Charities may be making the headlines for all the wrong reasons but, as far as most consumers are concerned, they are the last organisations in the world that they will inform when they move house.
According to consumer research conducted by Wilmington Millennium into which firms they would inform about a home move, an overwhelming three quarters (75%) of consumers placed charities at the bottom of the pile.
And with few investing in goneaway and suppression files, it is hardly surprising that charities are so often accused of running mis-targeted direct mail campaigns.
In fact, the most recent Fundraising Standards Board figures – released in June – show complaints about addressed mail rose 36% year on year to 16,966; the largest proportion of these were about data issues.
Unsurprisingly, organisations with a financial interest were ranked highest in order of priority, with employers, governmental agencies and financial services coming first, second and third respectively.
Not that chairites were alone in being deemed non-essential, retailers and entertainment providers also performed badly.
Whilst respondents categorised five types of organisation as “essential to inform”, the research showed that despite this they were not rushing to tell them of a move. Typically the top tier were advised of a new address within three weeks of a move. Important organisations were told within two months and non-essential organisations were never told at all.
Essential to inform
1. Employer and schools
2. Government: DVLA, council, HMRC, Child benefit
3. Financial: banks, building societies, credit cards, store cards, insurance providers, loan providers, HP providers, pension, savings
4. Online accounts and catalogues: eBay, Amazon, Paypal
5. Utility: Gas, electricity, water, landline, mobile, internet, TV
Important to inform
6. Healthcare: doctors, hospitals, dentists, opticians and vet
7. Loyalty: Supermarkets, Avios
8. Automotive (other than DVLA): insurance, breakdown, finance
9. Trades: milkman, cleaner, window cleaner
Non-essential to inform
10. Entertainment: magazine subscriptions, bingo, gym
The survey also found that home movers now have an average of 39 essential or important organisations to tell they have moved house. This takes approximately 10 hours to carry out.
The majority of organisations accept telephone notification, however, a number of them such as doctors and banks require written or in-person notification. A minority enabled consumers to change their address online. As a result, home movers view change of address as the second most tedious task in home moving, only behind packing.
Wilmington Millennium product director Karen Pritchard said: “People are moving home more than ever before; an average of eight times in a lifetime. Consequently, it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to keep to track of their customers, particularly as this research highlights, they may not even be informed.
“As we all know it costs far more to acquire a new customer than to retain an old one. It therefore makes economic sense for retailers, charities, entertainment providers and any essential or important organisation not confident in their single customer view, to invest in goneaway products. These identify home movers, track them to their new address and provide the details of the new occupants.”
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