Aug 12, 2019
Mark Twain once famously said, “the most successful people are those who do all year long what they would otherwise do on their summer vacation.” We couldn’t agree more! With the right mindset, and the right tools to help you, summer doesn’t have to be a 90-day window that closes the moment it seems to open. You can hold on to your summer state-of-mind by finding ways to work smarter and create more opportunities for yourself to enjoy summer’s best indulgences.
By now, you may be thinking…Who is writing this? Doesn’t she know I’m a funeral director? I can’t just take off anytime. Death doesn’t take a vacation! Summer…bah humbug!
Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to be a summertime Scrooge any longer. Yes, funeral professionals do have an incredibly unpredictable schedule and are less able to travel or fully disconnect. For that exact reason, it is even more important for directors and embalmers to seek out ways to gain more freedom in their personal lives. Self-care is truly crucial for those that work in the funeral profession due to both the emotional nature of their work and the irregular hours.
Here at ASD, it is our mission to empower funeral directors with tools that allow you to reclaim your free time and conduct business stress-free from anywhere in the world. Did you know that the ASD Mobile app has been accessed in more than 30 different countries? Many of our clients have already discovered how using mobile technology allows them to simplify their tasks and keep a finger on the pulse of the business at all times without sacrificing their freedom.
Don’t let summer pass by without discovering for yourself how ASD’s suite of solutions can set you free!
1. ASD Mobile
In today’s rapid business climate, funeral professionals are pulled in a dozen different directions. While an increasing number of industries have shifted towards automation, funeral service remains deeply invested in tradition and personal service. The stress factors that burdened directors 50 years ago such as an unpredictable schedule and labor-intensive tasks still exist. But today’s funeral professionals face added challenges due to a societal demand for instant information and answers. As a result, directors are forced to stretch themselves even further than in the past.
ASD Mobile was created out of our company’s desire to give funeral professionals freedom at their fingertips, allowing them to streamline their operations. Winner of multiple NFDA Innovation Awards, ASD Mobile helps thousands of funeral directors every day to monitor telephone communication and conduct business from anywhere. In 2018, more than 20,600 funeral professionals utilized ASD Mobile. Every call answered by ASD is categorized on the app. Clients have instant access to their messages with just a quick tap. You can listen, read and respond to messages, change your on-call preferences, update service information, handle online chats from your website and more, all from the palm of your hand!
ASD Mobile was designed to be a communication portal for funeral home teams. The app has been updated numerous times with added features and tools since it was first introduced in 2011. Despite the high number of users, many of our clients do not realize there are hundred different solutions within the ASD Mobile app that can be used every day to conduct business on the go and streamline processes.
How can ASD Mobile help you gain freedom?
Monitor telephone activity handled by your on-call staff from any location
- No more calling around to check up things – you’ll always have an aerial perspective of your funeral business, whether you’re 10 or 10,000 miles away.
Send ASD service information to relay to your callers with ease
- Reduce the number of calls you have to return by ensuring ASD has the most up-to-date information on your current services to assist callers on your behalf
Update your on-call information and on-call preferences on-the-go
- Need to update your schedule or ensure you won’t be disturbed? You can use our app to adjust how, when and why ASD contacts you in just a few seconds
Share message details, including call recordings, with any contact in seconds
- Stop pulling over to the side of the road to write stuff down. Forget post it notes, rolodexes and long voicemails you need to transcribe. With ASD Mobile, you and your staff can easily share information with one another and other contacts effortlessly.
Communicate with on-call staff using message notes
- Keep everyone on the same page about your current cases using the app’s handing message notes section.
Create and share First Call forms for every First Call handled by ASD
- Generate a First Call form, which can be shared or printed from the app, that includes all of the details gathered on First Calls handled by ASD.
Connect seamlessly into urgent web chats from your funeral home website
- If you’re hesitant to add a Web Chat button to your website because you think you’ll have to keep a constant eye on it, have no fear. ASD can monitor your funeral home’s web chats on your behalf, alerting you only when an urgent need is communicated, and you can use our app to seamlessly connect into urgent chats in progress from anywhere!
