Database management aids takeover

Health chain swears by address matching software come negotiations

National health club chain Fitness First is using automated address matching software to cut down on the costs of collecting outstanding debts.

With a membership base of more than 350,000 people, the organization relies on snail mail as a third and final means of communication with debtors and also uses address matching software when purchasing new outlets to guarantee a current and active membership directory.

Fitness First has been using a range of tools for the last two years from QAS including QuickAddress Pro, QuickAddress Batch and QuickAddress Pro Web. Fitness First IT manager Andrew Wyres said its application of QAS predicts and confirms addresses to reduce initial data entry and to ensure member addresses are valid.

"Before we were using the white pages, but it was not effective given the volume of addresses and another area we found difficult is in engaging in new business," Wyres said.

"When taking over existing health clubs it is a huge problem validating the data in their membership so we use QAS when a club is selling their membership, base to us as a quick way of getting black and white evidence on the reliability of their database because that helps in the negotiation stages and if we find only five percent of addresses are correct it puts us in a better position, also it will corrupt our database if we do not know how accurate the records are.

"The other thing we are using it for is communications. At the moment we are moving towards using SMS to keep in contact with members and trying to guage the accuracy of telephone numbers is quite difficult, and while there are companies that can assist us, in order to do it effectively we need accurate addresses first. We first use QAS to get addresses right and when we have a 90 percent hit rate we then look for a mobile or landline number."

Wyres said Fitness First is currently re-architecting the membership database in .Net to offer greater customer self service. Fitness First process some $600,000 worth of payment transactions through monthly billing cycles.

QuickAddress Pro works by tracking changes in address as they are registered with Australia Post's National Change of Address File. The system references some 11.7 million Australian addresses, tracking an average three million address changes annually.

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