Lost and Found is a problem of timing. Often when an item finally shows up the owner isn’t nearby. Now you have a logistics problem on your hands and there are a lot of ways this can go wrong. Let’s dive in.
An obvious solution; make it free. Collect a mailing address from the owner, pack it, and send it off yourself. But…
- As an organization, you’re paying for it.
- It might seem like a benefit for the customer, but the cost can add up, especially for international shipping, and they have the options.
- Your customer doesn’t get a choice.
- Lost items can be an emergency or can wait a week or two; allowing customers the opportunity to choose and pay for those options can make a huge difference.
Also, if you’re willing to pay for the shipping you should spend that capital upfront to return more items while owners are around, they’ll appreciate it.
Send in a Label
Many organizations have their customer send over a shipping label–covers the cost of shipping and lets the customer choose the speed. But…
- The customer picking a label has all kinds of problems;
- Package size, carrier preference, delivery method (some organizations have customers mail in a label–how crazy is that?), shipping out the correct item, etc.
- Loss can be a stressful occurrence, removing process steps for them is just good customer service.
Having the customer register and provide a FedEx account number, or other third-party alternative, much much better than sending in a label and sounds reasonable enough–the customer is paying, your using a preferred carrier, and packaging can be figured out later. But…
- Still not giving the customer much choice in the matter.
- It’s disjointed and not an amazing experience.
- Kicking the process over to a third party for parts of the fulfillment can be confusing and difficult to navigate for your customer, some organizations have their customers call a UPS office to figure it out on there own (ouch).
- If it’s not all third party, you still need to collect the address and send tracking, and all the other basic communication requirements.
It’s an option and not a very good one. Some organizations have chosen to limit options to only pick up–not very customer centric.
Ultimately, Customer Service
Lost and Found is a customer service effort. Finding the sweet spot between efficiency and customer support creates the ideal outcome.
Integrate shipping into the process. Selfishly, the Liff App balances all the best options for you and your customer.
- Customer: submits a mailing address, service level, and payment together.
- Your lost and found team: picks the carrier options, packs the item, and prints the label.
- The Liff App takes care of everything else.
Quick watch out: the Liff App isn’t the only provider of integrated shipping, but some of the alternatives may take advantage of your customer during a stressful time.