The Funeral Director’s Guide to Adopting New Technology

Posted May 15, 2019

8 min read

When you choose a new software for your funeral home, you may start to think ahead about how you’re going to help your employees adapt to the new company technology.

Here’s your guide to doing just that:

Get staff involvement in your decision-making

One of the best ways to avoid push-back and to encourage team members to embrace new technology or processes is to include them in the decision-making process, every step of the way.

Encourage their participation in demos and get their candid feedback to make sure their input is taken into consideration. Often times this even provides an early opportunity to address any resistance to change.

Prep before breaking the news

Now let’s imagine you’ve made the decision to adopt a new tool to help your firm improve everything about your daily operations. You’re excited, and you’re ready to start telling the entire team about the decision to move forward.

Hold back on making your initial announcement until you’ve had time to plan the content you’re sharing, and the format in which you decide to share it with everyone.

After all, sometimes what’s good news for your funeral home may initially be perceived as bad news by others.

It can be easy to send out a quick note through email or to start breaking the news to individuals or small groups on your team; the problem is that people will hear the news at different times, and not everyone will have access to all the same information or details.

That gives room for team members to start spreading the news themselves, which can result in gossip, misinformation, or team members drawing their own conclusions before you have a chance to share the truth, and your rationale behind the change.

That’s why you want to be sure you step back and take the time to plan how you’ll make your announcement. First, you want to inform and share as much information as possible with other leaders in the funeral home so they can share the news alongside you.

Next, come up with a plan on the best way to share the news with everyone. Make sure you practice or go through the answers to common questions you may hear. If you’re the only one that can explain the context, or answer any questions about the new software, you’re not ready to share the news yet!

When you are on the same page with other champions of the new tool, you’ll avoid any kind of office gossip or false assumptions being made. And, you and the other top leaders can answer all the questions you’ll receive in a similar way. This up-front planning will go a long way in building buy-in and fostering trust.

Remember communication starts at the top

The decision to utilize new software or tools in a funeral home isn’t always decided by the funeral home owner(s), but do whatever you can to make sure they are fully on-board.

After they know all of what’s involved in the adoption of new technology, you really need their authentic vocal support, throughout the entire process, from beginning to end.

Team members should clearly hear vision, commitment, and direction from those at the top. For starters, that might include what you are asking them to do; why you are asking them to adopt the software; and an initial idea of how the new tools will impact them if they do or do not accept the change.

If you have multiple funeral home owners, that’s an opportunity for all leaders, at different times, to weigh in on the advantages of the new technology.

Once employees are on-board with the decision, they’ll immediately be asking questions such as, “How am I supposed to do this?” As described, that’s something you can plan for, and from the get-go, you want to be as ready as you can to answer these kind of questions. (CRäKN’s Customer Success team will help you be equipped to answer those kinds of questions throughout the transition.)

Show your commitment first

Not only should funeral home owners and project leaders/transition champions be vocalizing support throughout the entire project, but be sure you’ve dedicated resources to the transition, too.

That might include time, training sessions, or infrastructure changes; don’t be afraid to make all those investments clear to your team, too, so they see just how committed you are. Put simply, your team needs to hear and see just how important this transition is for everyone in your firm.

…And get clear commitments from others next

After leaders and project owners (or champions) have shown clear commitments, you want to set and agree to clear expectations and clear commitments from all other employees. That includes full time and part time workers, who may have different expectations and/or milestones to hit.

Reinforce those expectations and consider formalizing them. That might be in follow-up emails or in another format that’s appropriate for your specific team—or both formats. Doing so solidifies what’s to come and it also helps to hold people (and the team) accountable later.

Create a formal strategy

Once the vision is clear to team members, you want to work together to map out the ideal and anticipated journey ahead of you. With CRäKN, your Customer Success team will work alongside you to make this come to life.

Ideally, there are steps, strategies, and milestones used along the way; you want to be able to hold people accountable in a way that’s fair, but you also want to focus on collective outcomes. All in all, your aim is to create a strategy and roadmap to make sure all team members can stay as aligned as possible to your objectives.

Focus on feedback

Feedback can be from project leaders/champions of the tool and it can be from every individual on the team. Getting that input and honest feedback is one of the most effective ways to involve everyone in change.

First, when possible, gathering input from people is a great way to help you make decisions as you go about adopting the new technology.

Second, ongoing space for feedback is also a great way to see how people are feeling and it’s a quicker way to deal with issues as they inevitably crop up. If people know they are being listened to, they’ll be much more patient and they’ll feel respected in the process.

Don’t fear the resistance

People often fear the unknown or they think they will somehow fail when it comes to using new technology if they don’t’ “get it” at first. Make sure team members feel comfortable expressing concerns or doubts they have as they are trained on the new software or as they start using the tool on their own. While you don’t want to promote gossip or negative talk, you do want to address any issues or challenges along the way! If you expect there to be some push-back and some resistance, you’ll be better prepared for when it happens.

The bottom line: Aim to have healthy discussion of any issues with the software roll-out. That way, you can address complaints or concerns, but you can also keep the culture and outlook positive and optimistic.

Embrace training

Make sure everyone on the team takes training seriously. With CRäKN, for example, often times one person is the CRäKN expert who is then able to train and assist others. This “train the trainer” approach increases the sense of ownership individuals have in learning CRäKN, and it helps facilitate practical and flexible learning.

Some employees may take more time than others with training, and that should be expected. Learning a new software is a personal experience, and each person will learn to use the tool in her own way, and at her own pace. That’s just another reason to use a “train the trainer” approach.

Post-implementation support

After you’ve gone through onboarding and training, the work isn’t over.

Just because the tools or new software has been rolled out successfully doesn’t mean the “change initiative” ends there. Make sure your staff knows about refreshers they can participate in, FAQs, help articles, and other resources they can turn to as they continue to utilize the new tool.

Ideally, the tool you’ve chosen has a Customer Success team that can be reached via live help, phone call, or email with questions when they arise.

Help Your Funeral Home Adopt New Technology

Being customer-driven matters now more than ever. At CRäKN, we recognize that, which is why you have a dedicated Customer Success team that helps you every step of the way in your journey with us.

What’s more: thanks to CRäKN’s productivity tools for your business, you’ll be able to stay on top of each and every detail associated with every arrangement. Learn more and request a demonstration today.

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