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Couchsurfing Uses Postcards & Address Data to Build Trust With Their Users

ā€œUsing the Lob API, we automated all of thisā€”from making sure members were providing deliverable addresses to programmatically sending postcards on-demand instead of through an entirely manual process.ā€

Denise Remhof

Product Manager

CouchSurfing connects its members to a global community of travelers, helping them find a place to stay or share their home with travelers. The promise of a cultural exchange and meeting new people may be appealing, but it only works when there is trust in the service. CouchSurfing builds this trust in part via a series of member verifications, one of which entails address verification. This verification program ensures that the address a member provides in their CouchSurfing profile is not only a real address, but also inhabited by that member.

Before discovering Lob, CouchSurfing sent address verification postcards through a traditional direct mail vendor which relied on a manual process: "We were sending these postcards before, but we had to manually compile a CSV file for our vendor every week and the addresses in that file were whatever our members provided, which meant they weren't always accurate or in a recognized format," said Denise Remhof, CouchSurfing Product Manager. "Using the Lob API, we automated all of thisā€”from making sure members were providing deliverable addresses to programmatically sending postcards on-demand instead of through an entirely manual process."

"We're saving time each week that would have been spent managing this program manually. With Lob, we don't even have to think about it anymore."

After a straightforward integration (CouchSurfing called it "pretty trivial"), they were up and running. "We're saving time each week that would have been spent managing this program manually," remarked Remhof. "With Lob, we don't even have to think about it anymore. That may not sound like a ringing endorsement, but not having to think about it is a big deal."

In addition to time savings, CouchSurfing finds Lob superior to their previous solution in other ways as well. "Lob clearly wins out on all of the dimensions we care about: dynamic postcard updates, price, and speed to delivery," Remhof confirmed. Now that they're sending address verification postcards using the Lob API, the program runs itself and CouchSurfing has more time to work on other things that matter to their business.


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