Postage is an unexpected yet vital part of the lost property process. Here’s why…
Our society has become dependent on delivery and postage in everything we do. A while ago we published a blog which noted that a massive 3.65 billion parcels are transported around the UK every year.
The delivery stats
We get everything delivered: from essentials such as medicine and food to electronics and clothing. An estimated 7.5 billion food deliveries were made in 2019 (Source: Statista).
Furthermore, during the height of the UK lockdown, parcel deliveries were up 31%, with 45% of people saying they relied on postage more (Source: Telegraph)
We know that unfortunately the high street has suffered as a result of the rise in online shopping. However, there are some positives to the use of postage. The need for and reliance on delivery reflects the nature of our busy lifestyles. Its flexible nature actually enables individuals to access the things they need at any time, with the click of a button.
What has this got to do with lost property?
Losing an item is a huge pain. It was probably an accident and now you don’t know whether you will get it back. Whether it’s a valuable or not, it’s important to you.
In almost all instances, the organisation where you lost your item will still have it! They are required by law to handle lost property reasonably and have a system in place where items can be returned to the owner.
Unfortunately, the process the organisation has in place to manage lost property may not be very reliable nor helpful. Often lost property teams still use paper log books or confusing Excel spreadsheets to take note of found items and the lost enquiries that come in. This can make matching an item to an enquiry very difficult for staff members and in turn disappointing for the passenger.
Thankfully, businesses are waking up to the concept of handling lost property efficiently with new technologies…
Some of the issues with returning lost property
A key part of the process of handling lost property is (hopefully) returning the item to the owner. You may think: easy, the customer simply comes back to pick the item up. However, in many instances this isn’t always possible or the most effective route of returning an item.
For example, in these industries, collecting an item in person might be an issue:
Hotels – guests may have travelled a long way to stay at a hotel and it might be very inconvenient to travel back.
Theme parks – likewise, visitors may have travelled some distance to visit your theme park. Did you know there are fewer than 20 major theme parks in the UK! (Source: Campaign). As a result, most families won’t re-visit the same theme park multiple times a year to also pick up lost property.
Visitor attractions – this is similar to theme parks. It may be an inconvenience to have to return back to the museum, zoo, adventure park or family attraction you recently attended.
Rail and bus – some transport operating companies have centrally located lost property offices, such as TfL. However, other rail or bus companies may not manage lost property in this way. Therefore, the passenger may have to travel a long way to get to a depot that has their item.
Shopping centres – although people may return back to shopping centres more often than other venues, it’s still an inconvenience for staff and customers. Lost property can absorb a significant amount of staff time.
Festivals – festival goers come from far and wide to attend thus returning might prove difficult. Plus, lost property may be moved into storage immediately as festivals pack up. It could be somewhere far away and inconvenient.
Overall, take into consideration the distance you need to travel, the opening hours of the venue and the importance of lost property in comparison to other customer needs. You’ll realise it’s quite evident that returning an item in person is inconvenient, often expensive and unnecessary.
Furthermore, at this moment in time, people are being urged to only travel when absolutely necessary due to COVID-19. Therefore, returning back to a venue may be frowned upon and certainly isn’t necessary as this adds to higher number of people in one location.
The alternative way of returning
As we discussed earlier, we are now very familiar with delivery. Therefore, why not return items to owners in the post?
Once staff have verified that the item definitely belongs to the owner, all they need to do is package it up and send it back.
NotLost offers a software which takes you through the return process step by step and allows staff to offer different types of delivery and parcel sizes. This gives the owner choice about how they want their item
But isn’t postage expensive?
Postage can seem pricey if you are sending a large item or maybe internationally. However, in reality postage can be as little at £5. This is equal to or even cheaper than the cost of travelling to get the item back in person!
The benefits of posting lost property:
For staff members:
- Items can be packaged up to send quickly and the enquiry cleared from their workload – they have more time to get on with other value adding tasks
- All they need to do is print a label and place the item in the package – it’s very easy
For the venue itself:
- They are offering a first-class customer experience by returning lost items back to owners efficiently
- Management teams can track how many items are being returned on the platform
- Recoup the labour and postage costs by charging for delivery – lost property is no longer a drain on resources. It can actually make you money!
For the customer:
- Full choice with how the item is returned to them – first class, second class, tracked or signed for – the choice is theirs!
- It can be sent right to their door, no need to do anything or go anywhere
Posting lost items back to their owners is quick, simple and has great benefits for all involved. Most importantly, it is a brilliant way of offering excellent customer experience.
Show your guests, customers or passengers that you care about every part of their experience with you, down to how you manage their lost property.
How can we post back lost property?
Implementing a lost and found software can solve multiple problems with your lost property process, including the return process.
NotLost is the leading lost and found software for organisations.
Our digital platform automatically matches found items to enquiries so you spend less time handling lost property. Contact the owner to validate the item with the click of a button, then the return choices are in their hands. Simply package up the item, attach the label and send it to the address already provided through the enquiry form.
Plus, posting items back with NotLost can actually earn you money, helping to cover the costs of labour and postage to your company.
Let’s bring lost property up-to-date with the postage offerings of today.
Get in touch
Request a demo here to speak to one of our dedicated sales team who will show you around the platform.
Give us a call on +44(0)20 8037 3970 or drop us an email