Operating a successful funeral home business requires a delicate balance of compassion, organization, and efficiency. While engaged in such a wide range of different responsibilities, you may overlook the potential advantages of leveraging an answering service. It’s easy to operate on assumption, believing that such services offer nothing beyond basic message-taking and failing to recognize the depth of support and efficiency they can provide. Yet, the reality is far more nuanced. The right answering service can serve as an invaluable ally, seamlessly integrating with your funeral home’s operations to enhance customer service, streamline communication, and alleviate the burden on already stretched directors.
In this blog, we’ll explore several common answering service misconceptions. Our goal is to shed light on how modern call support centers can not only meet but exceed the expectations of funeral directors and the families they serve. From offering compassionate assistance to bereaved callers to providing powerful communication tools to on-call directors, the right answering service can revolutionize the way your mortuary operates. By leaving your preconceived notions behind, you open the door to understanding the full spectrum of services offered. Learn how an answering service can help you streamline your operations, improve customer satisfaction, and ultimately, better serve your community during times of need.
Here are the 8 Most Common Funeral Home Answering Service Misconceptions
1. All answering services are created equal
The most likely reason a funeral director may develop a negative assumption about answering services is due to a past experiences fell short of expectations. Across the country, there are thousands of answering services, each with varying capabilities. Many funeral homes have only interacted with small, locally based answering services that lack specialization in deathcare operations. This limited exposure can lead to the mistaken belief that answering services are ill-equipped to meet the specific needs of your funeral home. This unfortunately holds true for the majority. However, ASD has created a new class of answering service tailored exclusively for funeral homes.
Two key factors set ASD apart from other answering services: sensitivity and customized technology solutions. Firstly, ASD’s extensive training program gives Call Specialists a strong understanding of the unique call situations encountered by funeral homes. This ensures every caller receives compassionate and respectful treatment. Secondly, ASD is committed to developing technology solutions specifically tailored to the funeral profession, in contrast to the pre-packaged, third-party software used by many other answering services. This dedication to innovation and specialization allows ASD to provide morticians with tools and support uniquely suited to their needs. In essence, not all answering services are created equal. If you haven’t experienced ASD, you haven’t tapped into the unparalleled dedication and expertise of an answering service devoted solely to your profession.
2. Using an answering service is too impersonal for a funeral home
Many funeral directors are hesitant to entrust such a critical aspect of their business to an answering service, fearing impersonal interactions or poor handling of sensitive matters. Some even use the phrase, “we never use an answering service” in their marketing. While it is certainly admirable to want to be the first point of contact for at-need families, the absence of an answering service to support your phone lines often leads to missed calls—a scenario that is both impersonal and insensitive, especially when someone is reaching out to report a death.
One of the most prevalent misconceptions surrounding answering services in the deathcare profession is the notion that they lack the personalized touch necessary for handling delicate matters. In the past, funeral homes had no visibility into how calls were handled by answering services. Today, modern services offer call recordings, allowing you to review the entire conversation and provide specific instructions or scripts for handling your calls. These call monitoring solutions provide peace of mind so you never have to question if your callers are being treated with compassion and empathy. It’s imperative to seek out an answering service that offers this transparency. ASD, for instance, was the pioneer in providing funeral homes with this capability, underscoring their commitment to employing highly trained professionals who grasp the sensitivity and significance of every interaction.
3. Telephone calls don’t really matter
This misconception presents a sort of reversal of the one previously mentioned. Rather than placing excessive concern on the experience of their callers, some funeral directors fail to give it ample consideration. Their mindset reinforces the mistaken belief that a voicemail system functions just as effectively as an answering service. If you share this misguided perspective, we would caution you to reconsider the importance of personalized interactions and how they might shape a family’s impression of you. It is a fallacy to think the mortuary’s phone calls do not have a significant impact on the business. Many funeral home owners cling to the idea that the telephone can be managed in the same manner it has always been. It’s typically only when it is discovered a significant number of calls are not being converted that the realization of a problem sets in.
It is a statistical fact that 80% of people will hang upon encountering a voicemail. Compare that to how they will feel speaking to a live person who is engaging with them and actively working to find out what they need on your behalf. Understanding the profound importance of protecting these critical telephone communications will directly impact the funeral home’s reputation and success. The cost of investing in an answering service is minimal when compared to the cost of losing a client family because you did not answer their call.
4. Answering services can only answer calls and take messages
In today’s technology-driven world, telephone calls are only a part of the larger communication picture business owners must consider. Between assisting families who prefer to converse via text, monitoring urgent web communications, and keeping everyone on your team on the same page, your funeral home needs support that extends beyond merely handling calls. It is a common answering service misconception to assume call support centers can only provide basic services. However, ASD offers solutions outside of what you might expect from a typical answering service. In fact, many of these technologies are patented and cannot be duplicated by other services.
Here are several features we offer which are separate from our traditional answering services.
