Being a funeral director is more than just a job, for many it’s a calling. As a funeral director your number one priority is to serve families in need. This can be especially difficult given that in most cases the family has recently lost someone and are experiencing a whirlwind of emotions. This is when you need to be at your best to ensure they receive a beautiful funeral service.
For this week’s blog, we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips that will benefit new funeral directors and serve as a refresher for experienced ones. In either case, our helpful list of tips will go a long way in helping you provide families with exceptional service.
Educate Your Families
Education is extremely valuable when arranging a funeral. It’s important that you make sure the family understands all of the options available so that they won’t have any regrets later. In many cases, people don’t really have more than a basic understanding of funerals or cremation. Some may not even know your firm offers cremation and think funeral home means only funerals.
One of the ways you can go about educating people is by asking leading questions. Not only will it help you gather information, it will allow you an opening to talk about services you offer and sell them on it. Asking something as simple as “Have you considered a green burial?” could be the difference between an environmentally friendly family choosing a cremation because they thought that was the only green option available.
Communication Is Key
Building off of education, it is important to make sure you communicate clearly with the family. Once you have educated them about different service options, it’s important that they understand the next steps and what is involved with planning a funeral.
Clearly communicating means being transparent with pricing, making sure they understand the process, keeping them in the loop, and being straightforward with them if a mistake is made. As a funeral director, the process of arranging a funeral is nothing new to you. For a family though, this may be the first time they’ve had to plan a funeral. One of the best ways to better serve them is by making sure there are no surprises that make them think less of the experience.
Write Everything Down
This one should be a no brainer, but still needs to be said. By making sure you write everything down, you won’t miss anything. Often times we think we’ll remember something but get busy doing other things and the thought skips are mind. By explaining to the family beforehand that you are taking notes to make sure nothing is missed, you will come off as professional and detailed oriented. This kind of effort will show the family that you care and they have your undivided attention.
Your notes don’t need to be word for word of what was said during the conversation. Just make sure they are detailed and you will be able to review them later and recall everything. If a family mentions anything more than once during the conversation, it’s probably important so make sure you underline that note.
Avoid Being Cookie Cutter
Every family that you serve is different, each with their own unique needs. Unlike in the past, there is no cookie cutter option available anymore. Today’s families want personalization and a mix of traditional and non-traditional elements. This is where making sure they are educated about what you offer will come into play.
By not offering cookie cutter services, you ensure that each family personalizes the service to their loved one. This means you need to make sure you’re up to date with the latest trends and products so that when a family asks, you know what they’re talking about. Even if you can’t meet all of their unique requests, trying to accommodate them and create a personalized service will still resonate with them and leave them with a positive impression.
Offer Unique Service Options
By offering unique service options you can make your funeral home stand out from competitors. Not only that but you give families more options when arranging a service. A family with relatives across the country who can’t attend the service might want the funeral to be webcasted. Not having unique services like this could be the difference between the family working with your funeral home and your competitor across town.
Unique services don’t have to be limited to just funeral services either. Many funeral homes now have liquor licenses to serve drinks at a reception. Some offer photography services to help capture the day. Others even offer therapy dogs to help people cope. Having unique options like these makes your funeral home appealing and different than the cookie cutter traditional ones.
Go Above And Beyond
Going above and beyond means doing the little things that will leave a lasting impression. Offer the family coffee or tea when they first arrive to arrange the service. Walk them to their car when they are leaving. Some firms even offer home visits to make arrangements. Remember, you only get one shot at providing the family with a meaningful goodbye. Doing the little things to go above and beyond go a long way in making sure the family has a perfect experience and is left satisfied afterwards.
Follow Up Afterwards
Making sure that you follow up with families afterwards is critical. By reaching out after some time has passed, it shows that you truly care and the family is more than just another client to you. If you offer aftercare services, you might want to discuss those to see if there is anyway your firm can continue to offer support. Another way to leave a lasting impression is by asking for feedback. By explaining that you like to receive feedback to learn how you could better serve families in the future, it shows you care about your firm and the service you offer. Conducting a survey will help make sure that you always provide a positive experience.
What’s the most helpful piece of advice you have for providing exceptional service? Let us know in the comment section below!