Feb 06, 2017
Trust is a factor
that plays into every business dealing at a funeral home. Experienced owners
know they must be cautious and discerning when selecting vendors to represent
their business. This is especially true when a funeral home is considering
using an answering service for the first time, or switching to a different
answering service provider. When considering how much time and marketing is
invested in persuading families to contact the funeral home in their time of
need, directors must be vigilant of their telephone activity and understand the
potential value of every call.
At ASD, when a
director contacts our company for the first time to learn about our service, we
know there is only a very small percentage the funeral home will forward their phone
lines to ASD that evening. Funeral professionals are not likely to make a
rushed business decision, not when even the smallest mistake can exacerbate the
emotional suffering of a family member. Confidence takes time to build. ASD offers
every funeral home a
30-day Free Trial period, but we realize that cost is only
one of many factors that directors consider when selecting an answering
service. The primary concern is quality
of service above all else, and evaluating this requires an increased amount of
contact. Directors often have many questions to consider before trusting an
outside company to handle their sensitive and valuable calls.
In most cases, a
funeral home will begin forwarding to ASD after we have had an opportunity to
become familiarized with the specific needs of the firm. We take time to get to
know the funeral home and to identify which solutions would work best for their
staff. By inviting funeral directors to share their concerns and reservations
early on, ASD is better equipped to build a customized and tailored account for
the funeral home that reflects the funeral home’s unique business model.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common
questions ASD hears from funeral directors who are gathering information about
our service. Click on any one of the question topics below access a specific
section within our FAQ.
1. Tell me about
ASD has created a new class of answering service for funeral
professionals by raising the bar with unparalleled levels of advanced training
and technology. Family
Owned and Operated, ASD is the only answering service that exclusively serves
the funeral profession with custom-built
communication systems and sophisticated mobile tools designed solely to meet
the needs of directors.
2. What percentage
of calls handled by ASD are funeral home calls?
100%. ASD answers exclusively for funeral homes and
funeral-related businesses. Some answering services will go to
great lengths to give the
impression they answer solely for funeral homes. These companies claim to be
funeral specific, but in reality they answer for all types of businesses. ASD
is different. Our staff will never be distracted by calls from doctor’s
offices, tow truck drivers and other businesses unrelated to the funeral
profession. By keeping our staff focused solely on the needs of funeral
directors, our Call Specialists are better equipped to speak to families in
need and more knowledgeable about the funeral profession than any other answering
service in operation today.
3. Who are the
owners of ASD?
Our company has been owned and operated by the Czachor family
for more than 40 years. ASD’s founders, Martin and Barbara Czachor, recognized
a void in the market for an answering service that catered to the specific
needs of funeral professionals. Rather than becoming a generic,
one-size-fits-all answering service, our defined mission statement has allowed
us to grow through
and develop funeral-specific tools that no other service can offer. Today, the
second generation of the Czachor family is dedicated to upholding the original
goals set forth by their parents. ASD has expanded exponentially by continually
exploring new solutions for our clients. By investing heavily in state-of-the
art technology without sacrificing the personal touch of a small,
family-owned business, ASD is now the leading answering service for funeral professionals.
4. How are your
ASD’s training emphasizes both
compassion for callers and understanding the importance of helping the funeral
home’s business to grow. Our rigorous
training program reinforces
patience and empathy. Interactive group training classes and one-on-one
instruction are both used during the training program to help our new employees
hone their skills and maintain our level of excellence. In order to take calls independently, new employees must be able
to speak gently and professionally on the phone with the understanding that it
may be the worst day of the caller’s life. Additionally, trainees must
demonstrate full comprehension of ASD’s proprietary systems developed
exclusively for funeral professionals by our company’s technical team.
First Calls, Shopper Calls and Pre-Need
5. How can I ensure I
am the first point of contact for at-need families without having to answer
every call myself?
ASD can set up your account so that at-need calls
patched to the on-call director, ensuring families won’t hang
up and call a different funeral home. The moment ASD begins to gather First
Call information, you will receive a
First Call Alert®, giving you time to prepare for the call. You can then connect into the call in progress by using our patented
First Call Connect®
feature, just as if they were picking up a second line at the funeral home.
7. As an owner, I
need to remain aware of new at-need cases at my funeral home, even when I’m not
on-call or am out of town. Is there a way to guarantee this?
ASD can ensure you remain connected by helping you to enable our
First Call Report® setting. This exclusive feature 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 you the complete message details and a recording of
the call. The First Call Report® also displays each step taken to reach the
on-call staff to help you stay on top of all business opportunities from any
8. I want to
capture more preneed and pricing calls. How can ASD help me with this?
