17 MORE Funeral Home Success Stories That Underline the Benefits of Answering Service Customization
Sep 27, 2016
When it comes to utilizing technology at your funeral home, you may have noticed that many companies have adopted a “one-size-fits-all” approach to business, expecting their customers to adapt to changes rather than building responsive systems. This is certainly an easier path for companies to take because it does not require them to build their own technical solutions in house. However, when it comes to the funeral profession, a community that is completely distinct from other industry-driven businesses, customization is absolutely crucial. 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 technology vendor to effectively serve such a diverse group without offering flexible solutions.
Funeral homes must differentiate their firm from others in order to survive, and one of the ways directors can do this is by maintaining control over their firm’s telephone communications. Understanding 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.
Earlier this year, we shared a list of funeral home success stories that demonstrate ASD’s customizable systems. These examples highlighted how our company’s advanced software allows us to equip our employees with information and tools to meet the individual needs of every funeral home we serve. To further exhibit the versatility of our systems, we’ve compiled a second list of success stories to further highlight the benefits of answering service customization.
Here are 14 MORE Case Studies that illustrate the flexibility of ASD’s custom-built programs
1. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home owner is enjoying a rare vacation from the business. However, he knows that a death in the community is pending. Even though he is not on-call and is not responsible for handling new first calls, he wants to be able to stay connected to what is happening back home.
This funeral home owner would benefit from enabling ASD’s First Call Report. This contact setting notifies the owner or manager via text, email or push notification when a First Call is handled for the funeral home, even when others are on-call. After the on-call person receives a First Call, ASD would send the complete details and a recording of the call to the owner. The First Call Report® displays each step taken to reach the on-call staff and keeps clients on top of all business opportunities from any location.
2. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home is located in a small town and for years they have had staff answer phones in the funeral home over night and on the weekends. The funeral home owner has recently decided to start using an answering service to eliminate missed calls and staffing costs. However, she is concerned that the answering service will push for too much information when a first call is reported and wants to ensure these calls are handled exactly as her staff would handle them.
With ASD, this director could maintain complete control over what information should be gathered and what questions should be asked when a death is reported. She would have the ability to customize her preferences so that different information is obtained depending on who reports the death. For instance, if a family member calls about a recent passing, the director may prefer for ASD to gather just the basic details. However, if a facility contacts the funeral home with a new first call, the director can instruct ASD to gather more specific information. By giving directors complete control over how their First Calls are answered, ASD can act as an extension of the funeral home’s staff.
3. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home owner wants to achieve organic growth and increase market share. As part of his efforts, he wants to be able to track how many pricing and preneed inquiries result in new business for the funeral home. In addition to tracking calls received during business hours, he also needs to keep a thorough log of pricing and preneed calls handled by his answering service.
With ASD’s new Deep Archive Search Tool, this director can review all of the pricing, preneed and at-need calls handled by ASD. When ASD handles one of these calls, our Call Specialist know to label the message appropriately. The funeral home owner can use the Deep Archive Search Tool (available on myASD.com and ASD Mobile) to see all of the funeral home’s messages categorized. Preneed, Pricing and at-need calls can be reviewed with ease. The Message Archive Search Tool also allows ASD clients to set a specific date range when searching through their messages, making it simple for funeral home owners to measure their close rate.
4. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home has several directors who share on-call duties after hours. When a new message is received, communication issues will often arise when deciding who is responsible for responding to the call. If a death is reported and the first person on-call is not the director who set up arrangements with the family, the funeral home owner wants to ensure the family can talk to the director they know personally. How can this funeral home ensure their on-call schedule remains flexible while accommodating callers who are requesting a specific director?
ASD provides a ‘Reach Person Requested’ setting that can be added to any funeral home’s account. This ensures that if a caller asks to speak to a specific person at the funeral home, the Call Specialist will recognize that it is okay to deviate from the normal on-call schedule and contact the director requested. ASD’s ‘Reach Person Requested’ setting helps families by ensuring they can always speak with the director with whom they already have built a rapport. This allows the directors to cultivate the relationships they have worked hard to build. This feature is specifically beneficial for funeral homes located in smaller towns and communities where residents and directors are on a first-name basis.
5. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral director is always on the go and does not have a lot of free time during the day. He wants to ensure his answering service is following his instructions and needs to communicate his feedback to them in the most efficient way possible. How can this director remain in contact with his answering service without spending what little free time he has on multiple customer service calls?
