Airport Lost and Found
The TSA estimates that approximately 90,000 to 100,000 items are left behind at checkpoints each month. This means you’re probably quite busy managing the Lost and Found at the Airport office, or the warehouse in many cases.
If you’re looking for ways to ease the workload and save a bunch of time, we have some tips and tools to help run a high volume lost and found while also improving your customer service experience.
1. Self-Service is King
Save an incredible amount of time off of your typical customer inquiry, reduce your customers’ anxiety, and eliminate extra work by letting customers search the found property directly.
Lost property is an intense problem for the individual and an overwhelmingly frequent one for the airport lost and found team. Self-service is a crowdsourced solution for a crowdsourced problem.
No Gatekeeper = Saved Time and Lower Anxiety
Customers travel all hours of the day, which often doesn’t line up with the typical business hours, or Lost and Found hours, at the Airport.
Instead of waiting for the office to open or a response to the numerous voicemails/emails, your customers start by directly looking for their lost property through the online portal.
This self-service approach is easier for your customers to use, available 24/7, and provides a transparent process that short-circuits many of the typical process questions.
Pro-Tip: Found property is often delayed while traveling through various departments in the airport en route to the Lost and Found office. In the meantime, have customers subscribe to Item Alerts. Item Alerts keep the users connected to the process through automatic daily updates of new found items.
You can see how this saves you a lot of time, right?
Knee-jerk reaction: Thinking about Theft
I know I know, your first thought “if they see it = theft.” However, a transparent process actually allows for a more robust security process than the alternative. For example:
- The majority of items are easily verifiable, such as serial numbers, passcodes, or the contents within by default.
- Customers are required to submit accurate contact information as along with the verifiable item information/descriptions up front.
- To retrieve property the customer is required pay for shipping costs or arrive in person.
Talking 1 to 1 for Items
Looking for “a black iPhone X” among a sea found items can be daunting, especially when “um… I lost an iPhone” is 9 out of 10 customer statements.
Avoid checking every found time every single time and instead have the customer select an item, submit the verifying information upfront, and make a simple yes or no decision of ownership.
A formerly complex process becomes an easy yes, no, or maybe.
Maybe- if unsure you can quickly ask for more info by email or phone. A nice catch all just in case.
Eliminate Phone Calls, Voicemails, Emails
Cutting phone calls, voicemails, emails, and unsolicited messages from your lost and found process is life-changing. Removing the distraction of constant interruptions significantly reduces frustration and helps get more work done.
Get more items returned and save a lot grief in the meantime.
2. Organize with Smart Labels
Speaking of grief, how about keeping found property organized?
Organizing found property is the very definition of a Sisyphean task. Standard lost and found tools, such as hanging tags, paper forms, sticky notes, various storage locations, along with the additional challenge of cycling property in and out decimates any organization scheme.
Instead, the Liff App turns your found property storage into an “Amazon” logistics warehouse. A seamless process for property to enter, organized, and sent out to owners.
As property arrives in the office they are logged and tracked throughout the process with Smart Labels. These labels display essential information about the item, connects the physical item to your digital records, and includes a handy quick response code to pull up that item record. Perfect to lookup status changes, activity, verifying the correct item, or even handy during your disposal process.
Plus, routine audits are now possible and a breeze!
3. Make Shipping Easier
The Amazon metaphor staying relevant (totally unplanned).
Running an Airport lost and found office means you have a lot of items to return to customers. A common and often the preferred option is return by shipment, which makes sense as customers are rarely from the area.
But shipping property can have its difficulties, such as,
- Gathering address information
- Collecting payment for the label & packaging
- Troubleshooting return to sender errors
- Handling shipping insurance
- Sharing FedEx account information numbers
- Communicating package tracking info
- Or requesting shipping labels mailed in so that items can be mailed out (that’s too meta).
Instead, you just print the label and ship it. The Liff App takes care of the rest of the shipping process for you.
These are just a few of the ways that managing Lost and Found at an airport or other large venue can be easier. As technology startup working with some of the largest events and organizations to solve Lost and Found, we’re constantly improving the process and would be thrilled to hear how your process works!