As the owner of a lost and found software company, I often hear two questions. First, what percentage of lost items get returned to their owner, and two, what percentage of items should be returned to their owners? These questions are similar, but there are important differences.

In cases where a lost and found software is not in place, the return rate for lost items is generally very low, and the process of retrieving these items can be frustrating for customers. Most companies have a reactive return policy – that is, after an item is already lost, they store it in some lost and found area, and wait for the customer to notice that the item is gone and come claim it. However, some of our clients are proactive, meaning they don’t wait for the guest to contact them, they reach out and see if the customer wants the item returned. For example, if an item is found in a guest room, they look up the guest information and give them a call, sometimes before the guest even realized that the item was lost. This bolsters goodwill and makes your company stand out from the competition.

Our lost and found software helps companies be proactive about lost and found. It’s a small part of business that many companies don’t even consider, but it’s a small touch that can make a world of difference to the guest experience. It’s not always the best choice to be proactive with your lost and found process, but our company can help design software that works for your company. No matter what works best for your company, our software is casual and simple, you’ll hardly notice you’re using it.

If proactive lost and found software is best for your company, you could see return rates rise from 5-10% to as high as 85% or higher. For certain companies, such as hotels, it’s even more important to be proactive, and that can add the ‘wow’ factor that separates your company from the competition.

While proactive lost and found solutions may not be best for every company, it’s worth evaluating your process. If you don’t have one in place at all, implementing some kind of process is better than nothing, and if your business might benefit from proactive solutions, such as businesses where guests are likely to lose a lot of items, then it’s worth seeing what lost and found software can do for you.

So to answer the initial question, of what percentage of lost items are or should be returned, the answer is that it’s highly personal to every kind of business. In any case, it’s certainly worth evaluating what process is in place, and considering using proactive lost and found software with our company. If your business handles a lot of lost and found items, it might just make all the difference for the customer experience. Letting a guest know they’ve lost something, possibly before they even knew it themselves, and offering the option to have it returned, stress-free, makes a huge difference in how your company is perceived, and can boost the perception of your company to one that looks out for its guests, and we’re always happy to help give your business the boost it needs.