A lot of our communication may happen over e-mail but the post is not yet dead. From utility bills and legal summons to mailer coupons and other marketing mail, many organizations rely on direct postal mail. Unfortunately, a lot of this mail goes undelivered because the delivery agent does not have the right address. Undelivered mail doesn’t just affect the outcome of marketing campaign analysis, it also causes financial losses. After all, every mail you post has postage costs associated with it. If a customer does not receive seasonal discount coupons, the company’s sales numbers may fall. So, how do you improve the chances of having your mail delivered to the right person?
Delivery Point Validation (DPV)
Delivery Point Validation refers to the process of checking that mail can be delivered to an address. The address submitted by customers is checked against an authoritative database for matching entries. If a match is found, the address is deemed valid. If no matching address can be found, it means that mail cannot be shipped here. It is important to note that delivery points are not the same as street addresses. For example, all the apartments in an apartment complex may have the same street address but each apartment has a different delivery point, i.e. the apartment’s mail slot.
A small mistake of entering the wrong apartment number can mean that mail goes right up to the apartment block and is then returned to the sender. Similarly, a road name may have been changed in the time between the customer entered his address and the delivery date. These are details that can be checked and corrected to improve the chances of deliverability. An address validation API can access government databases and verify addresses. It can also be used to correct unintentional mistakes like adding missing components and updating details.
Missing components are another reason why a lot of mail goes undelivered. For example, the customer may forget to enter the street name. An address verification API can use the other details in the address such as the postal code, building name, etc. to ascertain the appropriate street name and add it to the address. It may also be used to identify errors and correct wrongly entered details such as misspelled street names. In other cases, a person may not enter crucial details such as the apartment building name. These are details that cannot be found easily and hence such addresses will be flagged as incomplete. The delivery agent may then reach out to the customer to get the complete address.
Similarly, the customer may enter only part of the address in a single line instead of formatting it so that it can be easy to read. Ideally, the first line of an address should contain the apartment number and name, the second line should contain the apartment block, the third line should have the street name and so on. Using address verification tools can give organizations the ability to format the addresses properly so that they have a higher chance of being delivered correctly.
The language an address is entered in may also affect delivery outcomes. For example, a person may enter his address in French or German but the post may need to be delivered in a country that does not speak the language. Thus, it will need to be translated to the native country’s language.
Address verification services can go a step further from validating and verifying addresses to adding geocodes. Geocoding refers to pinpointing latitudes and longitudes of the exact point of delivery. This helps delivery agents find the best route and ensures prompt delivery. While street names and apartment names can change, longitudes and latitudes cannot change. This means that the delivery address stays constant irrespective of other changes.
Up-To-Date Mailing List
Last but not least, to ensure that your mail is delivered, you must pay close attention to your mailing lists and keep them updated. When a customer moves and submits a changed address, the old address must be removed from the database to minimize confusion. When mail is returned because it cannot be delivered to the address, the address should be reconfirmed with the customer and changed if needed.
Maintaining an accurate address database is key to getting mail delivered to the right recipient. As an organization, verifying and validating addresses is a ‘must-do’. Using the right tools can ensure that all the addresses in your database are deliverable, complete and formatted correctly.