With ASD’s flexible programs, you 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 your
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. Preneed callers will always speak to the
right person and the risk of the family being unreachable or not in the mood
for discussion at a later time is eliminated.
Report tracking can also be added
to your account so that your 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.
9. We use transport
companies to handle removals for First Calls that are reported after hours. How
does ASD handle First Calls when a transport company is involved?
ASD has developed many 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 your funeral
home’s on-call instructions, we can help ensure your funeral home’s specific
protocol is always followed when a death is reported.
10. As a funeral
home owner, I need to be able to track how many pricing and preneed inquiries
result in new business for my funeral home in order to evaluate our business
strategies. Can ASD track this data when my calls are forwarded?
With ASD’s new Deep Archive Message Search Tool, you 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. Our
Deep Archive Search Tool (available on myASD.com and
ASD Mobile) displays all of the funeral
home’s messages in a categorized list. Preneed, Pricing and at-need calls can
be reviewed with ease. The Message Archive Search Tool also enables you to set
a specific date range or to locate messages by key word when searching, making it simple to
measure your close rate.
11. I’m looking for
tools to help my staff improve their close rate on shopper calls. Does ASD
offer anything that can help?
ASD offers a mobile tool for this that can help you with
evaluating your staff’s performance on shopper calls. When ASD receives a
shopper 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 you through the ASD Mobile app, website
and voicemail system. This is a great training tool for monitoring your staff’s
customer service skills.
organized and documenting our cases is very essential to our funeral home. Do
you have a simple solution for keeping track of new first calls?
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. You can access these forms via myASD.com or ASD Mobile and update them with more details. First Call forms can also be emailed or printed for the registrar when
filing for death certificates.
13. During office
hours, I would prefer for my funeral home staff to answer the phones, but
sometimes they are tied up with other tasks and can’t get to the it in time.
How can I make sure I don’t lose these calls?
Simply adjust your call forwarding settings to make sure your
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 your
funeral home staff with added flexibility, allowing them to handle the calls
when available while protecting the calls they are 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 gives the office a second layer of support, providing your staff with
more peace of mind.
14. The schedule at
my funeral home fluctuates quite a lot. How can I guarantee I stay connected
without ASD interrupting my staff and I when we are busy?
ASD can provide your funeral home with the flexibility to
customize your account’s contact preferences at anytime and control the type of
messages that are dispatched to your on-call staff. During busier times, the
funeral home can use a more restrictive
check out option so that you are only
contacted for First Calls and other time-sensitive issues.
15. Our funeral
home has three generations working together. I use my smartphone quite often
for business, but my father and grandfather are not comfortable with it. Could
we still use ASD?
Absolutely! We understand that funeral homes require a range of communication options. 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 to
talk to a supervisor 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.
16. I’m always
getting calls from families on my personal cell phone. This can often cause
headaches and confusion, especially if it is my day off. Does ASD have anything
in place to help with this problem?
Using ASD’s patent-pending MobileFH® feature, you can display
the funeral home’s main office line as your outgoing Caller ID when making
calls from your cell phone. This ensures you will not be disturbed by
business-related calls when off-duty. With MobileFH®, families will always
recognize who is calling them and know what number they should call back, and
you don’t have to worry about unintentionally offending someone by blocking
your Caller ID. Best of all, you get to
keep your cell phone number private without sacrificing level of service.
17. I’m a deep
sleeper and I’m worried I might miss an important message from you overnight.
Is there anyway to decrease the odds of this happening?
ASD can easily set up individual contacting instructions for you
so that you are always contacted in the manner you most prefer. With the ASD
Mobile app, you can control what time of night you are notified with a phone
call and what time of day you are notified via text or push notification. These
adjustments can be made with just a few quick swipes on ASD Mobile and will
ensure that you are not bothered by a ringing telephone while awake, but will
be alerted with a call if an urgent or at-need message is handled overnight.
18. Does ASD offer
any solutions for funeral homes that have more than one employee on-call at
We have created a Re-Dispatch feature within the ASD Mobile app
that allows you to easily notify ASD if you would prefer for us to contact a
different employee with any message. The Re-Dispatch tool provides you 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, simply select
Re-Dispatch and you will be prompted to select one of your 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.
19. Our funeral home
uses a repeating weekly on-call schedule and we also have designated directors
on-call for at-need and pre-need calls. Can ASD utilize our detailed schedule
when dispatching calls?
ASD has developed a feature that can store your funeral home’s
repeating schedule information in our company’s system. This ensures that the changing
on-call information is updated automatically and you never have to worry about
instructions being followed correctly. ASD can also provide additional options
if needed, enabling you to designate an on-call director, removal service and
pre-need counselor during certain times of day and have the schedule
automatically update based on the type of call and time of day.
