Jan 06, 2017
We are less than one week into the New Year and like many of you we’re already looking ahead and setting goals for 2017. ASD has several new features and ideas in development that we can’t wait to announce in the coming months. In 2017, we plan to enhance our online and mobile features with your valued feedback and ideas. Right now, our Technical team is busy working on an updated version of ASD Mobile for Android in addition to an exciting feature currently in the works that will give funeral homes more flexibility when call forwarding their phone lines.
As we look ahead to an
exciting and innovative year here at ASD, we’ve taken a moment to reflect on
some of the noteworthy benchmarks and milestones our company achieved in 2016.
2016: Year By Number
Last Year, ASD…
► Handled 535,412 First Calls, representing 3.7 billion dollars in potential revenue for our clients
► Assisted with more than 20% of all deaths reported in the U.S.
► Received more than 51,000 Shopper Calls
► Handled 18,709 calls on our busiest day of the year (June 7, 2016 Tropical Storm Colin was hitting the East Coast)
► Provided mobile support to 8,313 ASD Mobile for Apple users
► Provided mobile support to 3,976 ASD Mobile for Android users
► Connected more than 150,000 MobileFH® calls
► Sent more than 6 million ASD Mobile Push Notifications
► Sent more than 3 million text messages
► Saved our clients unnecessary expenses by blocking $500,000 worth of Robo calls with Solicitor Shield™
► Automatically transferred more than 250,000 obituaries via FuneralSync™, saving funeral professionals approximately 20,000 hours of redundant work.
► Handled more than 2,100 Web Chats
► Attended over 40 conventions and conferences
► Donated over 35 gifts to the Children’s Choice Adoption Program
► Walked on ASD’s Treadmill Work Station and biked on the Recumbent Bike Station for more than 6,000 miles, the equivalent of walking from New Jersey to California and back again.
► Donated more than $6000 to charities selected this year for ASD’s “Exercise for a Cause Program,” including Remembering Our Fallen, Wounded Warrior Project, Roberta’s House, Temple’s Preventive Cardiology, Thorncroft Equestrian Center, and Victory House of Lehigh Valley.
► Provided countless hours of family time to our clients as we help with answering their callers’ needs.
2016 Major Milestones
JANUARY: ASD Introduces Deep Archive and Message Search Tool
ASD kicked off the beginning of 2016 with the release of our comprehensive Deep Archive and Message Search Tool. This update gave our clients the ability to easily search for old messages, call recordings and dispatch logs via ASD Mobile and myASD.com by searching for a name, phone number or any other detail from the call. We also created message categories, allowing you to search for specific types of calls such as preneed or price shopper calls to easily keep track of your most important messages and follow up when necessary. With Deep Archive, ASD messages are stored for up to 5 years and can also be located using a date range search. Click here to learn more about this feature.
FEBRUARY: ASD Receives an ICCFA “Keeping It Personal” Award
In February, ASD received word from the ICCFA that our Web Chat Connect™ feature had received Honorable Mention in the association’s Keeping it Personal (KIP) Awards. The KIP Awards recognizes the best in personalization in the cemetery, funeral service and cremation profession. Web Chat Connect™ received this recognition from the association for helping funeral directors connect in real-time with families who might be hesitant to place a phone call to the funeral home. To learn more about this award or ASD’s Web Chat feature, click here.
MARCH: Selected Independent Funeral Homes Chooses ASD for Preferred Partner Program
ASD was honored be chosen by Selected Independent Funeral Homes to join the association’s Preferred Partner program last March. Selected invested a great deal of time and research evaluating ASD’s services, technology and history before partnering with the company. During 2016, ASD has the opportunity to meet many progressive funeral professionals at Selected events throughout the year, and we truly value our relationship with the association and their commitment to helping members manage and grow their businesses. In 2017, ASD will sponsor and attend the Selected Leadership Academy, which offers members an opportunity to develop and cultivate their leadership skills. Click here to learn more about ASD’s partnership with Selected.
APRIL: ASD Attends NFDA Advocacy Summit in Washington DC
In April, ASD Public Relations Specialist, Jessica Fowler, and Operations Supervisor, Andrew Troutt, had an opportunity to attend the NFDA Advocacy Summit in Washington D.C. This annual conference brings together funeral directors from across the country who are passionate about supporting families through progressive legislature. At this year’s summit, directors and state association leaders met with congress members to discuss extending burial rights to veterans and families of fallen service members as well as securing lump sum social security benefits for families with limited funds. This was ASD’s first time attending the summit and we loved hearing stories shared by directors about valuable connections they made or meaningful conversations they had while on Capital Hill. Click here to read our full recap of the summit.
One of the most meaningful aspects of the NFDA Advocacy summit for ASD was being a part of the visit to Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was raining that day, but despite the weather conditions the soldiers that guarded the tomb never faltered in their display of reverence. We were honored to be in attendance during the NFDA Wreath Laying Ceremony at the tomb. It was very moving to see NFDA President, Bob Arrington, and Judy Arrington, represent the funeral service profession in paying tribute to our nation’s fallen servicemen and women.