- MobileFH® – This solution allows you to call any number from your cell phone have the funeral home’s phone number display as your outgoing Caller ID. The call is also recorded and made available for future review within the ASD Mobile app.
- MobileFH® Texting – With an increasing number of families preferring to use text messages to communicate their needs, this feature helps morticians keep their cell phone number private while still meeting families’ needs. Use ASD’s mobile app or website to send and receive text messages using the funeral home’s business phone number.
- Web Form WatchDog™ – This web-based feature allows ASD to monitor form submissions from your funeral home website and notify you when an urgent request comes in. This way, no submissions are ever lost, and you can respond to every sensitive request.
- Internal communication –Mortuaries with a team of on-call employees will appreciate ASD’s numerous internal communication tools. These features help directors stay connected while on-call.
5. The answering service’s proximity to the funeral home is important
As members of their communities both personally and professionally, many business owners like to keep business dealings local as much as possible. But when it comes to trusting your funeral home’s reputation to an outside company, experience outweighs proximity. It won’t matter how familiar operators are with landmarks in your town if they are not acquainted with funeral customs and practices. Perhaps you know the answering service owner personally. Maybe you even served their family in the past or the families of some of their operators. Does this really mean you shouldn’t have the freedom to compare other services when your business’ reputation is on the line? When it comes to protecting your funeral home’s name, prioritizing expertise over proximity is key. Your answering service must understand the unique nature of the deathcare profession, regardless of personal connections or locality.
For funeral professionals located in the southern-accented regions of the United States, the need for a locally sounding service is often paramount. Until recently, many of these mortuaries had limited options, resorting to subpar answering services lacking specialization in the funeral profession. However, in 2021, ASD introduced a dedicated southern team comprising over 100 Call Specialists based in SC, NC, GA, AL, or TN. Calls placed to funeral homes in the southern-accented areas are seamlessly routed to a Call Specialist from this team. This provides southern morticians with reassurance their callers will always be assisted by someone with a familiar local accent. With ASD’s innovative solution, these funeral homes can now opt for superior service without feeling tied to local companies unable to match ASD’s level of expertise.
6. Data gathered by an answering service cannot be easily shared
It’s common for funeral directors to be under the mistaken impression that messages and call data from an answering service are locked into the system and cannot be copied into other programs. This answering service misconception is due to the fact that many operate on antiquated systems. Most call centers are not designed to integrate with mortuary software. Funeral homes using ASD however are able to very easily share any message, including the full call recording, using the company’s mobile app. Additionally, ASD’s partnerships with the leading funeral home technology providers allow for automatic data transfer between programs. Whether you need to copy information gathered by ASD on a first call into the funeral home management system or send ASD your current service information by updating your website, these integrations help you save time and operate more efficiently.
7. Answering services are too intrusive to callers and staff
Let’s address the elephant in the room shall we. Yes, we have seen the jokes on Instagram. You know, the ones that poke fun of ASD for waking up a mortician in the middle of the night for a non-pressing matter or for asking a clueless caller too many questions. It is possible that after hearing these stories or having your own experiencing contacting a different funeral home we serve, you may have formed an impression of how ASD operates. Or, perhaps you noticed we work with a larger firm and assume we are too big to handle the needs of small-town funeral homes. However, we would urge you to consider one crucial fact. Every aspect of ASD’s operation—the questions asked, the messages dispatched to on-call staff, and more—is fully customizable by the funeral home.
Every funeral home operates differently and this is reflected in ASD’s range of answering service options. From small-town funeral homes to larger firms with multiple locations, our systems offer the flexibility to customize every account according to each funeral home’s preferences. Whether a funeral home prefers comprehensive or minimal information gathering, or whether urgent messages only are dispatched, it all depends on the preferences set by the mortuary owner. You have full control over how calls are handled and screened. So, if you perceive ASD as intrusive to callers or indifferent to the time of on-call directors, we kindly request you try us out for yourself before drawing any conclusions. Rest assured, ASD is committed to accommodating the individual preferences of each client, ensuring a seamless and tailored experience.
8. Answering services require binding contracts
This is a legitimate concern, as many answering services do require clients to sign contractual agreements. However, there is a substantial difference between signing a Hold-Harmless Agreement releasing an answering service from liability and signing a term contract requiring you to use a product or service exclusively for any length of time. The funeral business is inherently unpredictable, and your needs may change unexpectedly. Be wary of rigid contractual agreements that might cause headaches down the road if at any point you become dissatisfied with the service provided. Look for an answering service that offers greater flexibility and freedom to keep your options open in the future. With ASD, you can cancel service anytime, penalty free. While our goal 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 agreements. We also offer a 30-Day Free Trial period to give funeral homes an opportunity to fully evaluate our answering service before committing. However, even after the trial ends, our clients have the freedom to cancel anytime, penalty free.
Thank you for reading our blog. We’d love to know what your experiences have been using an answering service for your funeral home. Which one of these answering service misconceptions do you think is the most common? Share in the comments below.