20. Our funeral
home has several directors who share on-call duties each night. How can we make
sure that everyone is always on the same page regarding new cases and urgent
With the ASD Mobile app and ASD website, every one of your
employee will be linked to a single communication center and can communicate
online through one of our added tools. By recognizing each individual contact
person, our app and website provides better user tracking and messaging between
users. When a message is received and the on-call director needs to let another
employee know how it was handled, instead of making an extra phone call, you
can simply leave a note under the message. Our website and app can identify
which director left the message and can even log multiple responses. This helps
enhance inner office communication and keeps everyone on the same page.
21. I don’t want my
callers to have to be asked a lot of questions. I would prefer to ask those
questions myself. Can ASD accommodate this?
Absolutely! Our custom-built systems enable you to tailor your
account based on how you need your funeral home to be represented on the phone.
You can decide what questions should be asked by ASD Call Specialists, 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 you can customize your account to ensure calls are answered
entirely in a manner that reflects your funeral home’s standards.
22. I own both a
funeral home and a cemetery. Calls for each business must be answered
differently. How can we be sure this won’t cause confusion with your operators?
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 your 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.
23. I’m hesitant to
use an answering service because the operators won’t sound knowledgeable about
my local area. How does ASD address this concern?
With ASD, you can provide us with detailed information on local
hospitals, nursing homes and other establishments 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, you can also add details about
cemeteries, churches, hotels, and florists in your area, or use our Common Callers tool to provide details about callers who frequently contact the
24. I have several
funeral home locations, one of which is marketed as our low-cost cremation
society brand. With two different funeral models, how can ASD ensure my calls
are answered separately without making it difficult to manage our
ASD could create two separate accounts for you while ensuring
all of your 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, you 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 you time while ensuring your calls are always answered according to your
25. I live in a
diverse region and often receiving calls from Spanish-speaking families. I’ve
lost business due to my current service being unable to communicate with
Spanish-speaking callers. How can I make sure these calls are protected 24/7?
Over the past decade, ASD has worked diligently to attract and
retain bilingual employees. Our
Spanish-speaking team has grown to more than 30
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. We can even offer
translation services if needed. With the expansion our bilingual team, you can
protect calls from Spanish families while working with a company that caters to
the specific needs of funeral professionals.
26. I live in a
small farming town where everyone knows one another. We are always getting
personal calls or calls related to our in-house florist. How can we ensure our
callers are treated personably and that your staff understands our small
ASD can personalize the any account with important notations, instructions
and procedures. Your funeral home would likely want to take advantage of ASD’s
Common Callers tool, which enables our clients to create a list of people who
contact the funeral home on a routine basis. You 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, a
funeral home were notified that their cows were on the loose, ASD’s staff would
recognize this as an urgent message and notify the director without delay.
27. My staff is
always on-the-go and I want to make it as easy as possible for them to stay
connected to the business when they are mobile without being distracted by
incoming calls. Does ASD offer a solution for this?
ASD can give your funeral home staff added time to confirm receipt of incoming messages without being contacted via phone call. 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 reduces the funeral home’s
billable calls while providing much needed freedom from telephone disruptions.
28. I need to be
able to send information on our current services to ASD quickly. I don’t want my
staff tied up by having to type that information twice. What options are
In addition to accepting new service information via our
website, mobile app, fax and voicemail system, ASD also has a
program in place that allows you to instantly and effortlessly send us your
service information. With ASD’s FuneralSync™, you can automatically transfer
service information between ASD and your funeral home website, saving time.
This would eliminate the need for any duplicate data entry and reduce typing
errors. To activate FuneralSync™, you would just need to contact your website
provider and ask them to activate the integration with ASD.
29. I receive so
many solicitor calls that waste my time. Does ASD have any solutions for
screening or blocking calls from telemarketers?
Our Solicitor Shield™ feature allows you to instantly block
numbers from telemarketers. Whether it is a pushy salesperson, a rude caller or
someone you simply do not wish to speak with, Solicitor Shield™ helps you to
easily prevent unwanted calls from getting through while phone lines are
forwarded to ASD. This also ensures you are never charged for these incoming
calls. You can easily add multiple numbers to your Solicitor Shield™ block list
through ASD’s website and mobile app.
30. When I’m on-call, I often find
myself sending multiple messages out to my co-workers to keep them informed of
what’s going on overnight. Is there a simpler way to accomplish this?
Yes there is! With ASD Mobile‘s ‘Share’ button (located at the
bottom of every message), you can instantly send information from any message
with your phone’s contacts. With a quick tap, you can copy all of the message
details 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, you can quickly send out a group message
with all of the call details to the entire staff to get a message out to
everyone at once.
