One of the frustrations associated with managing venues with high footfall (tourist attractions, sports or music venues, music festivals, holiday resorts, hotels, exhibition and conference centers…) can be how to manage lost property:
It’s not your core business
It can be time consuming for your teams to deal with
It can also create customer service frustration or impact your customer reviews if the process feels convoluted,
at the time where your customers are already anxious for having lost an item important to them (which could be their phone, their car keys, or their wallet of course, but equally could be a jacket or one of the kids’ teddy bears!).
Whether it’s a laptop that’s been left behind in a meeting room or a scarf with sentimental value forgotten in your hotel room, it’s easy for a customer to become disgruntled when they can’t find how to check whether their lost item is stored with your lost property, or easily get it back. As a result, many might simply give up and sometimes associate this event with your brand (even subconsciously). For your business, it means dealing with a mounting amount of lost property, which can make it difficult to find the time to deal with it. What do you do with all the unclaimed items?
As an increasing number of businesses turn to software solutions to help them manage their lost property, it’s important to identify where the biggest benefits are to be found when it comes to managing your lost property, so you can make an informed decision on what solution is best for you.
We’ve researched and put together this handy review of how to make managing lost property at your venue or retail store chain easier and more efficient at each step (and offer an even better customer service experience) for this exact purpose.
Logging lost property items left at your venue
There are a number of ways event and sport venues, tourist attractions and large retail store chains can go about logging lost property, from using a customised lost property software solution creating a searchable database, to simply logging lost property items onto a spreadsheet or into a database manually, or of course, maintaining a manual log of lost property in a paper log book.
Depending on how much lost property your business deals with each week, adopting a simple software solution might save your team a lot of time and hassle (as well as offer other benefits in terms of easing searching through your inventory and even getting the item back to its owner. More on this below…)
If your business operates across multiple sites or locations, and your lost property gets collected and stored centrally, using a lost property software solution will also make it a lot easier for anyone in any of your teams, from any location, to keep track of what’s in your inventory, and easily answer customers’ queries no matter which site they come through to ask for it.
Storing lost property
As well as being able to track the items in your lost property inventory, a lost property software solution will also allow you to store that inventory centrally and easily search through it. This makes it a lot easier for anyone in your team, from any location, to keep track of what’s in your inventory, and answer customers’ queries no matter which site they come through to ask for it. Most lost property software solutions will also have a reporting feature, which will allow you to not only see a report of your inventory every day, but also generate a weekly report, a monthly report, and even a yearly report. This allows you to identify seasonal trends in your lost property (for example, during the holiday season, there might be more items lost, meaning your teams might be busier dealing with lost property. Or you might find that one of the sites you manage get more lost property than others, and want to figure out why and how to put in place remediation solutions that work well across some of your other sites…).
Once you have a clear idea of how much lost property you’ll be storing, and how often you’ll be logging items and searching for them you can put together a plan for how you’ll store it, and where you’ll keep it. This will help you to know where to store it, and how much you need to store it in order to keep on top of the volume of lost property you’ll be handling each week.
>> Efficiency tips:
You’ll want to make sure you’ve got a good stock of lost property storage containers on hand (ideally a few different sizes and types, so you can store larger, more common items in larger containers and store smaller, less commonly lost items in smaller containers). This will make it easier for you to keep track of what you’ve got, and for your staff to find what they’re looking. It’s also good practice to have different colour stickers for different types of items, so you can quickly scan through your inventory and see at a glance what’s in each container.
By the way, did you know that Found provides you with lost property boxes when you become a partner?
If your business operates on a decentralised model, the way you store your lost property may vary. Some businesses keep all of their lost property in a warehouse or storage facility, and store it in a specific area of the premises where they can find it when they need to. Others keep it in a central warehouse, but store it in separate areas of the warehouse in different crates or bags to make it easier to find. Some businesses store their lost property in the same location where they keep their customers’ items. If your lost property gets collected and stored off site, it’s even more likely that adopting an app based software will save you time and hassle.
Searching through your lost property inventory
There are a number of different ways you can go about finding your lost property. The first thing you’ll want to do is to set aside some time to go through your lost property. This will allow you to go through it as thoroughly as possible, and will give you the best chance of finding your item. The amount of time you’ll need to spend searching through your lost property will depend on the size of your inventory and the density of your items, so it’s worth considering how much time you can dedicate to this task, and how the solution you adopt will ease and shorten this process.
>> Top tip:
you’re using a software that stores not only item description details, as well as useful identifiers / filtering options like brand, make or model of items, but also lets you store photos of the item, it will make searching through your lost property much easier, as well as easing the identification process if you trust your customer is the rightful owner. For example you can ask questions about any specific marks or covers the item might have….
Reuniting owner and item
Sending a lost property item back to their owner is in essence a very straightforward process. Simply send the item via courier to the owner. Or they might want to simply pick it up.
The reality of arranging a courier service might however prove more time consuming and frustrating, both for your customers and your teams; especially if you cannot spend your budget on courier fees.
>> Efficiency tip:
Why not look at a software solution for lost property that also has a courier service embedded in it? This way, once the rightful owner has been identified, they can arrange the pick up and return themselves. They feel a lot more in control arranging it themselves, rather than having to rely on someone else and not knowing how long it might take. They can get it delivered to wherever works best for them; and your team needs only to wait for the courier to come in and hand over item to them. Voila!
Found’s business lost property solution (an app based software with an integrated courier service) lets you do all this from a phone or tablet!
Dealing with unclaimed lost property items sustainably
Now that we’ve covered the workflow for managing lost property at your business, we’ll take a moment to consider how you can best deal with your unclaimed lost property items in a sustainable manner.
Over time, the amount of unclaimed lost property that you have is going to add up, and can start to clutter your lost property storage area. Of course you could simply dispose of it after a certain period of time, but wouldn’t it be great if your unclaimed lost property got rehomed, reused and recycled?
>> Sustainability and efficiency tip:
When you choose Found as your lost property management solution, we pair you with a local charity partner to make this happen!
We hope this list of innovative solutions will help your business manage lost property more efficiently and offer an even better customer service experience.
If you’d like to book a short demonstration of how Found works and find out more about how it could help your business click here to get in touch.