Search through your call history to locate message details, phone numbers or other data
- Forget searching through file cabinets and old website data systems. You can easily locate any data from any call handled by ASD using our app’s handy Deep Archive Search feature.
2. MobileFH™ & MobileFH™ Texting
You would expect that giving out your cell phone number would resolve communication problems, not create them, but for funeral directors this just isn’t the case. Caller ID, as helpful as it is, can also cause a lot of headaches and make it difficult for funeral professionals to keep their personal number private. In the past, this was unavoidable – families would naturally reference the phone number they saw on their Caller ID even when that director was no longer on duty. As a result, callers with time-sensitive needs would often have issues reaching the funeral home while funeral directors had no option for separating their personal and professional lives.
Fortunately, a better solution now exists that enables directors to call any number from their cell phone using the funeral home number as the outgoing Caller ID. ASD introduced this feature, known as MobileFH™ in 2015 and it has since been awarded an official patent from the U.S. Patent office and the NFDA Innovation Award. With MobileFH™, families will only see the funeral home’s phone number on their Caller ID, ensuring they always call back the correct person. Directors can enjoy their time off without worrying about missing important calls instead of trying to assist the caller from a distracting environment.
This year, ASD expanded this feature to create MobileFH™ Texting – the first and only text message solution that helps facilitate mobile communications for on-call funeral directors. MobileFH™ Texting allows ASD clients to send and receive text messages using the funeral home’s main business number as the sending number. This revolutionary feature empowers multiple on-call directors and funeral home staff to seamlessly collaborate with messages, documents or photos that are sent or received via text message. MobileFH™ Texting greatly alleviates staff burnout by ensuring directors don’t have to respond to messages on their day off.
How can MobileFH™ and MobileFH™ Texting help you gain freedom?
Communicate with families from your cell phone without sacrificing your privacy
- What could be more freeing that throwing out that dreaded second cell phone?
Recharge on your days off without being interrupted or worrying about missing anything important.
- Because a day off isn’t really a day off if you are responding to funeral-related calls and text messages.
Gain peace of mind knowing families are being taken care of
- It’s hard to relax when you’re worried you might miss an important call or text from a family. MobileFH™ and MobileFH™ Texting ensure these important, time-sensitive communications are always sent directly to your funeral home or on-call staff.
3. First Call Alert™ & First Call Connect™
Many funeral professionals are deeply invested in remaining the first point of contact for at-need families. It’s an admirable goal, but one that’s difficult to achieve when solicitors and genealogy requests are tying up phone lines at all hours of the day, making it increasingly difficult for on-call funeral directors to remain responsive to families without going crazy trying to answer every single phone call. Spending an exorbitant amount of time screening out non-urgent calls is all but guaranteed to lead to staff burnout.
ASD’s patented First Call Connect™ is a much-needed solution for this age-old problem. When a First Call is reported to ASD, the moment our Call Specialist recognizes that someone has passed, he or she will open up a special form to gather more information. This triggers a First Call Alert™ that is sent out to the on-call director, notifying him or her of a “death call in progress.” The director on-call may then activate First Call Connect™ by tapping the number sent to their cellphone phone and selecting among these options: press 3 to enter the call immediately, press 1 to listen to the call in a stealth muted mode or press 0 to speak with the call specialist prior to joining the call. This range of options gives directors the ability to decide how to handle a First Call based upon the situation at hand.
How can First Call Alert™ & First Call Connect™ help you gain freedom?
Speak directly to the families at first opportunity without having to answer every call yourself
- Aren’t you tired of picking up your phone and not knowing if it is going to be a grieving family member on the line or someone calling about your Google business listing?
Receive a heads up notification of a new first call, allowing you to excuse yourself from a crowded room or pull over to the side of the road
- A few extra moments of preparation empowers you to make the best possible first impression on the call
Get a sense of the caller’s emotional state
- Listen to caller’s live conversation with ASD to get the full context of why they are calling before connecting into the call
Unless you’re taking a keyboarding class, there is no good reason for you or anyone employed by your funeral home to retype something that has already been typed. In addition to being a waste of time, money and resources, duplicate data entry is also a liability as it increases the chances of errors.
