Undeliverable as addressed (UAA) mail is an awkward name for a pretty big problem – emails that don’t reach their intended recipients because the address is either incorrect, incomplete, or illegible. It is a problem every business faces, yet most of them don’t think twice about it. Aside from not reaching prospects and customers, UAA mail can be detrimental to the company’s bottom line and indicate underlying data problems that may affect other business areas.
Why Does UAA Mail Happen?
One of the main reasons UAA mail occurs is because people frequently move. According to new Census data, just in 2019, nearly 31 million people moved in the U.S. That’s 9.8% of all Americans moving every year, and only a small amount of those people remember to file a Change of Address (COA) with the USPS.
However, not only do people move, but data moves around as well, from one CRM to the next, from online forms to Excel sheets, even from one piece of paper to another, data is constantly being updated, added, or revised in our systems. Sometimes data is right, but most of the time, errors happen. Nearly 80% of undeliverable mail is due to incorrect or outdated address information, with missing additional information and vacant addresses following close behind. Without routinely performed data audits, these problems with addresses can stay unresolved, and UAA mail can easily build up.
What Impact Does UAA Mail Have on a Business?
With every piece of returned mail, businesses are losing money and an opportunity to communicate with potential or existing customers. UAA mail impacts business profitability in many ways, including lost revenue and opportunities, Days Sale Outstanding (DSO), postage and printing costs, cash flow, and returned mail destruction.
The cost per UAA mail piece can range anywhere from $3 to $50. For businesses that frequently send mail, the costs can directly impact their bottom line. But these costs don’t just fiscally impact current business; they also impact future revenue and customer relationships. A customer relationship doesn’t exist without any communication, and sending mail to an incorrect address isn’t communication. When UAA mail is marketing mail, there is a possibility that customers are contacted via emails or social media. Still, more important mail such as transactional or confidential mail is critical for customers. If businesses fail here, they are risking losing customers for good.
The cost of UAA mail also affects other departments. For instance, internal resources and personnel have to stop their current work to fix returned mail manually; customer service agents have to deal with an increased number of calls; IT is taken away from their duties to investigate errors, and more.
What is the Solution?
It’s important to mention that UAA mail can’t be fully fixed since some address decay is inevitable. However, businesses that want to lessen their returned mail can reap the rewards of clean and accurate data, increased customer communication, and less postal waste. Here are some simple steps that businesses should take when mailing:
Their list should be CASS certified with duplicates and undeliverable addresses removed;
Every address should be Delivery Point Validated (DVP);
Vacancies should be removed. If there is no one living at the address, the USPS isn’t going to deliver the mail;
Go through National Change of Address (NCOA) and remove any deceased records.
Businesses that keep their mail lists clean will enjoy a better return on their marketing investment. After all, it doesn’t matter how great the offer is if the mail ends up in the trash.