Your business likely receives pieces of returned mail every day. No big deal, right? You’ll simply re-route those items to the correct addresses. No harm, no foul.

A deeper look reveals the true cost of returned mail. When a piece of mail is returned to you – the U.S. Postal Service processes these mailings as Undeliverable as Addressed (UAA) – and you lose much more than just the original cost of printing and postage.

In fact, companies can spend up to $25 per piece of returned mail in ancillary costs related to correcting mistakes and re-sending mail. That cost escalates pretty quickly as your volume of UAA mail grows. According to the USPS®, about 1.4 billion pieces of First-Class and standard mail were marked “return to sender” in 2015.

The bottom line: UAA mail wastes money. Most companies don’t realize they have a problem with returned mail or the real impact it has on their bottom line. And when they do recognize the problem, they don’t know how to solve it.

Even when you do put in an effort to reduce your volume of returned mail, some pieces will inevitably still slip through the cracks. To reach a solution, it helps to first understand why mail is returned, and then implement solutions to limit the cost of re-processing these pieces.

The Factors and Costs Behind UAA Mail

People move – it’s a simple reality of life that contributes frequently to returned mail. According to the USPS, up to 18 percent of the country’s population moves each year, and only about 60 percent of movers actually file a change of address record with the postal service.

But that’s not the only reason why a piece of mail might find its way back to your office. Incomplete, incorrect, illegible, or unknown addressees, refused mail and unpaid postage can all trigger a return to sender. Annually, mailers spend about $20 billion in UAA mail, with direct costs to the USPS settling around $789 million per year.

Of course, finances are only part of the problem. Customers expect to receive important bills or statements on time, even in cases where their own mistake triggered the problem. So returned mail could affect long-term customer relationships and goodwill.

Improving Deliverability and Limiting UAA Costs

Having a trusted mail services partner could help you improve not just your short-term bottom line, but your long-term customer relationships and revenue potential. Third-party partners who manage return mail processing on your behalf can automate and streamline each part of the process for overall cost and time savings.

Each time a piece of mail is returned, that item needs to be re-processed, a new address for the recipient must be found and stored for later use, and the item must be re-sent. With the right mail services partner to handle this, you can update up to 75 percent of your undeliverable addresses and improve mail deliverability.

That way, returned mail becomes less of a burden on your time and finances. It’s effectively found money, solving a problem you might not have realized you had, and ensuring you can meet customer expectations for engagement and resolve address discrepancies quickly. The right partner can get you there.

Need a mail services partner to handle returned mail processing for your enterprise business? Click to learn more about Return Mail solutions from Pitney Bowes.