With ASD’s FuneralSync™, you can integrate your funeral home’s website with our system, ensuring we always have your current service information. This program also allows you to connect your funeral home software to ASD’s systems. With this integration in place, every time ASD handles a new First Call for your funeral home, information on the deceased person will be automatically pushed to your funeral home’s case management system.
How can FuneralSync™ help you gain freedom?
Eliminates duplicate data entry
- Rather than having to log into various databases and copy/paste information into multiple fields, the data is automatically synced without any effort.
Ensures ASD always has the most up-to-date information on your current services
- Syncing your website to ASD ensures we can assist those who contact your funeral home with questions about services, ensuring you have fewer calls to return
Get a head start on your First Call case files
- Integrating your management system with ASD allows you to automatically copy over any data gathered on a First Call to your funeral home case manager software.
Click here to view a list of ASD’s FuneralSync Technology partners
5. Ultra Call Forwarding
After a long day, it is easy to forget something on your way out of the office. Whether we leave behind a sweater or forget to turn off a light switch, the consequence is usually minor. For funeral directors that forget to forward their phone lines before leaving the office, the resulting outcome can be much more serious. The hassle of having to drive all the way back to the office, coupled with the anxiety of knowing an urgent call could come in at any time, is a steep price to pay for such a small oversight. If this has happened to you, it’s time to contact your local phone company and ask them to enable Ultra Call Forwarding for your line. Simply provide them with your ASD call forwarding number and let them know you want to be able to forward your phone lines from anywhere.
How can Ultra Call Forwarding help you gain freedom?
Transfer your funeral home’s phone lines remotely from any location
- No more running back to the office just to divert your calls
Gain added flexibility to conduct business on the go
- If the funeral home schedule changes unexpectedly, you can easily activate or deactivate your call forwarding from anywhere
6. Detailed On-Call Schedule
As much as you love talking to your answering service (and we love talking to you too!), at the end of the day there is too much on your plate to have to worry about making another phone call. Send ASD your daily on-call information in seconds via our website or mobile app anytime, day or night. You can also set up a repeating weekly or monthly on-call schedule so you never have to question if we have the correct on-call list. This only takes a few minutes and can save you from making hundreds of phone calls throughout the year to relay ASD your on-call information. We also provide a Calendar feature so you can view your on-call schedule as a weekly or monthly calendar anytime and confirm contact instructions are set correctly. For funeral homes with fairly consistent on-call rotation, ASD also provides a default on-call schedule, allowing you to strike this task from your to-do list permanently.
How can setting an on-call schedule help you gain freedom?
Ensure your changing on-call information is updated automatically
- Set it and forget it with our easy on-call scheduling tools and you’ll never have to question if ASD has the most up-to-date information.
Reduce the number of phone calls you have to make
- Forget wasting precious time at the end of every day to call and change your on-call details
7. Helpers Tool
Our favorite calls to handled here at ASD are the ones where we are able to assist the caller with every question they have, whether it be about an upcoming service, recommended florist or a local establishment, without the person ever knowing we’re not sitting inside the funeral home. It’s a win-win-win: the caller finds out what they need to know, ASD Call Specialists gain satisfaction knowing they represented the funeral home well, and best of all, the on-call director has one less phone call to return. This is all made possible through ASD’s Helpers feature which allows you to expand ASD’s local knowledge of your funeral home. In addition to providing ongoing service details, your funeral home can also use this feature to quickly send ASD information on local establishments and details about common callers. The more information you provide us with, the better equipped our Call Specialists are to answer questions and represent your funeral home.
How can ASD’s Helpers tool help you gain freedom?
Gain Peace of mind knowing your callers are being assisted without delay
- Not only will your callers not have to wait for a call back, but they will appreciate being helped by someone with local knowledge of your area
Eliminate time wasted returning phone calls
- No more excusing yourself from the dinner table to call someone back to give them a cemetery address.