31. If I really
like, or really don’t like, how a call was handled by ASD, is there an easy
system for sending feedback?
Absolutely, our clients can easily leave a compliment, concern
or comment on any call in just a few quick taps using our exclusive
CareTracker™ feature. This helpful tool can be accessed from within both our
mobile app and website. While an ASD Supervisor is just a phone call away 24/7,
CareTracker™ was created to give you 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 let you know
what actions were taken in response to your comment. This streamlines the customer
service process while helping you to instantly communicate your feedback to ASD
with very little effort. You can also access your CareTracker™ comments online
to track the status of any reported issues.
32. I recently
invested in a new website for our funeral home. How can I
connect with families in need who are visiting our site in
real-time without any delay?
With ASD’s Web Chat feature, your funeral home’s website
visitors will see a Web Chat button on your 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 you to answer questions from website visitors in real time while
ensuring you are only notified for the types of web chats you deem urgent.
33. Our funeral
home has a ‘Contact Us’ form on our website, but we have missed time-sensitive
leads because the information is sent to our email and we don’t always see it
right away. Does ASD have a solution for this?
With ASD’s new Web Form feature enabled, the ASD Mobile app can alert you the
moment a new form is submitted on your site. If you do not respond within a
predetermined time, we can then follow up with a phone call, ensuring you do
not miss an opportunity to serve a family in need.
34. We have several
employees working at our funeral home who are never on call but still require
access to call recordings and other information obtained by ASD. Will they be
able to access that information on your website?
ASD has developed a Web User feature so funeral home owners could give
other employees access to ASD’s internal website. Once you have logged on to
our website, you can add, edit or delete a web user to provide access to
myASD.com. If there are multiple staff members who require access to the site
but are not listed as on-call contacts, such as administrative support, you can
create a single web user that all of these employees may use to log on.
35. How does ASD’s
billing system work?
ASD offers all new clients a Free, 30-Day FREE trial period.
This gives us an opportunity to evaluate your call volume and recommend a
billing call plan based on this data. We give you the flexibility to change
this anytime and proactively reach out if we notice that your call plan needs
to be higher or lower. ASD’s system allows you to greatly reduce your outgoing
calls by using our technology. By responding to urgent messages via text,
email, website link or push notification, you can reduce your billable calls
while also eliminating unnecessary telephone distractions.
36. Budgeting and
monitoring overhead costs is very important to our funeral home. How will ASD
help us keep track of our answering service usage?
ASD provides you with access your funeral home’s usage stats
24/7. Our clients can log onto the ASD website to see the number of incoming
calls and outgoing dial outs handled by ASD as well as the number of calls that
were directly patched to the staff. This can help you determine if your call
volume has increased or decreased and decide if you need to make any
adjustments to your ASD call plan. You’ll also be able to monitor if your
funeral home staff is using ASD’s technology to decrease the number of billable
outgoing dial outs.
37. Do you require
new clients to sign a term contract?
Absolutely not. You can cancel service anytime, penalty free.
While our goal at ASD is to work with our clients until the day they retire, we
believe our level of service will keep clients coming back, not fear of
contractual obligations. ASD’s defined
help us remain focused on developing new solutions for
the death care profession. We have been able to achieve success without ever
needing to lock our clients into a binding contractual agreement.
38. I’m looking to
eliminate unnecessary paper waste at our funeral home and save time. Does ASD
offer an easy online billing system to clients?
ASD offers our clients several convenient, paperless billing options.
You have the option to receive your monthly billing statement via email or from myASD.com You can also sign
up for ASD’S Auto Pay option to ensure your monthly payment is automatically
deducted each month. These options allow funeral homes to streamline office
tasks without any unnecessary paperwork.
39. Does ASD offer
any special discounts or rebates?
By working with ASD Rewards Partners you can dramatically reduce
your ASD bill, while improving the experience a family has in dealing with your
funeral home. In keeping with our tradition of excellence, only the best
organizations are accepted by ASD as Partners. Much time has been invested in
getting to know the individuals who run these businesses. We have thoroughly
researched their levels of service. The ASD Rewards Partners provide a variety
of ways to earn credits towards your ASD bill. ASD clients have received over $100,000 in Rewards Program credits simply by working with one or more of our trusted
Rewards Partners. With
enough credits, you could greatly reduce or even eliminate your entire ASD
40. Do you offer
any incentive for referring another funeral home?
ASD’s greatest promoters have always been our current clients.
As a way to show our appreciation to funeral professionals who recommend our
service to their colleagues, we award our clients with $150 referral bonus for
every funeral home they refer to ASD.
Do you have a question about answering services, funeral
communications, or ASD that is not listed on our FAQ? Please share your question with us in
the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.
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