August 12, 2014 – Vicki Pero - Insights

Never Lose Customer Keys In Your Valet Operation Again!

 I was at a client site not too long ago when I witnessed an all too familiar scene. A customer returned to retrieve her vehicle, and it was at this point that the cashier determined that an employee from the previous shift had taken her keys home with him. If you’ve spent any time at all working in valet parking operations, you have surely experienced this first hand at least once. Valet operations are fast paced and have a lot of moving parts within them (quite literally!), and in order to prevent customer keys from being misplaced, clear procedures that all employees adhere to are a must.

Follow these steps to effectively secure customer keys and never lose a set of customer keys again:

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  • Require all employees to hook the customer key ring onto a carabineer clip during transport. It is a good idea to keep extra key rings onsite, so that keys that aren’t on a key chain can have one added for this purpose and for attaching the ticket.
  • Employees should be instructed to never place customer keys in pants or coat pockets. This prevents an employee from forgetting about them and taking them home or potentially having them fall out of a pocket into another customer’s vehicle.
  • Set an expectation that after parking a customer’s vehicle, keys must be returned to the key cabinet immediately.
  • Within the cabinet, number the hooks from 01 – 100 (or more in larger operations) and hang them on the hook number that corresponds to the last two or three digits of the ticket number.
  • Always make sure the key cabinet is securely locked when keys are not being added or removed from it.
  • Never store customer keys in the vehicle itself, unless your operation is equipped with key locks.

These suggestions are all rooted in common sense, but almost without exception, when a set of keys goes missing, it’s because one or more of these steps was not followed. Make sure these procedures are in place to avoid losing keys.

Are you interested in more information about valet claims reduction measures? uDrive subscribers have access to tools and templates that can help. These can be found in the Resources for the Parking Manager and Resources for the Parking Operation sections of the site.