Automotive Recalls: An NCOA Use Case

Did you know that in 2014, there were almost 64 million vehicles recalled due to safety issues? According to NHTSA, the number of vehicles recalled in 2014 exceeded the past three years combined. To add to this, in 2014 there were over 100 deaths nationally due to vehicle malfunctions.

That year both General Motors (GM) and Honda had major vehicle recalls. GM recalled 1.6 million vehicles due to faulty engine switches. Honda, on the other hand, recalled 34 million vehicles in the U.S. and an additional 7 million worldwide due to faulty airbags. More recently, the month of October 2019 alone saw nearly three million vehicles recalled.

Of course, customers need to be informed about these issues. Recall and safety notices in the automotive industry is one example where having accurate, current contact data for ALL of their customers is mission-critical – even if they have moved or changed their address. Auto manufacturers can’t afford the risk of not notifying vehicle owners, given the potential consequences. In this article, we will look at how automated change-of-address processing can facilitate this process.

When you need the right address

Our DOTS NCOA Live (National Change of Address) product is a real-time API for USPS-approved address change, working directly with the United States Postal Service’s NCOALink service, It is designed for application environments where you need to ensure your customer addresses are kept up-to-date, cleansed and standardized. It compares your address data to that of the 40 million Americans who move every year, correcting these addresses where needed.

NCOA Live is extremely powerful, but does require a little more processing compared with most of our contact data verification products. This is due to requirements the USPS has in place to protect against the misuse of their change-of-address data by spammers. Two of the main requirements include:

  • Providing the USPS with a Processing Acknowledgement Form (PAF) that identifies your business as the end user of this change-of-address data.
  • Creating a Job ID for each processing run, which can process between 100 and 500 records per job.

So for an automotive manufacturer (and the third party firms who often handle their mailings), managing customer data for millions of people, a process needs to be in place for running specific jobs with portions of this address data until all customers are covered. Thankfully multiple jobs can be run in parallel.

This blog outlines these requirements in detail, and for a deeper dive, you can consult this article from one of our senior technical staff. And of course, we are always happy to help you with any part of this process.

Benefits of a strong change-of-address process

In the automotive industry, change-of-address processing has one major benefit: it is an absolute necessity, given the impact of recall and safety notices on customer safety. But there are several other benefits as well to keeping your customer address data up to date: it improves the deliverability of all of your mailings by up to 400%, helps you meet USPS NCOALink requirements for mailing discounts, and helps you comply with the USPS Move Update requirements for Marketing Mail. Perhaps most importantly, it lowers all of the human costs, financial costs and waste associated with sending direct mail to bad addresses.

Auto manufacturers, of course, do much more than send out recall notices: they continually market their products to existing customers, to build brand loyalty and repeat business. Maintaining accurate and up-to-date address records for these customers not only helps keep them safe in the event of a recall, but improves long-term customer value. So ultimately, their investments in contact data quality represent more than just a requirement: managed properly, they also help generate ROI as well. For this important manufacturing industry, automated tools such as NCOA Live play a key role in achieving both of these objectives.

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