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Suppression services, an important step to data quality

October 06, 2014

Data quality and suppression services are extremely important to your mailing operation and business. The US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) would have to agree after a mailpiece had unintended consequences.

In June 2014, the VA identified 70,000 veterans who had not received medical treatment that they had requested. To correct this mistake, the VA sent a letter to each of these veterans inviting them to schedule an appointment with a local VA hospital. Unfortunately, the address list in the mailing contained one veteran who had died while waiting for treatment. The veteran’s widow received this appointment letter 22 months after her husband’s death. (See the complete Mail Online article here.)

Now the VA has a very upset family, a publicity nightmare, and a potential lawsuit to deal with. The saying, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions” comes to mind.

This unfortunate situation could have been avoided if the VA submitted their mailing list to a deceased suppression service and removed names identified as deceased prior to the mailing.

There are many suppression services available that utilize data sets to help ensure that your message and postage is not wasted. More importantly, employing these services on a regular basis ensures that your message does not create a liability or ill will towards your company.

We offer a variety of suppression services that can improve your address quality, such as:

  • Deceased Master File Suppression
  • Mail Preference Service
  • Prison Suppression

These suppression services are easily accessed through BCC Mail Manager or separately through an FTP upload directly to our Data Marketing Services

Prior to each mailing, a data quality best practice should include standardizing the address (CASS™), validating the address (DPV®), updating the address (NCOALink®), duplicate removal, and suppressing undesirable address records.

Had the VA followed these best practices, they would have saved postage, and legal costs, and would not have jeopardized how the VA is viewed by the public. More importantly, they would not have created more grief for a veteran’s family.

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