The act of ensuring customer addresses that a business has on file are accurate and up-to-date.
Address Hygiene Details
Why has address hygiene become so important? With the rise of the internet, online shopping has become normal for many customers, a trend that has accelerated during the COVID pandemic. It represents a shift in consumer behavior which has had a dramatic, negative effect on traditional stores but, at the same time, represents an opportunity for online retailers. From giants such as Amazon to small family restaurants, businesses seek to take advantage of this trend.
However, this new opportunity for online retailers brings logistical challenges with it, one of which is maintaining an accurate list of addresses. The traditional store has one notable advantage over online retailers. In a traditional store, a customer can browse, see something she likes and buy it on the spot. This instant gratification is an important feature of traditional shopping and cannot be matched by online competitors. Nevertheless, online retailers have spent much time and money to ensure that the time between purchase and delivery is cut to a minimum. To do this effectively, it is essential that the online retailer practices address hygiene.
Address hygiene is fundamentally essential to all businesses which are presently online because quick delivery of the right product to the correct address is the keystone of their business success. A business needs to maintain its customer database accurately and ensure that the addresses it contains are accurate and formatted correctly. There are software programs available that can verify new entries, correct mistakes, and format entries; these programs often use the United States Postal Service's database to keep track of the location of businesses and individuals.
Address Hygiene Example
Dwayne runs a small restaurant that has expanded its home delivery service. A customer can order by phone, online, or by an application on her phone. Cathy has decided to spend an evening in, watch a movie, and order a pizza from Dwayne's. She places her order through the application on her phone and expects delivery at 7:30 pm. The pizza does not arrive. She phones the restaurant and discovers that the delivery driver took the pizza to the wrong address and was paid by a surprised but hungry resident and left. Dwayne's restaurant offers to supply another pizza free of charge, but the damage had been done. Cathy has settled for a tuna sandwich.
Dwayne's restaurant confused two similar addresses and passed on the wrong address to the delivery man. The problem was with their database, which had Cathy's address listed incorrectly. Dwayne's tried to redress the situation, but the damage had been done. A small mistake had cost them a customer who might further spread the bad publicity by telling her friends. Had Dwayne's maintained their database correctly and practiced address hygiene measures, the mistake would not have occurred.
No business, great or small, is entirely immune from human error, but simple delivery errors can be minimized by practicing address hygiene. In online retail, timely delivery is essential, and much of a company's reputation rests on its ability to fulfill orders as quickly and accurately as possible. The key to this is the careful maintenance of customer information, not least of which is their addresses.