Tips for Optimizing Customer Communication Programs

In a previous blog post I discussed a disciplined process to managing customer communications that includes four key steps – optimization, composition, presentation and connection. Together these four steps can more effectively manage communications with improved ROI and customer experience. In this post, I will focus more in-depth on the first of those steps—optimization.

Optimization is an important first step of the process because whatever is done to optimize the input data carries through the rest of the production process. Without this step, full optimization is lost as it cannot be made up further in the process.

The four common procedures used to optimize customer communication programs are:

  • Selection by Business Rules—Part of the optimization process is determining which records you want to select for a specific mailing. Selection is made by several criteria, such as domestic address, business relationship, delivery preference and compliance rules, which together become the business rules for that program. These rules are programmed so that each input file adheres to them. Thus, a repeatable and consistent strategy can be followed for each mailing to optimize costs, sales opportunities, customer experience and risk management.
  • Merge/Purge—Businesses use different merge/purge strategies to achieve specific goals related to targeting, cost savings and customer experience. The strategy often includes up to three different levels of merge/purge: individual, account and household. The individual level removes duplicate records (sometimes referred to as deduping); account level provides one record for all accounts that an individual customer may have; and household level provides one record for all individuals within a defined household. By mixing and matching these three levels, an effective mailing strategy can be developed that optimizes cost, accuracy and customer experience.
  • USPS Compliance—In this procedure, the mailing address is formatted so that it is compatible with the USPS automated system. The better your addresses adhere to USPS standards, the better the postage discounts you’ll receive. CASS and NCOALink are two of the required data processing procedures. CASS stands for Coding Accuracy Support System and it standardizes the business names, address and state fields to USPS specifications. NCOALink (National Change of Address) provides the proper address change and allows you to receive postal discounts. Since twelve percent of Americans change their residential address each year, NCOA is critical for reaching customers where they currently live.
  • Integration of Information Files—Big data is discussed at almost every industry conference I attend. An important by-product of big data is predictive modeling—using past purchasing and behavior data to predict future buying decisions. A predictive model can add intelligence to your mailing list to drive response, purchasing, education and loyalty.

Optimizing data is critical because it sets the tone for the entire production chain. Benefits of optimization include improved ROI, throughput time, document value and customer experience. Look for my next upcoming blog posts as I take you through the remaining key steps in the customer communication process.

About the author

Marketing Manager

Angela has 20 years of experience in the areas of marketing and product management and product development within the financial services, education, publishing and retail industries. As marketing manager, Angela develops Venture’s marketing plan and executes marketing campaigns for the mortgage, auto and insurance markets. Angela manages Venture’s product marketing and represents the company at various industry conferences and trade shows. Prior to joining Venture Solutions in 2013, Angela was serving as marketing director at Free Spirit Publishing in which she led the marketing strategy, communications and product marketing initiatives. In addition to her experience, Angela holds a Master’s Degree in Marketing Management from the University of St. Thomas.