This article appeared in the October 2020 issue of NPSOA Magazine.
A multi-billion piece problem year after year, Undeliverable as Addressed (UAA) mail costs the USPS® over $1 billion annually – and it costs the mailing industry even more. However, the monetary cost is not the only issue at stake when it comes to UAA mail. When a mailpiece is deemed undeliverable it costs valuable time, resources and, most importantly, opportunity. This is especially significant for 2020, as we collectively learn to adapt changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, individuals across the country are relying on the mail to deliver them valuable packages and information, from prescription medication to election season mailings – every mailpiece must be made to count.
Understanding UAA Mail
What makes a mailpiece undeliverable? The most common cause for UAA mail is because the intended recipient has moved, or because the address is incomplete or incorrect. When this happens, there are 3 fates a piece of UAA mail is subject to:
- It is forwarded to the correct address.
- It is returned to the original sender.
- It is treated as waste.
Regardless of what happens to a piece of UAA mail, each scenario results in damage from undesirable response rates and missed opportunities. This is especially true for direct mailers with time sensitive marketing campaigns, such as political season mailings that need to be delivered in a timely and efficient manner. According to 2019 USPS statistics on UAA mail, 31.95% of all UAA mail is Marketing Mail, and 59.32% is First-Class Mail®. Mailers need to be confident that pieces will be processed in a consistent and efficient manner, but when bad data and address hygiene occurs the likeliness of mailpieces getting delivered on time, or at all, significantly decreases.
Once a piece of UAA mail reaches the carrier, that means the mailer has lost control – the carrier now becomes the address resolution service. It’s an important reminder that complete, correct, and current addresses are essential for timed, complimentary messaging.
Winning the Battle
Astute mailers know, to maximize their response rates and reduce UAA mail they have to go beyond USPS compliance standards like CASS™ and NCOALink® – in order to win the battle against UAA mailers need to enhance and supplement them with high quality data services.
BCC Software, the leader in postal software and address quality solutions, understands the importance of going beyond compliance. We offer several data quality products and services designed to ensure that your lists and databases have complete, correct, and current addresses. For example, COMPLIANCE+™ is a top of the line software that will make sure you’re getting the best in address quality solutions. Utilizing three powerful data quality tools in one easy step, COMPLIANCE+ goes beyond CASS and NCOA to include Address Resolution Services (ARS) and Proprietary Chance of Address (PCOA). It allows mailers to update their lists of records with clean data to ensure messages are getting into the right hands every time.
Tools like PCOA are especially important, because they go beyond the limitations of NCOA. The USPS can only keep track of moves that are reported to them – leaving nearly 40% of annual moves that never get filed. To find moves that are not filed with the USPS and ensure you are reaching all customers, utilizing PCOA will give you access to third-party databases to find and confirm addresses for consumers who have moved.