Believe it or not, despite steady digital proliferation, mail is still the primary means of communication between businesses and their customers. As postage costs continue to rise, every mailing piece counts, so it is as important as ever to optimize your postage spend. Anything that goes wrong in the mailing process can have far-reaching consequences, from increased costs to reduced efficiency to decreased customer satisfaction.
Yet, many companies still don’t have an effective postal strategy in place and lack the ability to track mail pieces from production to delivery. A better postal strategy can help reduce waste, such as “Undeliverable as Addressed” mail, which also exacts a high toll on a company’s productivity. Undeliverable mail is often not identified as a major problem and thus not invested in, but there are significant costs associated.
Undeliverable Mail Doesn’t Just Cost You in Postage
Every year, at least 4 percent of mail fails to reach its destination. Don’t think that sounds like a big deal? The cost of undeliverable mail quickly escalates when you take into account the fact that a single company can mail millions of mail pieces each month. For example, experts estimate that in 2015, return mail costs totaled $1.5 billion for U.S. credit card companies.
And, though the operational cost of each undelivered mail piece is $3, companies can spend up to $50 per piece in ancillary costs related to delayed payments, fraud and fines for regulatory non-compliance. In addition to that staggering waste of money, undeliverable mail also slows down revenue stream and productivity and can damage customer relationships.
When bills aren’t delivered on time, customers can’t pay on time, and cash flow inevitably suffers. Unexpectedly mistimed mail delivery means that multichannel campaigns won’t be synchronized, decreasing response effectiveness. Perhaps most importantly, customers who have one bad experience related to undeliverable mail often spread the word on social media and are much more likely to switch providers.
Software Solutions Can Help Mitigate These Problems
Consider using an end-to-end mailing intelligence solution to automate and oversee the mailing process. Address management software can clean up your mailing database, ensuring that addresses are accurate, complete and up-to-date. Better data hygiene helps you avoid return mail costs, fines and loss of postal discounts. Inaccurate addresses also directly affect customer satisfaction levels: Even the most minor of errors can damage your company’s reputation.
Improving visibility throughout the mailing process can also help prevent, or at least significantly decrease, the volume of undeliverable mail. Tracking applications allow you to track mailings and check the delivery status of individual mail pieces, so there is complete transparency throughout the process.
When you use the USPS Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMb), for instance, you can document the complete chain of custody for every mail piece. The barcode is required on each mail piece to achieve automation discounts and make delivery more efficient, reducing expenses and enhancing your ability to respond to customer inquiries.
Pitney Bowes mailing intelligence solutions can help decrease the impact of undeliverable mail, improving efficiency, revenue and customer experience. Check out our whitepapers, “The Unexpected Cost of Undeliverable Mail,” to learn more about how to take control of your undeliverable mail and “Postal Optimization Boosts Productivity and Builds Profits” for various ways to optimize your mailing strategy.