14 Funeral Home Success Stories that Demonstrate ASD’s Customizable Systems
Feb 02, 2016
Every funeral home has a unique history, business culture and relationship with the public. Since no two funeral homes are exactly alike, it is not possible for a funeral vendor to effectively serve such a diverse group without offering customizable options. Directors require complete control over how their businesses are represented to separate their firm from competitors and uphold their funeral home’s traditions.
Knowing that funeral homes operate differently, ASD has designed our system with hundreds of adjustable settings. Every ASD client has a designated account with their firm’s unique preferences, instructions and special notations mapped out clearly for our Call Specialists. In addition to learning how to speak with funeral home callers, a large portion of our 6-month training program is dedicated to identifying and understanding these important account nuances.
All calls answered by ASD are recorded and made available to our clients in a secure mailbox, online, and through ASD Mobile. Directors may contact a Supervisor 24/7 to make any adjustments to how calls are handled. ASD’s dedicated Client Solutions department proactively reaches out to funeral directors to gather feedback and tweak account settings to provide the desired service. At ASD, we don’t need to rely solely on human memory to differentiate your funeral home from others. Our advanced software allows us to equip our employees with information and tools to meet the individual needs of every funeral home we serve.
Here are 14 case studies that illustrate the versatility of ASD’s Custom-Built Programs
1. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral director living in a small suburban town needs help with after hours phone calls. He prefers to be the first point of contact for families, but has missed several at-need calls by diverting the phone line to his cell phone. How can this director continue to offer families a personal touch without risking a lost business opportunity?
The funeral home’s account is designated so that pricing and pre-need calls are immediately patched to the on-call, ensuring families won’t hang up and call a different funeral home. The moment ASD begins to gather First Call information, the director receives a First Call Alert® and can actually connect into the call using our patented First Call Connect® feature, just as if they were picking up a second line at the funeral home. Custom notes about community establishments, frequent callers and recommended florists are included on this account, allowing ASD Call Specialists to provide local information to the public.
2. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home and cemetery are owned and operated by the same family. Both businesses have the same employees, but their calls must be handled differently. The director is worried their business might need two separate answering services to avoid confusion, but doesn’t want to work with two different companies.
ASD uses a special account customization that our Call Specialists are trained to recognize as a funeral home and cemetery combination. We issue a single account number, password and call forwarding number, providing the funeral home and cemetery staff with a user-friendly experience. However, all messages are indexed, labeled and screened as either a funeral home or a cemetery call, making it simple for the office to assign ownership. Specific preferences for handling funeral home calls and cemetery calls are clearly defined on the account.
3. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home is trying to enhance its business model and grow market share. During slower periods, the funeral home operates smoothly but when busier, the small staff feels overwhelmed. The owner needs a service that can accommodate the growing funeral home’s changing needs.
With ASD, this director would have the freedom to customize their account’s contact preferences at anytime and control the type of messages that are dispatched to the on-call staff. During busier times, the funeral home can use a more restrictive check out option so that they are only contacted for First Calls or time-sensitive issues. In addition to ASD effectively screening calls, this funeral home would also benefit from syncing their website with ASD to eliminate the need for duplicate data entry. Using FuneralSync ensures ASD has the most accurate service information to assist callers, allowing funeral home staff to focus on more important tasks.
4. THE PROBLEM:
A well-established funeral home begins to lose business to a new low-cost competitor. The owner believes in selling value over price but recognizes they must place a stronger emphasis on capturing preneed and pricing calls. While some of their staff is highly skilled at handling pricing and preneed inquires, other directors are not as comfortable handling these sensitive conversations. How can the funeral home be certain the right person is always notified of these critical calls?
With ASD’s flexible programs, this funeral home would have the ability to designate a preferred on-call person for pre-need and pricing calls. When a prearrangement question is asked, ASD can directly transfer the call to the funeral home’s designated pre-need counselor. Patching these calls allows the counselor to answer pre-need questions when families are in the right frame of mind to discuss end-of-life decisions. This ensures preneed callers will always speak to the right person and eliminates the risk of the family being unreachable or not in the mood for the discussion at a later point in time. Calls that are patched are also recorded, allowing funeral home managers to review how their staff handles challenging preneed and pricing inquiries. Report tracking can also be added to the account so that the funeral home staff can organize incoming messages into pre-need, at-need and pricing categories online or on ASD Mobile. This tool makes it simple for preneed specialists to easily monitor and follow up on these important calls.
