Last month, the United States Postal Service (USPS) filed a notice in the Federal Register of their intent to update address standards for mailers. In addition to aligning the address database product cycle with other mailing products, the proposal calls for more frequent updating of mailing addresses. Effective July 1, 2021, the period for coding addresses for automation and carrier route mailings will be reduced from 90 days to 60 days before the mailing date.
This is a reasonable standard and should be embraced by business mailers. Most of our customers already have a more aggressive address coding schedule, processing customer files every 30 or 45 days. Savvy mailers know that the address is the keystone to successful mail processing and take effective steps to keep customer information current.
Working with business units, print-mail managers can determine when addresses are accessed and how they can be updated. With the software solutions available, operations can implement address checks at any step:
- when addresses are entered by a customer service representative
- when a customer enters an address on a website
- on a scheduled batch basis (e.g., every 30 – 45 days)
- as part of the printing process
Companies can use USPS-certified software for proper formatting and validating the correct ZIP Code information. The certification is known as the Coding Accuracy Support System or “CASS”. This is the first step in creating a Full-Service Intelligent Mail barcode, the industry standard for automation mailings.
For any customer or prospect lists received, the batch job should also include running the list against the National Change of Address (“NCOALink”) database. Using NCOALink is one method of being compliant with Move Update - matching the mailer's address records with change-of-address (“COA”) orders received and maintained by the USPS.
Being compliant with postal regulations isn’t the most important reason for using CASS and NCOALink software. Ensuring timely delivery to your customers while reducing undeliverable and returned mail are much more significant. The best-designed content on a document produced in the most efficient manner possible has no value – unless your customer receives the mailpiece at their current and correct address.
Software tools are just that – tools. Leaders must use those tools as part of an aggressive approach towards a strong address management plan to make every mailing a success.
To assist mailers with that goal, The Berkshire Company has put together a new eBook –
It Begins With the Address. In this guide, we discuss the different elements, tools, and processes to improve address management. Get on the path to success by downloading the guide today.