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July 24 2006 11:41 AM

How serious are you about the job you do today? How do you measure your success? What are your priorities when it comes to addressing? What is the magic number to be successful when shipping your information to prospective clients? Why is your customer service phone ringing off the hook?
How sure are you that what you ship day in and day out is received timely and efficiently? Why is it that after you have taken the time and spent the money on trying to make money, that you fail the most important facet of the operation?
What happens when people don�t receive your letter of introduction or your samples? What if you don�t receive their responses or checks? Customers may not respond to your RFP timely, but they sure know your customer service phone number.
Three of the most important words in the shipping industry are database, database, database. When was the last time you took your employee database, your client database, your billing or shipping database or even your personal Christmas list at home and made certain it was accurate?
The United States Postal Service works with various vendors throughout the United States keeping them up to date on all addresses in the nation. Every time a new building goes up or a new subdivision goes in, the Postmaster for that area must send a report to the local Address Management Systems (AMS) office. This report is updated daily and is submitted to the Postal Service mainframe in San Mateo, California, where a licensed vendor obtains the newest and greatest information.
Over 17% of the population moves during the year. Wouldn�t it be nice to know when and where your customers move? What if they owed you money and didn�t leave a forwarding address, but they did inform the Postal Service of their new address? That information is kept up to date on software that is available to you.
It can cost a lot of money to have the database updated. But what if you had your database checked out before you shipped? No duplicates, no returns, a reduction of address correction fees by some of those well-known shipping vendors and lower advertising costs. This also means your customer service calls will decrease, your business won�t need as many employees answering the phones, and the calls you do receive will become more positive. You will also increase cash flow because your sales team will be able to reach more potential clients, thus keeping your business out of the red.
Correct addresses in your database is the most important piece of the puzzle when it comes to written communications and the delivery of the product. So get your database checked out right away. Don�t be left behind.
Bill Bewitz is executive mail center manager at IKON Document Efficiency At Work in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For more information, call 414-773-7137 or e-mail him at