Here at NotLost, we spend a lot of time talking about lost property. Specifically, we like to discuss how it helps the different industries we work with.
We’ve covered its value for festivals, its necessity for venues, and why if you’re in the hotel business, a digital lost and found solution – specifically ours – is the way forward.
Something that we don’t discuss as much is individual scenarios. The situations that businesses dealing with high levels of footfall face all the time, and how they can impact your business if your lost property process isn’t up to scratch.
Music venue – Two lost coats
Ok, so let’s say that Joe Bloggs and Jane Doe are enjoying a night on the town. They’ve been out for a meal, gone to the pub and now decided they’re going to a gig. When they arrive, it’s apparent that their jackets are surplus to requirement.
A poorly ventilated venue has led to what can only be described as an oven effect, despite a rather brisk evening outside. So, due to a lack of appropriate cloakroom facilities, they throw caution to the wind, leaving their jackets in a dusty corner.
After a raucous evening of getting elbowed in the face and spilling drinks, the couple return to their corner of choice to a chilling revelation. The jackets are gone.
When they ask at the bar, an exhausted-looking 20 something tells them to leave a description and contact details, if it’s found, someone will be in touch.
A few days pass. Bloggs, growing less confident his designer jacket will return to him, decides to get in touch with the venue. After a brief chat, he is informed, much to his annoyance, that not only were jackets of that description handed in but that someone else had claimed them.
Unsurprisingly, the thieves neglected to leave their phone numbers.
How NotLost helps
With a digital lost property system, everything is handled online. So, when Bloggs makes his enquiry, he is directed to a self-service portal where he enters details of the coats.
From there, our matching tool searches the information it’s been given against anything that’s been handed in. This removes the situation where an opportunistic thief gives a vague description of a coat to an unwitting attendant.
What’s more is that before a match is verified and pickups organised, it must be approved by a member of staff, adding an extra layer of security, and ensuring that the right people get their coats back.
Hotel – Returned item, but annoyed customers.
James Jameson stays in a lot of hotels. Being a sales executive for the world’s first ice cream flavoured dog food company, he’s on the road a fair bit. It drives his husband crazy, and despite James’s insistence he would rather be at home, he enjoys the minor luxuries that only a four-star hotel can offer. One day, after a delightfully adequate stay in Norwich’s Wheatsheaf hotel, James realised that he doesn’t have his wallet.
Stuffed into his wallet are not only all his cards but around £300 worth of receipts he needs to expense. A healthy panic starts to bed in, as James retraces his steps around his temporary home.
After a joyless hunt, he goes to reception, hoping good news awaits him. Alas, it does not. He is informed that if anything similar turns up, he’ll be the first to know.
Returning home, James feels pretty down. Not only did he lose his wallet, but Budgens in Norwich basically laughed him out the door when he tried pitching his company’s new Chocolate Labrador flavour.
He’s seriously considering getting a new job.
After about 3 weeks of radio silence, an annoyed finance team needing to calculate his expenses and lots of cancelled cards, James gets an email saying his wallet has been found.
Turns out they had it all along, but due to the size of the Wheatsheaf, it hadn’t been uncovered until yesterday. The damage was already done, however, with a bad review and blacklisting on the company hotel list incoming.
How NotLost help
When James enquires about the hotel, NotLost’s platform gives staff complete oversight of every item that’s been handed in. So, the minute that he speaks to the team, they can check to see if it’s been found.
There’s no disconnect between reception and lost property, and no fruitlessly searching through piles of stuff. He can get an answer instantly. So, even if it hasn’t been handed in, he knows there and then.
A festival – Wasted staff time, poor experience for attendees
Dylan loves going to festivals. While she couldn’t get tickets to Festivus this year, she was able to work there. To pay for this experience, she’s working at one of the main information points across the festival, with lost property described as a small part of her job.
However, being a 60,000 capacity event, Festivus ends up with thousands of weird items handed in throughout the weekend.
Every time something gets handed in, they need to write a description of the item and log it Then, another one appears. Each time that gets logged, another person arrives, causing her to stop what she’s doing and take down an enquiry.
Overall it’s a criminally inefficient system with the lost property work ending up taking up a large amount of the kiosk’s time. This means that when punters come seeking information, confused and inebriated, Dylan isn’t always able to help. The result? A frazzled workforce and disgruntled attendees.
How NotLost helps
With the NotLost platform, registering items takes 10 seconds, not 10 minutes. When a phone gets handed in, a picture gets taken and uploaded to our system along with any pertinent details i.e when and where it was found.
From there, our image recognition software does the rest, creating a profile of the item. This frees up staff time to do what they’re there to do, create a positive experience for the hordes of confused revellers charging around a field.
When someone comes looking for their phone, for example, Dylan can see whether it’s been handed in. If it has, she finds it and gives it back. If it hasn’t, the enquiry goes onto the NotLost database and waits for a matching found item to come in.
When that happens, they get a message with an image of their possession, asking them if it’s theirs, and if it is, would they be so kind as to come and get it.
So there you have it, three reasons why NotLost should power your lost property process. You should do it for your staff, you should do it for your customers, but most importantly, you should do it so you don’t have to.
If you want to find out more, get in touch at +44(0)20 8037 3970 or drop us an email at Josh@notlost.com.