5. THE PROBLEM:
A family-owned funeral home has three generations of directors working together. The younger directors want to use technology as often as possible to increase efficiency and service. The older staff is more comfortable with traditional methods that have served the funeral home well for many years. Both recognize the need for synchronized communication throughout the office but do not want to compromise their preferred business methods.
Understanding that funeral homes require a range of communication options, ASD can offer this firm a suite of solutions to meet the needs of each director. Directors who prefer using technology to conduct business can use ASD’s mobile app and website to access and respond to their messages, send service details, update the on call and more. Directors who prefer to speak with a person can perform the same tasks by simply calling ASD 24/7 or utilizing ASD’s user-friendly voicemail system. There is no need for employees to be limited by their preferences as ASD can offer a workable solution for everyone. Click here to learn more about how we serve multi-generational funeral homes.
6. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home is located in a small, farming community where everyone knows one another. The director has been answering the phones 24/7 for years now and needs a break. However, the staff is concerned it may take an answering service a long time to get to know their community. They want their frequent callers to be treated personably and need their in-house florist to handle all flower calls. They also want to make sure the service can screen after-hours calls effectively and recognize which messages are truly urgent.
ASD can personalize any account with important notations, instructions and procedures. This funeral home would likely want to take advantage of ASD’s Common Callers tool, which enables clients to create a list of people who contact the funeral home on a routine basis. The director can also provide instructions on how to handle these recurring calls. When a caller inquires about a florist recommendation, ASD will offer details on the funeral home’s in-house florist, including hours of operation, website, phone number or any other specific instructions. Our Call Specialists are trained to understand when a situation falls outside of the norm and constitutes an emergency. If, for instance, the funeral home was notified their cows were on the loose, ASD’s staff would recognize this as an urgent message and notify the director without delay.
7. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral director living in a diverse area is working with an answering service. The operators are working with all types of businesses. The funeral home also receives occasional calls from Spanish-speaking families, but the answering service does not have bilingual operators to communicate with these families. As a result of the answering service’s lack of funeral expertise and inability to help Spanish families, the funeral home has lost several business opportunities.
Since ASD works solely with the funeral profession, our operators are never distracted from the needs of directors. This refined expertise ensures that our knowledge base will not become diluted and gives directors peace of mind when trusting us with their calls. Over the past decade, ASD has worked diligently to attract and retain bilingual employees. Our Spanish-speaking team has grown to more than 25 employees. When a person calls and begins speaking Spanish, they will immediately be transferred to one of our bilingual Call Specialists who will take their message and relay it to the on-call person. With the expansion our bilingual team, ASD clients can protect calls from Spanish families while working with a company that caters to the specific needs of funeral professionals.
8. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home owner with many on-call employees is upset when his answering service loses him a call by not dispatching the message to the right director. The owner needs to find a new service that can ensure his on-call schedule is followed properly. The funeral home uses a repeating weekly on-call schedule and wants the same employee to always be contacted during specific times to avoid any delays when a First Call is reported.
ASD has developed a feature that can store the funeral home’s repeating schedule information in our company’s system. This ensures that the changing on-call information is updated automatically and the funeral home owner never has to worry about instructions being followed correctly. ASD can also provide this funeral home with additional options if needed, allowing the owner to designate both an on-call director and a removal service during certain times of day and have the schedule automatically update based on the type of call and time of day.
9. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral director wants to take a rare break from work to spend time with family during the holidays. However, he can never seem to truly escape from the demands of the funeral home because he is often contacted on his cell phone with business related matters. The director wants to be able to stay connected to what is going on at the funeral home without spending his entire vacation on the phone or computer.
With ASD’s patent-pending MobileFH® feature, the director can display the funeral home’s main office line when making calls from his cell phone. This ensures that he will not be disturbed by business-related calls while on vacation. The director can use the ASD Mobile app to monitor his on-call employees while away and set up alerts such as the First Call Report to ensure he is made aware when a new First Call is reported. These features make it possible for directors to keep a finger on the pulse of their operation without sacrificing hard-earned personal time.
10. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home with a small but dedicated staff discovers that they have missed several important calls during the day. Because of the firm’s fluctuating schedule, it is often difficult to predict when the staff may be too preoccupied with other tasks to answer their phone line. How can this funeral home owner ensure calls are answered promptly without having to add more employees to the payroll?
The funeral home owner can adjust their call forwarding settings to ensure that the phone lines are automatically diverted to ASD when a call is not answered by the funeral home after a predetermined number of rings. This would provide the funeral home staff with added flexibility, allowing them to handle the calls when available while protecting the calls they unable to answer. ASD can also create a special on-call schedule to ensure that urgent messages taken during business hours are dispatched to the funeral home’s non-listed office number. This solution ensures the office will always have a second layer of support, giving the entire staff more peace of mind.
11. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home has recently invested a great deal in creating a new website. The site is designed to provide as much information as possible on the funeral home’s facilities, service options and prices. The funeral home owner wants to offer families in the area a responsive website, but the staff have missed several urgent emails sent from website visitors who are hesitant to call the funeral home directly. How can this funeral home ensure they are able to quickly connect with families in need who are visiting their website?
With ASD’s Web Chat feature, the funeral home’s website visitors will see a Web Chat button on the funeral home’s site. They will be able to easily communicate their needs to an ASD Call Specialist who can provide information or take a detailed message for the funeral home. If the Web Chat is regarding an urgent matter, the on-call director can be instantly alerted that there is an urgent Web Chat in progress via ASD’s Web Chat Alert™ feature. The director can then access ASD’s mobile app or website to instantly join the chat in progress via our Web Chat Connect™ feature. These interactive features allow directors to answer questions from website visitors in real-time while ensuring they are only notified for the types of web chats they deem urgent.
12. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral director is working on-call through the weekend. During the day, he prefers to check messages at his convenience and receive text alerts for First Calls. However, the director is concerned that he might not hear his text message tone while sleeping and miss an important message. How can this director ensure he is only called with urgent messages after a certain time every night?
With the ASD Mobile app, this director can control what time of night he is notified with a phone call and what time of day he is notified via push notification. This one-time setting change will ensure the director is not bothered by a ringing telephone while he is awake, but will be alerted with a call if an urgent or at-need message is handled overnight.
13. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home owner wants to help his team improve their telephone etiquette. He needs his on-call employees to be able to sell the value their funeral home over the phone during price shopper calls. The owner requires a method for monitoring his employees’ after-hour calls and his staff is hoping to improve their communication skills. How can this owner provide effective call training to his staff without any major expenditure?
When ASD receives a pricing call, the on-call director can be automatically connected to the call in progress. The director’s entire conversation with the caller will then be recorded by ASD and made available to the owner through the ASD Mobile app, website and voicemail system. On-call directors can also use ASD’s MobileFH® feature when contacting families to ensure the call is recorded. When reviewing staff performance, the funeral home owner can utilize ASD’s Deep Archive feature to locate specific messages and narrow their search to pricing inquiries. This gives the owner a handy tool for quickly evaluating calls while helping the staff to better respond to questions from families in need.
14. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home owner is starting to feel overwhelmed and burned out from answering after hour calls on his cell phone. He wants to start using an answering service to have more time to spend with his family. However, he has heard generic answering services on the phone when calling his colleagues and is reluctant to try one. As a funeral director living in a small town, he does not want the answering service to ask for his callers’ area code or to ask too many questions during first calls. He is concerned that all answering services handle calls the same way. How can this director find peace of mind forwarding his lines to a service?
ASD’s custom-built systems allow funeral directors to tailor their account based on how they need their funeral home to be represented on the phone. Clients can decide whether or not ASD asks for an area code, control what information should be obtained when a death is reported and specify what phrases should be used during calls. This is just scratching the surface of the many different ways ASD clients can customize their accounts to ensure calls are answered in a manner that reflects the funeral home’s own standards.
Has ASD ever created a custom solution for your funeral home's account? Leave us a comment and share your Success Story with us. Be sure to follow us on Facebook to read a different "Funeral Home Success Story" every week.
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