Questions We Get Asked About: Returned Mail
How are you different than NCOA?
There is not really an accurate comparison to apply here. NCOALink™ (National Change of Address) is a secure dataset of approximately 160 million change-of-addresses going back 48 months that enable mailers to update mailing lists with new addresses from individuals, families and businesses that have moved and completed an address change with the USPS®. This is a data only solution, which is offered by Licensees of the USPS® service, and is ONLY attributable to address changes submitted to the USPS®.
Now that you are better informed of what the data service does, let’s talk about what we do that is different. Would EVERYTHING be a proper response?
- Physical Mail – Starting with mail itself, physical returns either are destroyed by the USPS® or are returned to sender. Especially for First Class mail, physical mail that is returned to sender must be processed if the mailer wants to record the activity (return) and/or locate their customer for which the mailing was intended. This could be for a Patient Statement, Utility Bill, Health Insurance EOB and Membership Cards, Life Insurance Annuity Statement, Investment Confirm, Bank Statement, Notice, Account Correspondence, Credit Card Statement, Collection Notice – you get the picture. Someone or something has to process the physical mail and turn the mail into usable data. The NCOALink™ data set does not do this.Horizontech utilizes proprietary workflow software, combined with automated data capture, Cloud and Global data entry resources that accurately convert physical mail to usable data. We’ve developed many innovations for the industry as it relates to this process, for both outsourced and in-house operations.
- Data – All data is not created equal. We built our Address Management, Standardization and Search Software to take care of all of the issues that NCOALink™ could not solve, which are numerous. It is fact that 76% of all undeliverable mail is related to movers. Of that number, approximately 50% notify the USPS® of the address change. What happens to the other 50%? You get returned mail or you get no address if processing Address Change Service™ (ACS™). If you don’t see any returned mail, or only see a small percent, it typically means you have Address Change Service™ (ACS™) turned on by the USPS® and most of your returned mail is destroyed with no address change. So, does NCOALink™ take care of the issue? The answer is NO, and neither does ACS™. They are both important, but they don’t solve the entire problem on their own. There are also major gains in operations and financials that are not realized if this is your only solution. That is why we built RMSLink.Other differences in data between NCOALink™ and RMSLink:
RMSLink was built from years of experience, processing millions of First Class undeliverable mail pieces. By understanding gaps with NCOALink™, ACS™ and private and public databases, RMSLink focuses on giving customers the most extensive automated process for identifying updated consumer and business addresses, as well phone numbers.
- NCOALink™ does not yield updated phone information, as well a host of other data results, such as Social Security numbers and date of birth information. Therefore companies solely using NCOALink™ for address changes
- NCOALink™ does not identify potential Fraud and notify of the event
- NCOALink™ does not identify highly likely postal carrier or system errors
- NCOALink™ does not utilize public and proprietary databases
- RMSLink yields 30-80% more address updates beyond NCOALink™ alone
- Returned to Sender (RTS) Sticker – NCOALink™ does not capture and report on RTS yellow sticker information, which identifies why the mail piece was returned or contains a forwarding updated address on file with the USPS® that has expired.
- Remail processing – NCOALink™ does not have the ability to redirect and present the original undeliverable mail piece back into the mail stream. This helps many customers that cannot wait to reprocess, or don’t have the means to effectively manage updated address data for a newly generated document (mail piece).Horizontech developed and pioneered an integrated and 100% accurate Remail process, which allows for undeliverable mail pieces to quickly re-enter the mail stream to an updated address from both RMSLink and RMSMover Software platforms.
- Automated Collections and Customer Service – NCOALink™ does not have the ability to instruct businesses as to which consumers and businesses are probable targets for follow up for either collection calls (if billing), or customer service. Horizontech’s Rebound solution automatically posts Collections and Customer Service files, all from undeliverable mail, without customer intervention.Horizontech developed and pioneered Rebound processing as an automated tool to help customers take quick control over probable issues with consumer and business accounts.
There are many more examples of differences between NCOALink™ and Horizontech’s solutions. I didn’t want you to read a novel (this is a blog post!) so I thought I would point out a few high level examples. Just call us or schedule a meeting!
About Bob Hedstrom
Bob Hedstrom is Director – Sales, Marketing and Product Development for Horizontech, Inc. Bob is responsible for developing and implementing many leading integrated technologies for document workflow and return mail process automation. He is considered an industry innovator with key technology advancements for resolving undeliverable customer communications, workflow, data and customer contact strategies.
He has more than 20 years experience as a Sales and Marketing Executive for some of the nation’s largest critical document outsourcing, direct marketing and data services organizations, including First Data, Regulus, Vestcom, Moore Business Communications Services, WebMD, World Marketing and Visant Marketing Services.
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