Have you ever wondered if there was an easier and less expensive way to enhance customer experience and build loyalty?
We sure have.
Because let’s be real, losing an item at a property is such a bummer for your customers.
Forget about the trek to find the Lost and Found department to report the lost item, which just feels like salt on a wound; or the problem for you to manage everyone’s lost and found property.
Losing a personal possession can affect your customers’ overall experience and how your staff manages this experience can impact it as well.
The important thing to know is solution providers understand your pain.
That’s why lost and found software for all types of properties exist.
Lost and found items are affecting your bottom line, whether you oversee security operations, multiple housing units, sports events, convention centers, hotels, music festivals, airports, or ski resorts.
Customer Loyalty Is a Challenge
Whether it truly is a whole department or not, lost and found at a property consists of aisles of overfilled boxes or cabinets packed with items – disheveled and uncontrolled.
The stress of managing lost and found items also comes down the line to your staff.
It definitely makes their job a lot harder! Verifying ownership – and most importantly – getting items to their owner is a major roadblock for staff since there hasn’t been a means to operate this department efficiently.
The principal problem with lost and found departments at properties is the process for which items are received, documented, tracked, and returned.
Well, most of the time there really isn’t a process.
Turned in items become misplaced within the department itself!
Or, let’s be honest, lost items often become staffs’ new possessions.
Of course, this is counterproductive, resulting in a less than satisfied customer.
We have good news, though.
Progressive solutions providers have recognized the return-to-owner ratio problem.
You can correct this issue and enhance your complete process using lost and found software.
We are going to show you how.
Lost and Found Software Helps Your Team Be Efficient
Software providers have developed a web-based solution to eliminate the need for pen and paper and disorganized storage bins.
We most certainly agree managers needed orderliness and a user-friendly process to ensure that their staff would consistently use the system.
So the fact that many of these systems are web-based is great! Access is granted through the internet from anywhere – anytime.
A manager now has the ability to organize all aspects fitting their property’s needs.
Lost claims can generally be submitted in two ways.
- Customers file their claim through the lost and found department at your property, at which point the staff will enter it into the software.
- Customers submit their lost item claim through a web form available for your property. Most web forms can be customized for the property’s needs. Guests can even send in lost claim information from the comfort of their home!
When a matching item is located, the guest will receive notification to verify whether the matching item is theirs and to reclaim it.
Super simple, right?
Lost claims are then added through the software with claimant and item details.
The claimant details consist of the name and contact information of the person claiming any lost items.
The type of system you need will let you email and/or print a receipt for the claimant’s records.
For the longest time, this was unheard of in lost and found departments.
Most lost item details will include the property information and an item’s associated details including, the item name, the date your customer lost it, and when and where the item was lost.
The ability to attach documents and pictures to the record is also available. A picture is worth a thousand words!
The found item records will afford you and your staff the ability to enter details of the articles found by staff or customers in order to match with possible lost claims.
Details of the found items can be submitted along with the ability to print a receipt and attach associated documents too.
This is why we love documentation and you should too.
Efficiency kicks in with the ability to identify storage locations.
Lost item location is easily stored on the item details, making your staff’s job of finding lost items a whole lot easier.
Actively track where all your items are located.
Remove the ambiguity conventional storage methods create and realize the real value of a lost and found solution.
Matching items is an example of the robust functionality of most solutions.
It allows your staff to compare item details to identify matching items for customers efficiently.
Team members can populate and then select a found item.
Once the found item is selected, all possible matches will populate.
Claim a found match, fill in additional details of the item if needed, and have your team add a signature to verify the issue of the item to its owner.
Solution providers created a system that takes the ‘bulk’ out of the bulk work required to manage your lost and found department efficiently.
Use a system to make raising the return-to-owner ratio an effortless process.
When choosing lost and found software, there should be a definite nonnegotiable: Reporting and analytics.
If you can’t generate reports to review comprehensive statistics – what’s the point?
Analyzing all reports for the lost and found department should be a simple activity.
If your solution doesn’t have the ability to improve your customer service, now is probably a good time to keep reading and see what you’re missing.
Real Value Can Bandage Lost Item Wounds
Of course, all the features of these software solutions are great.
They help you proficiently manage your property.
You’ll no longer use up valuable time to train staff or force them to manage inefficient processes.
We get all that. But building customer loyalty should be your ultimate goal.
That’s what we’re going to jump into, so you can help your customer get reunited with their lost items.
Reunited, and it feels so good.
Problems with lost and found item return-to-owner rates. Gone.
Customer experience. Resolved.
Vague and disorganized processes. Obsolete.
We know losing something and the time it can take to report a lost item and how it can be a horrible experience for your customers.
Giving your customers the ability to report lost items via a web form on your property’s website will up your game and spark the efficiency needed to build loyalty.
Your customers no longer need to call your team over and over asking whether their lost items have been found.
Put up the web form, let your customers check the website for status updates then set it and forget it!
Manage your system with ease, to reduce the pressure of returning items to your customers.
Similar lost items and found items are identified by these systems populating the items in a top-to-bottom comparison of details to determine if a match is likely.
This will reduce the number of items being overlooked and having an effect on the time it takes to return items to their owner.
A key to building guest loyalty is quickly returning lost items to their owners.
You need a system that will record item found dates and define an expiration date for holding each item.
Once the date passes, go ahead and discard it or donate it.
Your staff can now move the items efficiently through the process.
For your property, this will reduce additional inventory and give the organization an extra opportunity for tax write-offs.
Who doesn’t like a good tax write-off?
Print and email receipts as soon as lost item details are entered.
Provide your team with real-time documentation and historical records of all items moving through your system.
Staff can print the tags and attach them to items for storage, along with the receipts for claimed items.
Comprehensive reports for tracking and analysis give you as the manager the ability to meticulously measure your operation’s performance.
The most value occurs when you can look at the inner workings of the lost and found department in order to enhance your customers’ experience and continue to develop their loyalty.
If you’re going to diagnose return-to-owner ratio stats, this is where it’ll be.
Over to You
In the end, it’s important to acknowledge how a lost and found solution can benefit properties spanning across all industries.
Remember to consider a system that allows customers to report lost items from your website, match lost items to found items, email or print receipts and/or storage tags, and analyze full and consistent digital records.
If you choose a system using these guidelines, you’ll find yourself enhancing the overall experience and realizing long-lasting loyalty from your customers.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and freshness.