4 Tips to Optimize Your Funeral Home’s Communication
Posted October 4, 2017
5 min read
The role of a funeral director’s phone may often be minimized, but it can play a major part in shaping a family’s opinion of a funeral home.
That’s why we sat down with Kevin Czachor, Vice President and owner of ASD – Answering Service for Directors to talk about a few often overlooked tips that can help make life simpler for directors—while also improving your communication with families.
As a strategic partner of CRäKN, ASD – Answering Service for Directors is the only answering service exclusively dedicated to serving funeral professionals. ASD has been helping funeral homes manage their calls (and their lives) since 1972.
1. Don’t try to be a 24/7 superhero.
We don’t have to tell you that one of the most difficult aspects of working as a funeral director is having your sleep interrupted on a continual basis. While there may not be a solution to completely avoid this, you can lessen the burden by having your calls screened overnight by a 24/7 answering service, says Czachor.
“This ensures that when your phone rings at 3 AM, you will always know it is related to something that is truly urgent.”
Creating specific sound alerts is another way to help you get sleep—but to also ensure you don’t sleep through a First Call. Set your phone to change ringtones after a certain time of night, or use your answering service app to designate specific sound alerts for specific types of calls. “And, keep your phone in a place where it can charge overnight while remaining within reach,” adds Czachor.
2. Avoid doing it alone.
Beyond being a heavy sleeper, there are a myriad of different reasons why a funeral director might miss an urgent call overnight, says Czachor. “They may be on the phone with another family or in transit responding to an earlier call. They could forget to plug in their charger, causing their phone to run out of battery in the night, for example.”
To protect against these scenarios, funeral homes should always have a primary person and a backup person on-call during the evenings. This ensures there are no unnecessary delays in responding to calls, says Czachor. “Death is unpredictable: you may have three nights in a row with no first calls and then have four reported in a single night. Having a designated back up on-call person to help when necessary will provide extra peace of mind to on-call employees, funeral home owners and families alike.”
3. Start keeping track of all your calls (if you aren’t already).
While not every person who contacts a funeral home needs to arrange a service, it is likely that they may need to at some point in their lives, and their conversation with you can leave a lasting positive or negative impression. “A funeral home’s reputation is on the line every time their phone rings,” says Czachor.
If you have call tracking statistics available to inform decisions, you’ll be equipped to know the number of calls you are getting related to pricing, cremation, and other shopping-related questions. In turn, you can know more about the state of your business, what families are looking for, and you can become better equipped for all those types of calls.
“As this upsurge [of families calling for various information] continues, funeral home owners must safeguard new business opportunities in order to maintain a competitive edge over other firms,” explains Czachor.
Today’s culture of instant results coupled with an increase in price-based funeral selection has led many consumers to base their funeral decisions on a single phone call; and, while that may not always be the case, keeping track of your phone calls can at least help you be better prepared for every single call.
“Funeral homes that fail to account for the potential worth of these critical calls are sacrificing the opportunity to create a new relationship with that family.”
4. Take advantage of call forwarding.
Even if you reside at the funeral home or you staff your office 24/7, you still may end up missing that critical call if you haven’t taken the proper steps to safeguard your phone lines.
For that very reason, and to be more mobile, many funeral professionals have now explored different call forwarding solutions. “Available through the local phone company, call forwarding allows you to divert your phone line to a different number,” explains Czachor. There are several different call forwarding options, but one option every funeral home should enable is No Answer Call Forwarding.
With No Answer Call Forwarding, the phone will ring at the funeral home for a preset number of rings; if no one at the funeral home picks up the line, the call will forward to a number you select. “You can choose to forward calls to your cell phone, another funeral home employee or to your answering service. No Answer Call Forwarding empowers funeral professionals to speak directly to families as often as possible without risking a lost call,” says Czachor.
Many funeral homes enable No Answer Call Forwarding 24/7 so that if an emergency or unforeseeable event occurs, they never have to worry about their phones being left unanswered. “For instance, the devastating hurricanes we’ve seen this year have caused widespread power outages. Call Forwarding ensures that if events like this happen, funeral homes won’t lose communication with their community,” says Czachor.
Have more questions about funeral home communication? Czachor will be speaking at the 2017 NFDA Convention in Boston, Massachusetts on October 31, 2017.
Manage Everything About Your Families—From Anywhere
CRäKN is a tool that simplifies how you manage all your day-to-day activities. With our new partnership and integration with ASD – Answering Service for Directors, it’s never been easier—every step of the way—to collect, track, and fully leverage all data on your families.
Did a new family call your funeral home? All the information ASD has collected for you is also available in real-time in CRäKN. Did a family member call with questions about the service? ASD has access to all the information in CRäKN so they can easily answer questions. Click here to request a demo today.
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