4 Actionable Insights for Funeral Directors from NFDA’s Director of Member Development, Lacy Robinson
Posted March 15, 2016
5 min read
CRäKN spoke with the Director of Member Development for the National Funeral Directors Association, Lacy Robinson, CFSP. The NFDA is the leading provider of training and development for funeral professionals, and Robinson is the lead facilitator for NFDA’s new Arranger Training Program. Read on to discover the 4 key insights Robinson has for funeral practitioners revealed during our conversation.
1. For Funeral Professionals, Authenticity Matters.
Being authentic means to be genuine and completely in touch one’s self, deep beliefs and core values, says Robinson. “I’ve always believed a funeral home is only as good as their team of professionals - which includes licensed, non-licensed, full time and part time employees. For funeral home employees to project authenticity they must believe whole-heartedly in their purpose and commitment to the community they serve.”
Robinson shares that the ability to be authentic results in exceptional customer service skills, helping to improve the overall experience families will have with a funeral home: “Someone who is genuine, sincere and projects a caring positive attitude delivers exceptional customer service to every family each and every day.”
2. Responsiveness Matters… Possibly Now More than Ever.
Millions of consumers experience poor customer service every day. Whether someone is returning a purchase or looking for support over the phone, bad customer service happens, explains Robinson. “This experience results in consumers being skeptical and on edge. Take that, and add the emotions of a loved one’s death, and everything is heightened during the funeral planning process. Being responsive in a timely and effective manner no matter what the request or issue may be is as important as ever.”
Robinson says her advice to any funeral director is to be completely family-focused and approach every arrangement conference with the desire to go above and beyond the basic needs of families. “Perfecting time management skills, investing in training and development, and of course taking care one’s self through adequate rest, exercise and healthy eating will ensure the mental and physical energy is there to meet and exceed the expectations of families.”
3. Funeral Homes Must Focus on Connecting with Women.
The NFDA recently had a webinar that included advice on connecting with women—a segment of consumers that is arguably the world’s “most powerful” in terms of decision-making.
Robinson says that it is no secret that women are the COO of their families: “Women consumers dominate purchases in everything from vacations to healthcare. Women, no matter what stage of life they may be in, live very busy lives. Women wake up with a ‘to do’ list every single day and making sure their family is taken care of is at the top of that list,” she explains. Recognizing they have a lot on their plate and taking steps to simplify the funeral planning process will leave a lasting impression on women consumers.
“It’s also important to show interest in children. Perhaps it’s encouraging parents to bring their children to the visitation/funeral, exploring ideas for children to participate in a ritual or providing helpful grief resources. Whether the primary decision maker is a grandmother, mother or aunt of small children, your interest in those children means a great deal to them.”
4. To Improve Your Ability to Partner with Families, Start with Training.
Ongoing training for funeral practitioners is one of the best ways to help employees be able to communicate and convey the value of the funeral service when they engage with families. Training helps team members see new perspectives, have a greater ability to empathize, and helps them be more customer-centric as they create memorable life tribute events.
NFDA’s new Arranger Training Program is one such training program, created for funeral directors of all experience levels. In particular, it’s a training session for those looking to improve their communication skills with families. “It’s an eight hour customer service workshop that includes techniques for building trust and conveying empathy,” says Robinson. “Attendees will also leave with incredible ideas and resources for designing remembrance events that truly capture the essence of one’s life.”
Because this kind of training combines large group discussion, problem solving and creative collaboration, it’s an example of making a proactive investment - one that is worth the time and energy for firms who want to be more customer-centric. “I look forward to hitting the road in April delivering this high-energy, interactive program,” adds Robinson.
Find more about the upcoming training and various locations at www.nfda.org/arrangertraining.
About Lacy Robinson, CFSP
As Director of Member Development for the National Funeral Directors Association, Lacy Robinson develops and facilitates training programs for NFDA members. She regularly presents continuing education programs on both the local, state and national level establishing NFDA as the leading provider of training and development for funeral professionals.
Prior to NFDA, Robinson served as Director of Professional Development for Aurora Casket Company. She is a licensed funeral director/embalmer, a certified funeral celebrant and certified member of the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice. Robinson is a graduate of Georgetown College holding a bachelor’s degree in Communications. She is also a graduate of Mid-America College of Funeral Service. As an active member of the Bluegrass Toastmasters Group Robinson has achieved the designation Competent Communicator. Robinson also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice and is vice-chairperson of the Mid-America College of Funeral Service Advisory Board.
Find our more about NFDA on their website.
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