Aug 22, 2022
It’s hard to remember what life was like before text messaging. The colossal impact of SMS technology on our society and how we communicate cannot be overstated. Text-messaging has transformed everyday life in a multitude of ways, but perhaps the biggest is the speed and convenience in which we are able to transmit information to one another. The wide usage of text messaging has streamlined many processes and has greatly changed the landscape of how we interact with one another, including how businesses interact with customers.
What does this mean for funeral professionals? In the past, using text messaging to communicate with families about their loved one’s services may have felt unprofessional or impersonal, especially when working with older folks. Today, people from every generation not only expect to interact via text with the companies they do businesses with, they usually prefer it.Current statistics prove that even older generations who are often more resistant to adopting new technologies recognize the benefits of texting.
In 2018, an AARP study found that 86 percent of Americans overthe age of 50communicated withtext messaging. The numbers surrounding seniors and texting have been consistently growing.I often think of my mother-in-law, who is in her 70s, when writing about this subject. When my father-in-law passed in 2019, I saw firsthand how she used text messaging to communicate back and forth with the funeral director. It was her preferred way to send obituary and insurance policy information, among other details.
The in-house technical team here at ASD has had a front-row seat in observing how text messaging has altered funeral home communication over the past two decades. While telephone calls will always play a vital role in the funeral business, text messaging is also a key component in shaping the customer service experience of funeral home consumers. This is why our company has endeavored to create new text-messaging tools specifically to help deathcare professionals enhance their communication with families. In addition, ASD’s text messaging solutions help on-call funeral directors save time and gain more freedom on the go.
Here are 7 ASD Texting Solutions Every Funeral Professional Should Know
1. Send and Receive Text Messages from your Cell Phone Using the Funeral Home’s Number as the Outgoing Caller ID.
It’s not difficult to see why text messaging was not immediately adopted into the practices and habits of on-call morticians. Many deathcare professionals have long been hesitant to use it for business purposes because they worry that either A) they won’t be able to keep their cell phone number private B) families and other contacts are likely to text information to the wrong person, or C) other employees won’t be able to locate important information communicated via text. However, all of these common dilemmas of the past can now be resolved using 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 innovative mobile tool works by connecting the mortuary’s office number to ASD. MobileFH® Texting ensures families and contacts are using the right phone number when sending sensitive information to the funeral home via text message. It also provides on-call funeral directors more freedom to conduct business on the go without giving out their personal cell phone numbers. Funeral home owners and managers can easily review their staff message exchanges with families as all text messages, photos, and important documents are stored safely within the ASD Mobile app.
MobileFH® Texting is one solution that solves many problems:
- Offers on-call directors added privacy and better protection for their cell phone number.
- Allows every director to easily retrieve photos and attachments from families and other contacts
- Prevents directors from having to respond to text messages on their day off, which helps alleviate staff burn out.
- Provides a record of the conversation and a general location for all texts – keeping everyone on the same page.
- Enhances office organization and streamlines tasks by making important communications easier to find and retrieve.
- Gives owners and managers added oversight to monitor staff’s text messages with funeral home contacts.
- Ensures a family does not text a mortician who is no longer working at the funeral home.
2. Send and Receive Text Messages from a Laptop or Desktop Using the Funeral Home’s Number as the Outgoing Caller ID
While communicating with families via text while on-the-go is certainly convenient for on-call directors, funeral home office staff must often use text messaging to communicate with families as well. This is why earlier this month our technical team added our MobileFH® Texting solution to ASD’s secure online Web Portal. This enhanced functionality allows funeral professionals to log into their ASD account to send texts using the funeral home number or to review previous messages that were sent to the mortuary. For funeral home administrative staff who may be using this information to fill out insurance policy paperwork or submit obituaries, having access to these messages on a computer can save time and provide a great deal of convenience.
3. Text Families Important Resources Immediately Following their First Call
For a family member who has just lost a loved one, making that first phone call to a funeral home can be a daunting and intimidating task. Offering these callers immediate guidance can help create an instant connection between the family and the funeral home. ASD’s new NEXT STEP Text™ allows funeral homes to offer important resources to families via text message immediately following their first call. When handling a first call from a family member, ASD can now offer to send the caller a text message from the mortuary that includes the next steps they can expect in the funeral planning process. The text can be customized to include the funeral home’s own literature. For instance, funeral professionals can choose to have a link sent directly to a specific resource page on their website or to a pre-written checklist that is customized with their firm’s name and web address.
The time that occurs between ASD handling a death call and the on-call funeral director returning the call may be a short duration, but a lot can happen in those few minutes. Having the ability to immediately send a text with valuable information to that family while the director is preparing to return their call demonstrates a higher level of customer care not possible through other communication methods. In addition, ASD’s MobileFH Texting® is built into the NEXT STEP Text™ which means the message is sent directly from the funeral home’s main business phone number and any replies from the family to it are logged within the ASD Mobile app for the on-call funeral director.
