PDMS have helped Aberdeen Airport improve customer service by helping to return lost property to rightful owners
Over 3.76 million passengers passed through Aberdeen International Airport in 2014, making it the busiest year in the airport’s history. With such a high number of people passing through the airport, large amounts of property are lost by the airport’s customers every week - often important items of high emotional or financial value. This is a stressful experience which many business travellers and holiday makers can relate to.
To overcome this problem PDMS has developed Retrieva, an online lost and found property management solution with a flexible configuration allowing it to address the differing needs of organisations. Retrieva aims to help organisations reduce the cost and time spent on lost property management, whilst enhancing the service delivered to customers through improved restoration rates.
Airports, similar to other businesses, face increasing competition, so improving the service delivered to passengers is of paramount importance. Fraser Bain, one of Aberdeen International Airport’s Duty Managers, identified the opportunity to enhance the customer experience when it came to reporting and more importantly, retrieving property lost in the airport and on-board aircraft.
Fraser approached PDMS on the basis of our existing track record in lost and found property management – having worked with West Midlands Police to return hundreds of thousands of items of property to their rightful owners. Following an initial discussion of requirements and presentation to the senior management team. PDMS worked quickly to integrate Retrieva into Aberdeen International Airport’s website.
Aberdeen International Airport previously managed lost property through a number of manual paper-based systems, making lost property management time consuming and onerous for staff and management. A key challenge for introducing this new software was to ensure the support of the front-line team; the system had to be of genuine benefit, improving their busy working day, and it had to be intuitive to use, requiring minimal training.
Lost property management is also challenging due its complexity. Retrieva has been developed to simplify the process, managing to handle high volumes and numerous types of property recorded by multiple users in different locations though its flexible configuration.
Giles Milner, who is spearheading the development of PDMS’ lost and found property software solutions explained the difficulty of lost property management: "Airports face challenges to continually improve their services, with lost property being one of the areas airports have struggled to manage from the customer’s perspective. Increasingly, public facing organisations – not just airports - are seeing lost property as a key part of ensuring customer satisfaction and an opportunity to drive repeat custom. Our solution is a big step forward for delivering better customer services more cheaply."
Retrieva has been developed modularly for a painless set-up and flexible configuration to fit with our customer’s existing processes. The integrated Online Lost Property Report Module allows passengers to report the details of lost items, including what was lost, where and when it was lost, as well as their personal contact information. Developed with categories and description fields which are configurable by individual organisations, the module ensures easy and consistent data entry. This makes Retrieva an extremely reliable and accurate system for searching and matching lost items.
The parallel Found Property Module documents items from initially being found and stored by staff, to the subsequent disposal or restoration to the owner. Its automatic property matching and quick search functionality reduces the time staff spend attempting to match lost and found items. The module is entirely auditable, which allows Fraser’s team to produce management information to help manage queries or complaints.
After replacing a number of separate paper-based systems with a single internet based solution, Retrieva has yielded operational improvements and customer service benefits, making the process for receiving, documenting, tracking and returning lost property simple and efficient.
From the operational perspective, the solution allows the airport’s staff and management to focus on their core activities, turning a previously cumbersome back office process into something which adds value to customers.
The information below, taken from the systems reporting function, shows the high number of items reported lost, but more importantly the active reporting of lost property through the website by passengers and the very high number of items now returned:
Date: October 2014 – October 2015
Found items logged
Lost property reported lost by passengers
Property returned to passengers
Aside from the operational perspective, embracing new technology is an important part of Aberdeen International Airport’s Customer Charter commitments. The customer service improvements are an important aspect of competitive advantage, with delivering positive customer experiences through restoring of lost property to customers engendering their loyalty and repeat custom, and with significant brand benefits.
Having a robust lost property management system means a more relaxed journey for passengers at Aberdeen International Airport, who have the confidence that their essential possessions – whether a laptop, wedding ring or teddy bear – will be found and returned to them if lost.
Commenting on the results of the system, Fraser noted, “We are very happy with the improvements that have been made with regards to how lost property is managed at the airport. Working in partnership with PDMS we have been able to introduce a system that both our lost property team and our customers have found straight forward to use. In particular, we are pleased with the transparency that this system has provided and the auditable functionality. We look forward to continuing to work with PDMS to make further improvements and enhancements to the system to bring additional benefits to everyone.”
Adding to Fraser’s comments, Giles has been delighted with the results so far: “To see technology used to leverage operational and service benefits is always a pleasure. Working with Fraser and his colleagues has allowed us to focus on real user needs and provided a huge insight into the market. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with the team at Aberdeen International Airport and developing our solution for international and regional airports.”