Cost of Lost and Found

Lost and Found is a massive problem, and a pretty common topic we talk about. 

Everyone can relate to losing an item and intuitively knows how frustrating navigating the lost and found process can be. 

But what is the real cost in Lost and Found?

For the Individual

Loss can be intense. The cost is not just the item that went missing, even though a lost $1,400 iPhone hurts enough on its own. Every lost item can lead to a massive disruption in the customer’s experience. Individuals are rarely prepared for an essential thing to go missing, and that’s when everything can go off the rails. 

The customer experience in a loss event often starts quite negative, queue crying girl “I don’t know how to get home without my phone.” Trying to find that item can take over the entire customer experience and become an epic quest instead of engaging with the organization. Anxiety, frustration, and lack of trust in the organization can let that initial negative moment accumulate.

So to recap:

  • they are out a bunch of money
  • the experience is negative, probably quite sad or angry at this point
  • they’ve spent a lot of time trying to fix the problem and now have lost the experience entirely.

So the organization helps them out with a web form or a phone number to leave a voicemail. 


For the organization

For an organization, the cost of Lost and Found can vary widely depending on the type of organization and the overall amount of loss that occurs.

An estimate of the cost to return an item to a customer can be as high as $95 per item for an airline. When airlines move millions of passengers and collect hundreds of thousands of found items a year, those item costs can add up.

For more experiential organizations, such as music festivals–which are kind of our bag, a negative customer experience like losing an item can have surprisingly high costs.

Coachella Music Festival

Coachella Music Festival 2019 Case Study

In 2019, Liff Happens was brought in to help improve the Lost and Found process and deliver an overall better customer experience. Loss in any music festival can be quite high, and for Coachella it’s a big deal.

Lost and Found Reports
  • 4,362 loss reports
  • 2,040 items returned
  • 3,149 items found
Liff App Website Statistics
  • 12,244 web visitors
  • 147,966 ​pageview
  • 24% bounce rate

The average price for a general admission ticket at Coachella is $429.

Potential churn due to a negative experience of loss, based only on the GA ticket price, can be as high as $5,252,676 (from total unique visitors looking online) to a more reasonable $1,871,298 (from total customers reporting a lost item).

The cost of Lost and Found can get expensive for a music festival. A box to return items cannot address such a massive problem. Guest experience, specifically Lost and Found, is an investment in future earnings by reducing churn and encouraging customer engagement.

Room to improve

Simply returning found items only addresses a portion of the problem, and there’s even room to improve with that. 

That’s why the Liff team is continuing to expand beyond just managing the Lost and Found “Box,” like:

  • Protect: guard your valuable items, like your phone, by securely adding contact information to reduce loss and improve the return rate.
  • Match Mode: from sending postcards to using data connections, like our partnership with Front Gate Tickets, to proactively notify owners, Match Mode puts “finding” your lost item on autopilot.

Join in to help fix Lost and Found

Drop us a line to chat all things lost and even found.

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