Lost property isn’t cool but it can make or break somebody’s experience with a venue and also significantly impact the score and review a venue may be given on websites such as TripAdvisor. Customer Experience is a wide ranging term that encompasses everything and anything, including lost property, but planning how to reunite people with their lost items is often neglected.
In the technology-driven world of 15 minute grocery deliveries and instant payments, you’d assume there would be a digitally enabled way to do almost anything; including managing and repatriating people with lost property, but until recently there hasn’t been. Almost every adult in the world has lost something at some point in their life and more often than not they have an idea of roughly where they lost it. Things can be especially miserable for people if they have already left the area and cannot revisit the location where they left something to get it back but luckily there are novel and innovative solutions to solve this.
How big of a problem is lost property in the UK?
You may not realise it, but people in the UK lose 50 million items a year! That's a lot of stuff waiting to be found. Usually, when something is lost the loser has to fill out forms, phone around and post in numerous social media groups. It's an incredibly painful and not very successful process. The problem is even more exasperated in big cities and tourist hotspots. Visitors tend to travel around and visit multiple places in a day. Getting back to the airport and realising they no longer have their laptop could leave them with a long list of hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions to contact.
Unfortunately back in October 2018 many police forces across the UK, including the Met and Avon & Somerset Police, announced they wouldn't hold lost property anymore. So with the police not providing a safe place to hand things in, the responsibility to return lost property to its owner has shifted to businesses and individuals.
Why hasn’t lost property come into the 21st century?
Hospitality venues need to ensure that their core offering is brilliant and memorable to make sure that people have a great experience. Staff these days have multiple roles at venues and most will have found an item that has been left behind by a visitor; whether they are a cleaner, front of house staff or maintenance staff. Research that Found has conducted as a lost property technology provider tells us that most venues will put items in a lost property box in a back office and wait until a member of public approaches them; in the best cases staff will log the item on a lost property spreadsheet and potentially add a sticky note with any details such as a hotel room number and date. This often leads to cluttered and poorly organised lost property boxes.
Some of the most frustrating issues about lost property are often the amount of communication required between the venue and the loser, including the organisation of the courier to deliver the item and the receipt of payment for the delivery of the item. The good news is Found has brought all of this into the 21st century whilst also improving the process of logging lost property by using image recognition to speed up the process of logging items.
Found was created as a result of frustrations experienced by Found’s CEO when he was trying to get back items that he had lost. Upon conducting research it was found that there wasn’t a simple to use technology solution to help both businesses and losers with lost property so Found came into existence; to help everybody who is part of the lost property process. So how exactly does it work I hear you ask?
Found is a very simple to use web and mobile app that allows staff members to register items of lost property in a time efficient manner without the need for specialist training or software integration. Multiple people can add found items to the venue’s lost property database meaning that as soon as a member of staff, such as a cleaner, finds something they can take a photo of the item and allow image recognition to do the hard work. The item will instantly appear in the venue’s lost property database. At that stage apart from putting the item in the lost property store there is nothing else to do, no emails or phone calls to respond to as everything is handled by Found’s clever technology.
When the member of the public realises they have left their item behind at your venue they can easily register their lost item and details by using Found’s Public App or website. As soon as this is done, Found's clever tech works to find a match. Once a match is made both the venue and loser are instantly notified; the member of the public can then confirm the match and importantly choose how they want to get their item back; whether they wish to pick it up in person or have a courier deliver it. Once this decision has been made the loser can confirm their details and pay for the courier, meaning that staff at the venue can focus on helping the visitors who are at the venue. The only interaction staff at the venue have after registering the item is then handing over the item to a courier or the member of the public when it's collected.
In the current age of technology and instant feedback, Found offers a modern and easily implementable solution to add another string to the customer experience bow of hospitality venues. Using a modern and digital solution, that requires no software integration, for things such as lost property management is a way to differentiate one venue from another; it is a way of showing the public that almost everything has been thought about and that everything will be done to ensure their visit is perfect even after they have left the venue.
If you want to know more about Found's easy to implement lost property solution that requires no software integration or training have a read of www.found.cloud/business or get in touch with the Found team.