address-matching. If an address is missing an element, CASS Certified address-matching software might lack sufficient information to determine the correct or most accurate match to the ZIP + 4 product and, therefore, may not provide a ZIP + 4 code. After an address goes through this process and is not resolved, it becomes a candidate for AEC. This ensures that is an address can't be complete with CASS database all hope is not lost!


4. DO ensure addresses are compliant


Did you know that there are compliance rules and regulations for mailers? Depending on the type of mailing you are doing, and what you are sending, there may be penalties for not following specific data quality standards. If your business is sending personal health information or personally identifiable information, you should be in touch with an expert to ensure that your address quality meets specific standards.  


Regulations and guidelines also instruct mailers on what they should or must do when they lose contact with a customer. If you work in the healthcare, financial or insurance industries you may have regulations regarding ensuring that you are using address validation technology and have set procedures for handling UAA mail.


5. Do get a free Neopost workflow and data quality audit


Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Neopost experts are here to help your business navigate the tricky world of data quality, address correction, and compliance. Speak to a Neopost representative today or get us on your calendar. We can provide a free data quality audit and customized workflow recommendations.

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