In addition to ASD Call Specialists sending out the NEXT STEP Text™ immediately following a first call, funeral homes can also use the ASD Mobile app to conveniently send the checklist from their phones as well.
The NEXT STEP Text™ empowers funeral homes to position themselves as a resource for families from their very first call. There are numerous ways this technology can be adopted, such as texting the funeral home’s GPL to callers who need prices or sending a link to a FAQ page to those with general questions. ASD also plans to develop preneed texting solutions, ensuring callers interested in prearrangements are sent the funeral home’s preneed literature. The versatility and customizable nature of this new solution will create numerous future applications for deathcare professionals to enhance the experience of families.
4. Respond to ASD Messages via Text or Push Notification
Whether on the road, with a family, or in the middle of a memorial service, there are certain times when it is not only inconvenient, but impossible, for a funeral director to be interrupted with a phone call. This is why ASD’s systems are designed to allow clients to respond to messages from a mobile device without the need for a telephone call. Clients can set up a customizable delay for urgent messages that gives them a convenient window of time to respond before ASD follows up with a phone call. Replying to messages via text or push notification saves funeral professionals from both unnecessary disruptions and billable calls. Clients can choose to respond to messages by replying directly to a text with a code word or by using the app to tap a button that lets ASD know the message was received. Watch the video above to learn more.
5. Text Obituary Information from your Website to Callers
One of the most common reasons a person contacts a mortuary is to obtain funeral service information. More than ever, people appreciate having information conveniently at their fingertips. This led ASD to develop an Obit Texting solution to ensure callers who request service information can receive a helpful text with all of the details. The text message will be a link to the obituary leading the person directly to the funeral home’s website, creating opportunities for the mortuary to reach more people with their web content than they could previously. Visitors can explore other web pages and learn more about the funeral home. This, in turn, can increase the firm’s pre-need leads or secure new sales for flowers and condolence gifts.
One of the great things about ASD’s Obit Texting solution is there is no effort required on behalf of the funeral home staff. Directors need only to post their obituary information to their FuneralSync-enabled website or to ASD’s portal. Our systems can automatically pull this information directly from the website and text it to the caller. In addition to providing service information, the text message can also include direct hyperlinks to live streaming funerals.
With Obit Texting, the text message sent to callers uses the funeral home’s phone number as the outgoing Caller ID*, ensuring if the person replies to it their message will be sent directly to the funeral director who is currently on-call. This opens a new channel of communication between mortuaries and the public, giving deathcare professionals more opportunities to demonstrate their firm’s first-class customer service. By bringing more visitors to the website and helping callers to text directly with the on-call funeral director, Obit Texting is creating new opportunities for funeral homes to expand their business. ASD provides this service at no cost to help funeral professionals better serve families and their communities.
*Funeral home must have MobileFH® Texting enabled to ensure the text sends from the funeral home’s number. If this is not enabled, it will send using an ASD short code.
6. Text Floral Recommendations to Callers
Seeking out new ways to help funeral homes enhance customer service within their community has been an important objective for ASD’s Technical team. After creating our Obit Texting solution, we realized how often funeral homes receive calls from those wanting a florist shop recommendation as well. While ASD has always offered to read this information to callers over the phone, we can now take this a step further by offering to send a text message to the caller with the mortuary’s recommended florist(s). Like Obit Texting, there is no effort required on behalf of the funeral home. The text is sent using the funeral home number as the Outgoing Caller ID*, and this solution is offered to all ASD clients for no charge.
*Funeral home must have MobileFH®Texting enabled to ensure the text sends from the funeral home’s number. If this is not enabled, it will send using an ASD short code.
7. Text Funeral Home’s GPS Address to Callers
One of the biggest ways mobile technology has changed funeral home communication for the better is there are far fewer people calling because they got lost while driving to the building. GPS has made it much simpler for people to find their way and while funeral homes can certainly provide directions to ASD to give to callers, these requests are decreasing by the day. Instead, folks will often call to verify the funeral home’s GPS address, as it can sometimes differ from the advertised address. For these calls, ASD now offers to send a text message with the funeral home’s address. Callers can simply tap on the address link to see their route displayed on Google Maps.
There is no question text messaging has become a dominant form of communication in our society and can be instrumental in helping deathcare professionals forge lasting connections with families. By developing groundbreaking technology that helps funeral homes use text messaging to enhance communication with families, ASD is pioneering a new wave of innovation across the funeral profession. If you are an ASD client interested in our text messaging tools, please call 800-868-9950 ext 5 or email solutions@myASD.com so we can help you take advantage of these new technologies. To learn more about ASD and all of our solutions for funeral communication, please call 800-868-9950 or email sales@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