Bad data always impairs the effectiveness of customer communications. Whether you are a small online store just starting its business journey or a large corporation, you will have to deal with contact information and keep it ordered.
Names, surnames, emails, and street addresses are the common types of information you will collect. Out of them, address data quality is usually the most challenging one. Why is address data management the most problematic?
Customers rarely forget how to spell their name or format email addresses. With address information, this happens much more often. Many people make spelling mistakes in street addresses, provide a wrong ZIP code, or don’t know their exact location. Because of this, you may end up with tons of nonexistent or invalid addresses that have absolutely no value. You won’t be able to use them to reach your customers or fulfill their orders unless you implement an effective address data management system. It automates address collection and cleansing to improve address data quality and customer service.
For more details on how address data management benefits customer communications, read our article about:
- What is address data management? The main kinds of address data you need to fix.
- How does address data quality affect your ability to reach customers?
- Best tips from Inkit on how to manage address data.
What Is Address Data Management? The Main Kinds of Address Data You Need to Fix
Address data management is a process implemented by businesses and organizations to collect, standardize, clean, and validate address information. In most cases, it happens automatically with the help of specialized address management systems. Some of the address management systems are provided by the United States Postal Service as the primary regulator of physical mailings (e.g., Address Element Correction (AEC), ZIP Code Lookup, etc.). Others are custom solutions developed by tech companies that want to simplify address data management.
What data is fixed with address management systems?
If you have outstanding address data quality, there is nothing to worry about. Address management systems will just confirm that everything is great and leave address information intact. Yet if you suspect that some address data is incorrect and want to validate address records, address management systems can considerably help you with this job.
Address management systems fix the main issues that can result in undeliverable mail, including:
- Incomplete address data. If an address record misses details like street name or postal code, an address management system can add them when possible.
- Incorrect information. The software detects typos, spelling mistakes, and falsified information to improve address data quality and prevent fraud.
- Improperly formatted records. The address management system standardizes street addresses to match the format of the relevant database.
- Invalid details. When an address isn’t a real place or listed in any official databases, the address management system detects it.
- Outdated address data. Addresses that no longer exist are automatically removed from the database.
As you can see, address management systems deal with all common address data quality validation issues. Once you integrate them with your database or CRM, data cleansing will happen automatically. Apart from making your database reliable, this also helps you keep in touch with customers and easily reach them whenever you need it. For more details on why address data quality is essential for customer communications, read the next section.
How Address Data Quality Affects Your Ability to Reach Customers
For example, you need to send 100 print invoices to customers who have used your services. You have previously collected their addresses but never checked their validity. You take the risk and send all documents just to find out that 23 of them have never reached the destination. Some of the undelivered documents have been returned because of inaccurate addresses; others – because of outdated contact information. The critical point is that your customers have never received the necessary documents, while you have wasted money on delivery. You also turned out to be an unreliable business that cannot complete mail delivery on time.
Address management systems help you avoid such issues. By enhancing address data quality, they can also bring a range of other tangible benefits such as:
Returned business mailers harm your company more than you may expect. According to recent estimates, every undelivered mailpiece equals to $3 in operational costs. If you serve a million addresses and the address data quality is poor, the loss will be tremendous. That’s why address data management is an excellent way to save your budget and reach customers cost-effectively.
Billing address validation is used for fraud prevention and AVS checks. When you have an adequate address management system to detect suspicious addresses and double-check such users, you reduce the risk of attacks and disputes. You also protect the personal data of your existing customers.
When you provide the USPS with standardized mailing lists that include ZIP+4 codes, the post office can deliver business mailers from 1 to 2 days faster. The faster your mail is delivered, the sooner you can reach customers. This contributes to the overall quality of customer service.
Even the most advanced tools cannot work without the decent quality of address information and other data. By cleansing your database, you simplify the integration of multiple third-party services. As a result, you can connect your CRM and data management system to marketing tools and communicate with customers through multiple channels. This will enable you to get in touch with people at any moment and reach them with more personalized communications.
Address management systems like Inkit include address autocomplete and enrichment capabilities. These features allow you to obtain additional information customers don’t share directly. For example, the address autocomplete can automatically add ZIP codes and the missing address abbreviations. Data enrichment enables you to learn mailing addresses from emails only and get other useful details. This gives your teams access to additional communication channels and allows you to learn more about your customers.
Seven Best Tips from Inkit on How to Manage Address Data
As a reach enablement platform, Inkit includes address data management functionality and acknowledges the importance of data accuracy for effective communications. Our tool autocompletes, standardizes, cleanses, and verifies data to deliver offline and online messages automatically. Here are some recommendations we give to our customers and want to share with you:
- Automate all processes that can be automated
- Decide how you are going to use this data and choose the corresponding format for all records
- Use address autocomplete functionality to collect accurate and properly formatted addresses from the very beginning
- Choose the tools that cover the full address verification cycle from data collection to standardization and validation
- Select the software vendors that cooperate with the USPS and connect to its database for address verification
- Always connect address data with other data sources to achieve a single customer view
If you want to integrate Inkit’s reach enablement platform with your systems, contact us. It can automatically run data verification, render customer communications, and deliver them to recipients.