Top 10 Reasons Why Address Quality Matters


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Consider these all too common life events—a customer moves for a new job, or gets married and changes their name. Every year, companies must do more to ensure that addresses are accurate and current. Standardize, correct, validate, update, append, barcode… and then remember every change for the next mailing. These efforts are made all the more challenging due to the fact that the USPS estimates on average 17 percent of Americans change their addresses annually. That is approximately 43 million people moving, or one out of every six families.

In contrast, 19.3 percent of all businesses move each year, which adds up to 2.3 million business Change-of-Address (COA filings). According to a conservative estimate by the USPS, each year 1.2 billion mailpieces lack complete address information and have to be returned or disposed of.

While address accuracy helps the postal service streamline operations, you must also consider how address quality adds value to your business. Here are the top ten reasons why address quality matters to your business:

  1. Increase Sales. Even a two percent lift on your direct mail and cross-sell efforts can have a significant impact on your bottom-line results—but mail has to reach the right person first. Today, 6.9 percent of promotional mailings are destroyed because of bad address data.
  2. Lower Postage Costs. While the USPS sets mandates, they also provide incentives. A small increase in coding rates could help you save up to 0.5 percent or more on postage. If you’re sending out thousands of mail pieces annually, these savings can add up quickly.
  3. Maintain Reputation. Even if your mail is delivered, customers notice when you consistently get their address wrong, sending a signal that you don’t care that much about the relationship. Also, be sure to alert key departments when customers move, such as marketing or customer care, as these life events often involve unique opportunities and challenges.
  4. Optimize Call Centers. Late or misdirected mail may account for up to 30 percent of your calls. Better mail delivery means fewer calls and more satisfied customers.
  5. Make Better Decisions. Having specific address information can help ensure that you apply the correct taxes, assign the right territory and properly assess risk. Formalize a process that is automated, repeatable and auditable.
  6. Reduce Fraud. When sending high-value mail, including checks, goods and cards, address quality can help mitigate loss or fraud.
  7. Eliminate Duplicates. Consistent and accurate addresses provide for better merge/purge results, so you’ll send one (and only one) communication to each person. Duplicate mailings are not only environmentally unfriendly, but they also add an unnecessary cost.
  8. Speed Results. Faster mail delivery can expedite new orders, streamline remittance and improve your cash flow. Your bottom line depends on timely payments from customers, and when an invoice reaches its intended recipient late — or not at all — your revenue stream may suffer
  9. Eliminate Returned Mail. With the cost of returned mail estimated at $3—$10 per piece, it pays to get it right the first time.
  10. Avoid Postal Penalties. In January 2010, you can expect the USPS to crack down on Move Update non-compliance. The original plan (still in discussion) was based on a formula that measured how well you incorporate change of address information; and if you fail to meet pre-set thresholds, the USPS could charge you the equivalent of the single-piece rate (now $0.44 for one ounce) for the entire mailing. While the details are subject to change, the message is clear.

Clearly, address management is more than a simple postal concern. Undeliverable-as-addressed mail costs the USPS more than $1.6 billion a year, and mailers who contribute to this problem will soon be expected to pick up more of the tab. So while running Move Updates or adding that secondary address element may seem like a hassle at the time, remember that there’s something in it for you, too. Consider designing a closed-loop process that satisfies both postal and business requirements. Some mailers have been able to save millions of dollars, just by implementing a Move Update process.

Matthew McPartlin
Pitney Bowes Business Insight
Matthew McPartlin serves as global portfolio director of communications intelligence for Pitney Bowes Business Insight, the leading global provider of location and communication intelligence solutions. He has more than 2 years of leadership experience in the mailing industry.


  1. Your article does a great job outlining the different ways a bad address affect the business. This is a problem that in some places goes unnattended and management has little insight of how it is affecting the bottom line. I created an entry in my blog that complements this article by illustrating a technical implementation that demostrates different techniques to enhance the address capturing process for speed and accuracy.

    Link to article
    [url=]Enhance How Applications Capture Customer Address[/url]

    Nicely done!


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