8. Bluetooth Call Play Back
One unavoidable aspect of working in the funeral profession is you must often spend a great deal of time behind the wheel of a vehicle. Rather than viewing this as wasted time, as it often was in the past, funeral directors today are discovering how Bluetooth technology makes it easier than ever to safely conduct business while driving. This can free up a lot of time because directors are able to accomplish things while driving they normally could only do while in the office. One of these tasks includes monitoring the funeral home’s telephone activity. Since ASD Mobile is fully compatible with Bluetooth devices, funeral directors are able to listen and evaluate to their call recordings while on the road.
How can Bluetooth Call Playback help you gain freedom?
Safely and conveniently review your call activity hands-free
- Play call recordings using wireless headphones, a headset or CarPlay
Save time by reviewing your telephone communications while driving
- Use those long drives as an opportunity to check tasks off your to-do lists
9. Vacation Forms
For many funeral directors, planning a vacation requires a lot of coordination. In some cases, a simple schedule change to the on-call rotation will suffice. However, other funeral homes contract out freelance funeral directors or partner with other funeral homes to cover them during their absence. Determining in advance how calls should be screened and dispatched during this period is crucial to ensuring no miscommunication occurs. ASD makes this update easy for our clients by providing a simple Vacation Form that can be downloaded from our website or sent via email. Directors can use the form to relay specific instructions that must be followed while they are away on vacation.
How can ASD’s Vacation forms help you gain freedom?
Relaying specific on-call instructions ensures everything will run smoothly in your absence
- Don’t spend your vacation trying to assign calls or coordinate removals
Enjoy your time off knowing your calls are being handled as instructed
- Because nothing is more liberating than a stress-free vacation
10. Redispatch feature
If there is one aspect of funeral service all funeral professionals can relate to it is the unpredictability of a night on-call. There is no way to know if your phone is going to be silent all night or ring incessantly. This is why funeral colleagues must share the burden and assist one another by providing backup support. Have you ever received an urgent message while you were on call that was meant for a different funeral director? In the past, this would require an additional phone call on your part – either to contact the other staff member yourself and relay the message or to call ASD and instruct us to contact a different employee. Now, you can let us know to call another director with a message with one quick tap on ASD Mobile. When the message is displayed on the app, you will see an option that says ‘Re-Dispatch’ at the bottom beneath the message details. Tap on ‘Redispatch‘ and you will be prompted to select one of your funeral home’s employees from a drop down menu. ASD will then Re-Dispatch the message to the employee you select.
How can ASD’s Redispatch feature help you gain freedom?
Makes it simpler for on-call teams to share duties
- …and a shared burden is always lighter
Provides added flexibility to remain on-call without having to respond to every message yourself.
- Fewer on-call headaches and phone calls to make when you are bone tired.
As a funeral professional, you sacrifice a lot to remain available to your families when they need you. Our mission at ASD is to make this as easy for you and your team as possible. Using an answering service isn’t about losing control – it’s about gaining added peace of mind and support during those times when you really need it. With mobile solutions that help you conduct business from anywhere and tools that allow you to streamline or eliminate tasks, a relaxing summer doesn’t have to be a distant dream anymore. Let ASD help you discover how having flexibility for your life and protection for your calls can set you free!
If you’re an ASD client and want to learn more about how you can gain more freedom using our customizable solutions, call 800-868-9950 ext. 2 to speak with one of our supervisors. You can make account updates or request a feature tutorial 24 hours a day.
If your funeral home is not currently using ASD and you would like to learn more about our award-winning answering service solutions, we offer a 30 Day Free Trial. Let us answer your phones for ABSOLUTELY NO COST during our trial period to prove to you how having flexibility for your life and protection for your calls can set you free! To learn more, contact our National Sales Manager, Craig Meehan, at 800-868-9950 or email Craig@myASD.com.
About The Author
Jess Farren (Fowler)
Jess Farren (Fowler) is a Public Relations Specialist and Staff Writer who has been a part of the ASD team since 2003. Jess manages ASD’s company blog and has been published in several funeral trade magazines. She has written articles on a variety of subjects including communication, business planning, technology, marketing and funeral trends. You can contact Jess directly at Jess@myASD.com