Capturing accurate addresses is fundamental to any online business. Today there’s such a wide range of tools available, it’s almost impossible to know where to begin. To help narrow it down, we’ve put a list together of the top questions you should be asking before selecting a new provider.
1) How often is the data updated?
This is one of, if not, the most important question to ask your potential provider. It’s critical that you know how frequently the data is updated and refreshed.
With almost 5,000 address changes taking place every 24 hours to the 28 million records in PAF® alone, the database is not a static file and is constantly changing to reflect new builds, updates and deletions. Therefore, if your supplier isn’t offering SaaS products and updating their data daily, you could be missing out on thousands of potential addresses.
2) Will my data and website be protected if something goes wrong?
Before selecting your vendor it’s imperative you are completely satisfied with the measurements put in place to safeguard your data. The provider should have a published privacy and security policy that ensures that your data will never be misused, sold or shared. Before a contract is secured, sign a non-disclosure agreement with the vendor as insurance that they are wholly committed to protecting your privacy.
3) What is your uptime?
Does the company publish its network availability and uptime standards? You need to find out that if something does go wrong with one of their servers, there’s a sufficient failover plan in place so that your services won’t be affected. A minor bit of downtime is inevitable at some point, but with a good provider, you will be none the wiser.
4) Does their technology allow for typos?
Will their technology check for common typos and transposed characters? For example, if a user types ‘Lodnon’ instead of ‘London’, is the technology smart enough to recognise the user’s mistake or will it just throw out error messages?
5) Where does the data come from?
You should be looking for a supplier with legitimate relationships with reputable data sources, such as Royal Mail, USPS and Canada Post. Are they licensed resellers of the address data from postal operators or are they getting the data elsewhere?
6) Does the tool work internationally?
Businesses branching out internationally will need to consider the quality of their provider’s global data. While your data might be fine for addresses in their native country, does it cover addresses of your overseas customers? When looking for a new address verification provider, it is essential to look for one who can offer data coverage for the areas you cater for.
7) How long will the software take to integrate?
Is it something you can put on your website yourself in less than 5 minutes, or will you need an army of developers to walk you through the process? Do they have rebuilt integrations for the platforms you require, or will you be required to do this yourself? Additionally, ensure the company you choose supports your programming language whether it’s .NET, PHP, C# or Java. Ask if they offer sample code, and test to see how their API integrates with your systems and programming language.
8) Do you offer one-tap geolocation?
With the number of mobile users constantly on the rise, providing them with the quickest, most convenient solution is imperative. Does the solution allow your mobile customers to return a full address in a single tap, eliminating the need to type?
9) Do you offer back-end address verification?
Address cleanse, also known as back-end or back-office address verification is a cleansing and enhancing solution that works within your back-office system to provide complete and accurate address data. A good address cleanse tool will parse, standardise, cleanse and enhance your data to provide you with the most accurate and complete address data. Look to see if the provider you are interested in offers this useful tool.
10) What other services do you offer?
Does the provider offer other services that will help enhance your overall UX or improve your data? These services may include tools such as email validation, phone verification, geocoding or bank verification? They might not be on your agenda for the immediate future, but knowing that they are there as and when you need them is a great advantage.
11) What additional data sets do you offer?
Does the provider further data sets that will allow you to reach more customers, work more efficiently or identify and provide more services? Additional data sets include UK Address File (UKAF), Eircodes, Multi-Residence, Property Intelligence, Utilities Register and Not Yet Built. Get a good overview of the data available, and make sure it is in line with your business needs.
12) What kind of support will I receive?
Find out the level of support that the provider offers, and whether this is free or whether you will need to pay. Also ask how quickly you will receive this support. Will it be within 24 hours or will you be waiting for a week?
Find out everything you need to know about choosing an address verification provider in our eBook - What to look for when choosing an address verification provider.