Taming the Return Mail Problem

Undelivered customer mail is the stuff of bad business: Bills not arriving and thus not getting paid, customers upset about not receiving timely statements, and the truly staggering cost that can exceed $50 per returned piece, according to Pitney-Bowes. 

Among high-volume first-class mailers, financial services and healthcare bear the brunt of the problem, according to the report.

  • Communications from financial firms account for 35% of all undelivered mail or 490 million pieces a year.
  • Insurance and healthcare together represent another 20% or 280 million pieces.

Overall, 1.9% of all first-class mail, or 1.3 billion pieces, is returned to senders. The direct costs of this wasted mail: $3 per piece or $4.2 billion overall for postage, printing, handling, and remailing. The total financial impact is many times higher, though, due to delayed or missed payments, extra call center and customer service activity, and possible USPS fines for failing to comply with requirements to update addresses of customers who have moved.

The Nordis Solution

Now the good news: With Expresso and Nordis production services, we minimize the hassle of returned mail, speeding your response to any undelivered communications.

When you execute a job through Expresso, it automatically runs your data file through USPS’ NCOA (National Change of Address) and CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) databases.

  • NCOA identifies your customers who have forwarded their mail through USPS and provides the new home address. It also adapts the address to the optimal format for more accurate delivery.
  • The CASS process standardizes address data and certifies that your mailing list meets automation rate specs and USPS pre-sort discounts.

We also use Delivery Point Validation in our Expresso workflow file processing. DPV® goes beyond validating that an address is correctly formatted and within a valid range of addresses in the USPS® data file. DPV® can validate that a mailing address – right down to the apartment or suite number – does exist and is a valid destination for a mailing or package.

When we identify an undeliverable piece of mail, we scan it and update the record as returned in Expresso, then share the results of these screenings via an automated return file delivered by secure SFTP so that you can update your system of record. We shred and dispose all return mail pieces after the scanning process is completed.

As a result of this timely notification, you can react promptly by sending the return mail data to a third-party skip tracer to locate a deliverable address using other sources of data besides the USPS.

Even with these steps, it’s impossible to completing eliminate returned mail. At many companies, mail that is returned after it is sent out tends to pile up in the mail room and customer communications continue going to the wrong address because the incorrect address has not been flagged and updated.

With Nordis’ return mail servicing, we put a Nordis PO Box on the envelope so returned mail comes back to our production facility. We then scan the barcode through the envelope window and send a file notifying you that this customer’s mail was returned. At that point, you can reach out to your customer to get an updated, deliverable address.  

This automated, systematic approach to return mail processing ensures our clients maintain an accurate database, leading to cost savings and enhanced customer service and engagement.  For more information on Nordis’ return mail services, please email sales@nordistechnologies.com.