ASD’s CareTracker™ feature offers a simple and convenient solution to this problem. Clients can easily leave a compliment, concern or comment on any call in just a few quick taps. This helpful tool can be accessed from within both the ASD Mobile app and myASD.com. While clients can always call an ASD Supervisor 24/7, CareTracker™ was created so directors have a second option for sending ASD feedback without having to make a call. Comments and concerns that are sent via CareTracker™ are then copied immediately to an ASD Superviser who will carefully review the call. The Supervisor will then reach out to the director to let him know what actions were taken in response to his comment. This streamlines the customer service process while allowing directors to instantly communicate their feedback to ASD with very little effort. Additionally, clients can access their CareTracker™ comments online to track the status of any reported issues.
6. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home owner recently made a significant investment in a new website. Although the director is very satisfied with the look and responsiveness of her website, she has noticed that several potential business opportunities have been overlooked. When website visitors fill out the 'Contact Us' form on their website, it is often several days before her staff notices the inquiry. She needs a simple solution to help her staff to quickly follow up on potential leads from their website.
With ASD’s Web Form feature enabled, the ASD Mobile app can alert the on-call director the moment a new form is submitted through the funeral home’s website. If the director does not respond within a predetermined time, ASD can then follow up with a phone call ensuring the funeral home does not miss an opportunity to serve a family in need.
7. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home is using a local answering service to answer their calls over night and during the weekends. The owner is concerned because the quality of the answering service is not up to her funeral home’s standards. The operators are answering for many other businesses and are not familiar with the needs of funeral home callers. However, she is hesitant to switch services because she wants to work with a company that is familiar with her town and knows where nearby facilities are located. How can this funeral home switch services without losing their small town approach to business?
With ASD, this funeral home owner would be able to provide detailed information on local hospitals and nursing homes via the ASD Mobile app or myASD.com website. The information would then be automatically added to ASD’s system and become visible to any Call Specialist handling a call for her funeral home. This ensures better quality of service when handling a new first call for someone who passed away at a facility. In addition, the director can also add details about cemeteries, churches, hotels, and florists in her area, or use the Common Callers tool to provide details about callers who frequently contact the funeral home. By providing these details to ASD, the director can ensure her answering service is both funeral home exclusive AND knowledgeable about her local area.
8. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home owner is looking for ways to increase efficiency and streamline unnecessary tasks. He discovers that one of his employees has to type service information twice, once to add the information to his website and once to send the information to his answering service. How can the funeral home owner simplify this process?
ASD’s FuneralSync™ allows directors to automatically transfer service information between ASD and their funeral home website, saving time. This would eliminate the need for any duplicate data entry and reduce typing errors. To activate FuneralSync™, the director would simply need to contact their website provider and ask them to activate the integration with ASD.
A funeral home owner is looking for tools to help his staff remain more organized, especially when documenting new First Calls. The director is seeking a simple solution to keep track of new first calls that are reported to his answering service after hours. He wants to provide a streamlined routine for his staff while ensuring all records are consistent.
This funeral home owner would benefit from utilizing ASD’s First Call Forms. Every time an ASD Call Specialist handles a new first call, a First Call Form is automatically created that includes all of the information gathered during the call. The funeral home owner, or any funeral home employee, can then access these forms via myASD.com or ASD Mobile for iPhone and update them with more details. First Call forms can also be emailed or printed for the registrar when filing for death certificates.
10. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home owner is looking to increase his investment in prearrangement marketing in an effort to capture more preneed leads. To foster the success of his campaign, he needs to ensure that any callers who inquire about preplanning a funeral are immediately connected to one of the firm’s preneed specialists. He wants to be able to protect his investment without requiring his staff to monitor calls 24 hours a day.
With ASD monitoring calls, this funeral home would have the ability to stay on top of all after hour preneed inquires with ease. ASD Call Specialists are trained to recognize preplanning calls as potential new business opportunities. 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 funeral home to answer pre-need questions when families are in the right frame of mind to discuss end-of-life decisions. This gives the on-call directors the opportunity to talk to families interested in prearrangements when it is convenient for them. It also eliminates the risk of the family being unreachable or not in the mood for the discussion anymore at a later time.
11. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home relies on several transport companies to handle deaths reported after hours. In order to respond to the call, the removal service requires that certain information and releases be obtained from the facility. Furthermore, depending on the location of where the person passes and the time of day, the funeral home will utilize a different transport company. How can this funeral home owner reduce the possibility of any miscommunication occurring during a new first call?
