4 Ways to Be More Transparent During Events at Your Funeral Home
Posted September 19, 2018
5 min read
In our last blog post, we talked about ways you can continuously improve the events your funeral home hosts.
In this post, we dig deeper with Ethan Darby to unfold 4 critical lessons he’s learned while putting on community events.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the top lessons he’s learned so far.
Lesson 1: Be More Open
Families coming to your funeral home don’t know what happens “behind the scenes.” If anything, it can feel secretive to them.
Often times, that’s because funeral professionals have shied away from talking about or even sharing certain aspects of the process.
But take a moment to consider a common scenario as someone navigates through a funeral home: as they walk through, they may see multiple hallways going to the back of the funeral home. Unsure of where all of the hallways lead to, it can almost feel like a maze.
Then they see a separate area where they aren’t supposed to go—but they also don’t have any idea of what goes on in that area. All of the experience can end up feeling mysterious to them.
“There can be good reason for a lot of that, but it can create almost too much mystery,” says Ethan.
It’s not a fit for every funeral director, but re-consider what information you share with families when you put on an event at your firm. More specifically, consider being more transparent about what you do as a funeral director.
“Transparency can lead to trust. I think in the past we really tried to [avoid sharing some of that information.] People do want to know what we’re doing in the background. We can be more transparent about the back room,” says Ethan.
Do you take pride in your prep room? How so and why? That may be a place to start with families. Ethan says at Trigard’s funeral homes, they think of the prep room as a sacred place. “We have a plaque at our prep room door that says this is a sacred place. It’s very, very important we keep it that way.” Being open with families about that, and why it matters, can really change their perception.
It is true that in years past, that might have been taboo, but today, people crave this kind of information and openness. Showing you are open to sharing—rather than keeping information to yourself—will garner trust.
If anything, being transparent also helps to educate families on all the things you do. “People often want to know why the price of the funeral is what it is, and part of that is because there’s a lot of work that goes into it. And they just don’t know that, unless they are told.”
Lesson 2: Be Vulnerable
“With events, you have an opportunity to humanize yourself in your hometown,” says Ethan. Ethan says funeral professionals can forget, but people might be timid or scared or not sure what to think when it comes to funerals, death, and dying. “If they aren’t seeing us as humans, and are nervous around us, it’s an opportunity to shift that perception,” says Ethan.
One of the best ways you can immediately bond with families is to be vulnerable. Get personal and don’t be afraid to share things about your own personal life. Start to show how you are human, too.
Lesson 3: Break the Tension
Sometimes, sharing something personal or light-hearted is just what’s needed to break the tension. You may be thinking about how you’re educating and informing people, but remember often times with events, families are there to think about and talk about death. That’s something most people rarely think about.
The key lesson is to break the ice and give people permission to relax.
Lesson 4: Embrace How You’re the Teacher
Families are coming to your event to hear what you have to say. People do care about the message and the information you are presenting to them. Don’t be so humble that you forget you are a trusted, valued expert. You are the teacher and families are ready to hear what you have to share with them.
“When you tell people the importance of preplanning, it really does click with them. You can get them to sit down, and talk with them, and they are a captive, engaged audience,” adds Ethan.
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