MAY: ASD Published in The Funeral Director’s Guide to Marketing
ASD has an opportunity to contribute an article to Kates Boylston’s The Funeral Director’s Guide to Marketing (Vol 2) earlier this year. The publication, first published in late May, continues tactics and guidance for expanding funeral home marketing and online engagement. Our article provided tips and ideas for how funeral directors can develop a carefully coordinated marketing plan to strengthen their brand and achieve organic growth. Click here to read the article on our blog.
JUNE: ‘6 Questions to Consider When Choosing an Answering Service” Published in OGR’s The Independent.
ASD was published again in June by The Independent, the official publication of the OGR. The article outlines what considerations should be made by funeral directors when evaluating an answering service and explains why careful thought and thorough research is crucial when selecting the best organization to assist at-need calls. Click here to read the article on our blog.
JULY: Final Funeral Pro Chat Podcast Released Featuring Mike Squires of Southern Calls Magazine.
The Funeral Pro Chat Podcast series concluded in July with a final podcast interview featuring Southern Calls Magazine Editor, Mike Squires. Mike is interviewed by Nancy Burban and ASD Public Relations Specialist, Jessica Fowler, about how the idea for Southern Calls was born, how funeral traditions in the south have changed and how he has been affected by his own personal experiences dealing with grief.It was a very insightful interview and a great way to end the Funeral Pro Chat podcast series that ASD had the honor of sponsoring for several years. We hope you have enjoyed listening to Funeral Pro Chat as much as we have loved being apart of it. A big THANK YOU to all of our Funeral Pro Chat guest for sharing their own personal stories and expertise with us.
You can listen to Mike’s podcast interview below. Click here to learn more.
AUGUST: ASD Spotlights Funeral Director Athletes in Honor of 2016 Olympics
To commemorate the 2016 Rio Olympics, ASD reached out to funeral professionals in August to find out what athletic activities they enjoyed. We were blown away by the response, receiving messages from 14 funeral directors with amazing athleticism and skill. We were highly impressed by the range of different athletic activities funeral professionals engage in. Many of the directors drew a direct correlation between their career and their love for a particular sport or athletic pursuit. Click here to read our blog spotlight on funeral director athletes.
SEPTEMBER: New Gazebo Garden is Constructed for ASD Employees
Throughout the dog days of summer and early days of fall, our employees were able to look outside and watch an incredible project come together in front of our building. The ASD Gazebo Garden was built this year to provide an area where our employees can relax outside during their lunch break or before their shift and enjoy the sunshine. After the Gazebo was built, we laid the stonework and filled in our new pond that now surrounds the entire gazebo with a bridge running across it. The pond will be filled with koi fish when the weather gets warmer. Be on the look out for more photos as we continue working to make this a lush and tranquil environment for all of our staff to enjoy.
OCTOBER: Client Cocktail Party Hosted by ASD During the 2016 NFDA Convention in Philadelphia
More than 400 funeral directors attended ASD’s Client Cocktail Party held during the NFDA Convention at the Pyramid Club in Philadelphia. Those in attendance were treated to unparalleled views of the city at sunset, flavorful cocktails (including our signature “ASD Blue Mortini”), and delicious food. It was so wonderful to see so many of our clients and to introduce them to the ASD employees they have been speaking with so many years.
ASD’s Client Cocktail Party was thrown to thank all of our clients for voting for us to win the 2015 Innovation Award for our MobileFH® feature. We truly appreciate your support of ASD and hope that you had a wonderful time celebrating with us. So much of ASD’s interaction with directors is over the phone, so events like this are very special to us because they give us a chance to really get to know our clients and their families. If you attended, be sure to visit our Facebook album to look at all of the pictures and tag yourself.
NOVEMBER: ASD Implements Suicide Prevention Call Support System To Help Distressed Callers
In November, ASD implemented a new Suicide Prevention Call Support System. Due to situations that have occurred at ASD in the past, we wanted to do our part to help when a call is answered from someone who indicates they are considering taking their own life. We know from past experience that when someone is feeling hopeless, there is no telling who they might contact, and in some cases they will reach out to a funeral home. ASD created the Suicide Prevention Call Support System to give our operators a way to seamlessly connect with suicide hotline operators 24/7.Our staff can now press an Emergency button to immediately alert a Suicide Hotline that a distressed and possibly suicidal personal is on the line. The hotline operator can then be transferred directly into the call via a 3-way connect without the caller ever being put on hold. This unparalleled solution ensures that callers in a suicidal crisis will receive the emotional support and help they need without any delays. Click here to learn more.
DECEMBER: ASD Mobile Turns 5
The ASD Mobile app reached a 5-year anniversary milestone last month. Since it was first introduced on December 12, 2011, ASD Mobile has been downloaded more than 7,000 times and has received over 100 5-star reviews – far exceeding any other mobile app created for the funeral profession. Over the past five years, our app has been updated numerous times to provide more features and tools to help improve the lives of funeral professionals. Click here to read a timeline for the evolution of ASD Mobile.
2017 will be the year ASD provides a heightened level of service through new technology, training and efficiencies. We have some cutting-edge solutions on the horizon so be on the look out for some exciting news from ASD this year!
What features would you like to see in 2017? Leave us a comment and let us know how we can help make 2017 a great year for your funeral home.
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