ASD has developed customizable solutions to assist with coordinating the transportation of remains. Our Call Specialists can gather specific information the transport company must know before picking up the body. Additionally, ASD can contact a designated on-call person depending on the location of the deceased or the time of day. By customizing this funeral home’s on-call instructions, ASD can help ensure this funeral home’s specific protocol is always followed when a death is reported.
12. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral director who has worked for several months straight without a break is now ready to take a well-earned vacation. He is a one-man operation with several part-time employees and works with other funeral homes that will answer his calls periodically. The director is excited for his trip but also concerned about his business. He wants to ensure that all of his contact procedures are followed and that no miscommunication occurs while he is on vacation.
ASD is committed to helping funeral professionals enjoy their free time because we know how difficult it is for directors to get away. By utilizing our Vacation Form, this director can provide details on his extended on-call schedule and specify how calls should be handled and dispatched during his vacation. From adding a temporary contact person to creating a detailed schedule, ASD’s flexible systems give directors full control over their funeral home’s communications no matter how far they travel. The director also has the option to provide or confirm his vacation instructions with an ASD Supervisor 24/7 by calling 800-868-9950 ext 2.
13. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home owner with several locations recently purchased a new funeral home. The new funeral home will be a low-cost brand, which will be marketed differently than her current funeral home business. With two different funeral home models, the owner is worried about how to ensure her calls are answered differently while ensuring her communications remain easy to manage.
ASD could create two separate accounts for this funeral home owner while ensuring all of her locations remain linked together within the ASD Mobile app and myASD.com website portal. Instead of having to log in multiple times to check messages, the director can utilize ASD’s Fast Login feature to log in to both ASD accounts simultaneously and switch back and forth without having to reenter login information. This will save the funeral home owner time while ensuring her calls are always answered according to her specifications.
14. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home owner is looking for ways to cut costs and also increase the efficiency of the staff. He wants his employees to be able to conduct business on the go with ease. How can this owner save money while helping his staff to become more familiar with using mobile technology?
ASD can give the funeral home staff added time to confirm receipt of their incoming messages without being contacted by phone. We can send the on-call directors a push notification and/or text message and wait a predetermined number of minutes before dialing any number to dispatch the message. Instead of being charged for outgoing calls, directors can respond via ASD Mobile, text-message or myASD.com. This option will reduce the funeral home’s billable calls while providing much needed freedom from telephone disruptions.
15. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral director is on-call and receives a message from a family one of his employees has been working closely with for several months. He needs to ensure this director is reached immediately with this message and contacts the family. However, he is handling another transport and does not have a lot of time. How can the on-call directly ensure the other director receives this message without delay.
The on-call director can utilize ASD’s Re-Dispatch feature to let ASD know to contact a different employee with the message. The Re-Dispatch tool provides directors with added flexibility to remain on-call without having to respond to every message. This feature can be activated from within both ASD Mobile and myASD.com. When the message is displayed, the director can select Re-Dispatch and will be prompted to select one of his funeral home's employees from a drop down menu. ASD will then contact the employee selected. If the selected employee has any text message, email or push notification preferences already set up, the call details will be sent out through these channels first and an ASD Call Specialist will follow up if no response is received from the selected employee.
16. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral director is on-call for the weekend and a new first call is reported for a prominent person in the community. The director needs to easily share information gathered during the First Call. He wants his staff to have all of the written information and to hear the audio recording to ensure everyone is on the same page. However, he does not have much time to send a message because he must coordinate the transport.
This director could utilize the ASD Mobile ‘Share’ button (located at the bottom of every message) to instantly send information from the First Call with any contact. With a quick tap, the director can copy all of the First Call information as well as the complete call recording and choose from several different options for sending the message, including email, text message, or social media. Through this feature, the director could easily send a group message with all of the call details to the entire staff to get a message out to everyone at once.
17. THE PROBLEM:
A funeral home has received numerous calls from a telemarketing company. The director is frustrated that the same companies keep contacting the funeral home repeatedly and he does not want to be charged for these incoming calls while phone lines are forwarded to his answering service.
The funeral director can utilize our Solicitor Shield™ feature to instantly block the phone number used by this annoying telemarketer. Whether it is a pushy salesperson, a rude caller or someone you simply do not wish to speak with, Solicitor Shield™ allows directors to easily prevent unwanted calls from getting through while phone lines are forwarded to ASD. This ensures our clients are never charged for these incoming calls. Directors can easily add multiple numbers to their Solicitor Shield™ block list through ASD’s website and mobile app.
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