Addresses, Addresses & more Addresses

Over 37,000 UK businesses use the Royal Mail Postcode Address File (PAF®) to help them capture customer data correctly and then use it in a huge range of ways, such as delivering their products to homes and businesses, planning public services, quoting an insurance policy, validating identities and keeping existing customer information up to date for regulatory purposes.

The 29.5 million record dataset is at the core of Experian’s data quality products and has been for over 20 years. We see between 4,000 and 5,000 changes to the PAF daily and supply these to our customers on a daily, monthly or quarterly basis. We get plenty of questions from our clients about the PAF and I’ve personally had a lot of conversations on this subject with friends, colleagues and family over the years, thanks to my now intimate knowledge of the UK address data market. Some of the most common ones are:

“Why is my new home not on ‘Grocery Website X’? I can’t get my shopping delivered!”

“Why do I keep getting the water bill for the flat downstairs?” (Or on the flip side, “Why am I not getting any water bills?”)

“Why can Flats 1 & 2 get home insurance but I can’t?”

These questions are normally caused by some simple issues which, happily, are very easy to solve.

  1. Many organisations only update their address data quarterly – missing out on crucial updates and newly built properties.
  2. Even with regular updates of address reference data, some newly built properties will take a little time to flow into address capture software.
  3. Many properties that have been converted into flats only have one letterbox. This means that just the ‘building’ features in address reference data – not the individual flats.

To solve these problems, Royal Mail offer two additional datasets that enhance the PAF.

Not Yet BuiltTM Data

Containing over 450,000 records (with a net change of around 6,000 new records per month), this dataset captures the details of properties that are currently under construction. Sourced from Local Authorities and ‘on the ground’ intelligence provided by postal delivery workers, it enables businesses to help consumers with their house moves. Whether it be arranging home insurance or purchasing white goods for delivery, the ability to serve consumers before they move into a new home can create the kinds of customer relationships that last for years.

Once the property is ‘postally deliverable’ it will move onto the main PAF file. Businesses with Not Yet Built won’t have to wait for this – they will already have captured these new customers and kept existing customers as they move home.

Partnering Not Yet Built with the PAF and movers flags from the Royal Mail National Change of Address (NCOA) creates a really powerful solution to help you get and keep customers.

Multiple ResidenceTM Data

Containing around 750,000 sub-premise records, Multiple Residence enables businesses to serve customers in approximately 184,000 PAF properties that they could otherwise miss out on. With a growing population living in flats and conversions – especially in large cities such as London, Liverpool, Bristol & Birmingham – having insight ‘behind the letterbox’ is increasingly important.

For organisations in Insurance, Utilities and Retail; Multiple Residence is an incredibly useful addition to the PAF. It’s built using ‘on the ground’ intelligence from postal workers who will be spotting that (for example) 16 High Street has 4 flats where previously it was just one house. They pass this information to the Address Management Unit at Royal Mail who add it to the database.

With a net change of around 1,500 new records per month, Multiple Residence is a crucial addition to your customer acquisition strategy.

Getting Smart with your data

Whether you need daily updates to the PAF or want to enhance your contact data with Not Yet Built, Multiple Residence or the National Change of Address (NCOA); Experian can help you – check out our Enhanced Location Data.