data quality

What to Look for in an Address Provider

When evaluating a new vendor for address management services, it's crucial to consider several factors to ensure you select the right provider that aligns with your business needs and standards. Here at Melissa, we have taken the liberty of compiling what you need to know before making decisions.

Service Offerings and Capabilities

A good vendor offers comprehensive address verification, validation, and correction services with USPS CASS certification, DPV (Delivery Point Validation), and NCOA (National Change of Address) updates capabilities. It will be useful to ensure both U.S. and international addresses are supported and the extent of the verification capabilities provided (e.g., Canada SERP, compliance with GDPR for European data). Even if you are strictly doing business in the U.S., you wouldn’t want to expand one day and be limited by your vendor. If you deliver to addresses, geocoding is a necessity as well - who wants additional expenses due to returned mail?!

Vendor Expertise and Reliability

Find a vendor with a golden reputation, deep industry knowledge, and commitment to continuous improvement. You need to trust your provider when situations arise, such as missing apartment numbers. That’s where unique technologies for appending missing pieces of addresses or our proprietary Melissa Address Key (MAK) for data management can offer distinct advantages in accuracy and efficiency.

Compliance and Data Security

Vendors should comply with essential regulations relevant to your business, such as HIPAA, HITECH, SOC 2, CCPA and GDPR to ensure that your hard-earned data remains secure and protected. Real-time updates and proactive data maintenance ensures the accuracy and reliability of customers' address data, so be sure to have those options at your disposal.

Customer Support and Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Sometimes, emergencies occur. You don’t want to be left alone in times of need. That’s why customer support capabilities such as response times, availability of technical assistance, and dedicated account management are crucial. You, as the customer, are always the highest priority and should have clearly defined service level agreements (SLAs) that define performance metrics such as uptime guarantees, data accuracy thresholds, and resolution times for issues.

Cost Considerations

Compare the cost of services against the value provided in terms of accuracy, coverage, compliance, and additional features. Consider the potential cost savings from reduced errors and improved campaign effectiveness. This is where individuals differ and you need to think about where your priorities lie. Make sure you also think of the long term as well - your vendor must grow with you to meet your evolving data needs and continue providing support without compromising on quality as you scale your business.

To recap, selecting the right address management vendor involves weighing these considerations against your specific business requirements and operational priorities. By prioritizing accuracy, compliance, vendor expertise, and support quality, businesses can mitigate the risks associated with bad data, optimize marketing efforts, and enhance customer satisfaction.

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