The USPS has already declared that it will hold the mailing agent responsible for move update compliance, just as it holds the mailing agent responsible for CASS certification and DPV. What this means for quick printers is the bulk mail acceptance clerk will be looking to us for the decision to either pay the penalty or remove the mail from entry.
The dilemma is that when a customer is providing the mail list, we have no control over or ability to know or verify whether our customer has updated their mail list based on feedback from NCOA or ASE. If the customer is being supplied with address corrections and updates but fails to modify their mailing list, then those addresses will continually fail move update. Over time these errors could compound and perhaps exceed the 70% threshold.
So how can we convince our customers to actually do the work of updating their mail list with information from NCOA or ASE? By telling them about the upcoming penalty assessment possibility, and by asking for their guidelines on when they are willing to pay the penalty and when they want the mail withdrawn. You might also adopt an internal policy, to be shared with your customers, that declares you will automatically withdraw the mailing unless you have been specifically instructed to proceed and have payment from your customer for the additional postage.
As unpleasant as this conversation may be to contemplate, it will be much better to have it while the matter is theoretical, rather than under the stress of deciding what to do with a non-compliant mailing.
Postage Rates Remain at 2009 Level for 2010
When the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act was signed by President Bush in December 2006, it provided the USPS with the ability to raise postage rates annually. It has done so in May of each subsequent year.
However, in October 2009 Postmaster General John Potter announced that the USPS will not raise rates for 2010 on its market-dominant products—first class and standard mail, periodicals, and single-piece parcel post. The move comes despite the continued loss of mail volume and consequent lower USPS revenues coupled with the inability to cut costs enough to offset the loss of revenue. Many industry analysts believe that each price increase risks further cuts in mail volume and revenue.
If you routinely remind customers who are formulating new year budgets at year’s end, this year you can give them good news.
Bits and Pieces to End the Year
As my holiday gift to you, I offer a few bits and pieces that you may find helpful.
- Converting a Word mail merge list into Excel. A retiree named Graham Mayor, who in 2002 was invited to join Microsoft’s MVP team for his contributions to Microsoft Word newsgroups, has a website that is full of tips on using Microsoft Word. One of his contributions is to explain how to convert a Word mail merge list into Excel or other tabular file format. The explanation includes screen shots: http://www.gmayor.com/convert_labels_into_mail_merge.htm.
- Website for Excel aids. Add-ins.com has created many software programs, called add-ins, that run inside of Microsoft Excel and enhance its productivity. There are five product categories (analysis, charting, data, specialty, and time saving products) containing more than 60 programs that are available individually or all together in the Productivity Suite. For more information, visit http://www.add-ins.com.
- Improve DPV results. BCC Software offers a way to improve DPV results with its Address Resolution Service (ARS). ARS performs additional detective work on addresses determined undeliverable by CASS. According to BCC, a typical ARS job yields positive matches on 30% of records that have failed DPV, and some match rates are as high as 50%. ARS includes an apartment append service and offers 24-hour turnaround. For more information visit http://www.bccsoftware.com/Dataservices/ARS.aspx.
- ZIP code overlay.U.S. Naviguide Company provides a variety of mapping options in a free online application. Mapping includes 5- and 3-digit ZIP code, city, county, and statistical area. By clicking on a point inside a map of the U.S. or by typing in a ZIP code, the program will display the ZIP code, city, state, county, area code(s), and count of households in 2000 and 2008. For more information visit http://www.usnaviguide.com/.
- Source for USPS-approved poly bags. Three sources for poly bags to use for promotional mailings: Univenture (www.univenture.com), EnvyPack (www.envypak.com), and Clearbags (www.clearbags.com).