The Office of Inspector General for the United States Postal Service® recently published a paper on Undeliverable as Addressed Mail. And while much of the data contained therein is correct, its conclusion is enough to cause many in the industry to exclaim “Oh My Gosh!”
Let’s first start with what was likely the intent of the letter, and that is the cost of UAA mail. It is widely accepted by many that the collective cost of UAA can be measured in billions. That’s billions of pieces of mail and billions of dollars in directly attributed handling of mail pieces that are returned, forwarded, or disposed. And while there are very large numbers in the OIG report, enough even to make Carl Sagan get excited, they still do not tell the full story behind the collective efforts done by the industry over the past decade in reducing UAA mail, or the continued effort by companies like BCC Software and Window Book to further reduce UAA and improve the response rate of direct mail.
During the better part of the last decade, MTAC had a number of UAA related workgroups. Associates of Window Book and BCC Software were directly involved in these workgroups; and in fact Chris Lien, now president of BCC Software, was the MTAC Address Quality focus leader during this time. What was proposed then and is still recommended today is a “3C” approach to address quality. This equates to an address that is complete, correct, and current. Tools to assist in this goal include CASS certified™ software, DPV®, LACSLink®, SuiteLink®, NCOALink®, and USPS® Address Change Service.
In 2005, Postmaster General Jack Potter called for a 50% reduction in UAA volume. At that time, it was over 10 billion pieces and over $2 billion in attributable costs. In 2013, the USPS reported UAA volume at just over 6.7 billion pieces, not quite 50% across the board. However, the largest reduction in UAA mail volume during the past nine years has been in disposed mail. This is the direct mail piece that never had a chance of being viewed by the end recipient.
Fortunately for BCC Mail Manager™ customers, further reductions in UAA mail continue to get easier and with more access points. Where other software companies are discontinuing their CASS certified solutions, BCC Software is expanding our solution suite and Data Marketing Services. Our Datavolve™ solution, for example, is the latest CASS certified product available on both Windows and Linux® operating systems. With its XML-based configuration and processing speeds exceeding 20 million records per hour, it is an immediate replacement to competitive solutions that are soon to expire. It also provides a solid solution for companies that want best-in-class address quality correction anywhere data is entered, edited, or can be enhanced.
Data Marketing Services is also another way to reduce UAA. This includes not just the regulatory 3C approach with CASS, DPV, and NCOALink. It also includes suppressing undesirable addresses such as deceased, DMA, and prison. Fortunately, BCC Software has also expanded their DMS services to include these types of suppression services as well as many others. Access through BCC Mail Manager or the cloud-based Go Data™ Solution is simply a click away.