May 19, 2020
In recent weeks, many have speculated and raised questions related to when the COVID-19 pandemic will be “over.” Of course, most health experts, financial leaders as well as funeral professionals understand that there is no going back to a time before the coronavirus entered our lives. The impact of this virus, and the lasting effects it leaves behind, will forever be woven into the fabric of who we are as a community, as a nation, and as human beings. We are all of us navigating uncharted waters together and learning to adapt to our new normal.
The difficult but important lessons learned from this surreal and unprecedented era in our history will continue to reverberate for generations to come. One of those important lessons has been the role of technology in helping us work and connect with one another from anywhere. From personal interactions to business transactions, this pandemic has irreversibly altered how we communicate. More than ever, funeral professionals are relying on new solutions that make it easier to work remotely and serve families with the same level of care.
Here at ASD, we have always taken pride in being ahead of the curve, anticipating the needs of funeral directors and developing forward-thinking solutions. While there was no way to predict the emergence of COVID-19 or to know in advance how it would impact our profession, ASD was able to adapt in order to continue serving our clients with the same level of service. We want to make it easier for funeral directors to do the same for families who need them during this difficult time. Our company has been on the forefront of developing mobile solutions for funeral professionals that make it simpler to conduct business remotely. We encourage you to explore the list below and please don’t hesitate to contact us 24/7 if any of these solutions can help your funeral home.
9 ASD Tools to Help Funeral Professionals Work Remotely
1. ASD Mobile
Winner of multiple NFDA Innovation Awards, ASD Mobile helps thousands of funeral directors every day to monitor telephone communication and conduct business from anywhere. In 2018, more than 20,600 funeral professionals utilized ASD Mobile. Every call answered by ASD is categorized on the app. Clients have instant access to their messages with just a quick tap. You can listen, read and respond to messages, change your on-call preferences, update service information, handle online chats from your website and more, all from the palm of your hand!
ASD Mobile was designed to be a communication portal for funeral home teams, making it simple to monitor your funeral home’s communications remotely. The app has been updated numerous times with added features and tools since it was first introduced in 2011. Despite the high number of users, many of our clients do not realize there are hundred different solutions within the ASD Mobile app that can be used every day to conduct business on the go and streamline processes.
Monitor telephone activity handled by your on-call staff from any location
- No more calling around to check up things – you’ll always have an aerial perspective of your funeral business, whether you’re 10 or 10,000 miles away.
Send ASD service information to relay to your callers with ease
- Reduce the number of calls you have to return by ensuring ASD has the most up-to-date information on your current services to assist callers on your behalf
Update your on-call information and on-call preferences on-the-go
- Need to update your schedule or ensure you won’t be disturbed? You can use our app to adjust how, when and why ASD contacts you in just a few seconds
Share message details, including call recordings, with any contact in seconds
- Stop pulling over to the side of the road to write stuff down. Forget post it notes, rolodexes and long voicemails you need to transcribe. With ASD Mobile, you and your staff can easily share information with one another and other contacts effortlessly.
Communicate with on-call staff using message notes
- Keep everyone on the same page about your current cases using the app’s handing message notes section.
Create and share First Call forms for every First Call handled by ASD
- Generate a First Call form, which can be shared or printed from the app, that includes all of the details gathered on First Calls handled by ASD.
Connect seamlessly into urgent web chats from your funeral home website
- If you’re hesitant to add a Web Chat button to your website because you think you’ll have to keep a constant eye on it, have no fear. ASD can monitor your funeral home’s web chats on your behalf, alerting you only when an urgent need is communicated, and you can use our app to seamlessly connect into urgent chats in progress from anywhere!
2. MobileFH® & MobileFH® Texting
With an increasing number of funeral professionals now working outside the office and using their cell phones to connect with families, the need for practical mobile solutions is paramount. You would expect that giving out your cell phone number would resolve communication problems, not create them, but for funeral directors this just isn’t the case. Caller ID, as helpful as it is, can also cause a lot of headaches and make it difficult for funeral professionals to conduct business remotely. Families will often naturally reference the phone number they see on their Caller ID. As a result, when that director is no longer on duty, callers with time-sensitive needs often have issues reaching the funeral home.
Fortunately, a better solution now exists that enables directors to call any number from their cell phone using the funeral home number as the outgoing Caller ID. ASD introduced this feature, known as MobileFH® in 2015 and it has since been awarded an official patent from the U.S. Patent office and the NFDA Innovation Award. With MobileFH®, families will only see the funeral home’s phone number on their Caller ID, ensuring they always call back the correct person. Directors can enjoy their time off without worrying about missing important calls instead of trying to assist the caller from a distracting environment.
Last year, ASD expanded this feature to create MobileFH® Texting – the first and only text message solution that helps facilitate mobile communications for on-call funeral directors. MobileFH® Texting allows you to send and receive text messages using your funeral home’s main business number as the sending number. This revolutionary feature empowers multiple on-call directors and funeral home staff to seamlessly collaborate with messages, documents or photos that are sent or received via text message from any location. MobileFH® Texting also greatly alleviates staff burnout by ensuring directors are able to keep their personal numbers private and don’t have to respond to messages on their day off.
3. Web Form WatchDog™
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on how funeral homes communicate with families and the public. In this age of social distancing, a growing number of people are now going online to research different funeral options and compare options. As a result, information queries sent through funeral home websites are becoming a much more common method families use to get in touch with a funeral director.
Most funeral home websites have a ‘Contact Us’ form instructing visitors to leave their information and reason for contacting. Funeral professionals would frequently overlook these messages because they were often sent to a single, generic email address that was not monitored 24/7. In 2018, ASD introduced our Web Form WatchDog™ feature to help funeral professionals become more responsive to submitted web forms. With this feature, inquiries submitted through the firm’s Contact Us form automatically generate an alert within ASD’s notification system. This safety net ensures funeral home web queries are answered in a timely manner and are always sent to the designated on-call funeral director.
When an urgent web form is submitted, ASD will follow the designated contact preferences that have been specified by the on-call director. For example, ASD could email, text or send an ASD Mobile push notification with the new web form details. This allows funeral homes to easily stay on top of inquiries from their funeral home website when their staff is working remotely. The on-call director can acknowledge the message via email, text, ASD Mobile or via the ASD’s website. If no response is received within a predetermined time, ASD will call the current on-call person to ensure the message is handled in a timely manner.
Recently, ASD activated Web Form WatchDog™ for more than 1,000 funeral homes across the country. Through our company’s partnership with Consolidated Funeral Services (CFS), ASD was able to very quickly provide access to this feature to all of our mutual clients. Understanding how much funeral homes need extra assistance at this time, ASD is offering free access to Web Form WatchDog™ through the end of 2020. To activate Web Form WatchDog™, directors can simply contact their web provider and request that they add this tool to their funeral home’s existing ‘Contact Us’ web page.
4. No Answer & Ultra Call Forwarding
Call forwarding features make it easier to work from anywhere without any anxiety over missing an important phone call. Simply program your phone lines to automatically forward over to ASD if it is not answered in the funeral home by a predetermined number of rings. This feature is widely known as No Answering Call Forwarding. Instead of having to worry about staff remaining in the building to answer calls, many directors have found freedom through call forwarding capabilities. No Answer Call Forwarding empowers funeral professionals to speak directly to families as often as possible without risking a lost call. You can even enable this feature 24/7 so that if an emergency or unforeseeable event occurs, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that ASD will answer the call.
What about those times when you would prefer calls go directly to ASD without ringing first at the funeral home? With less people working inside the building, the process of manually forwarding the phone line can hinder your firm’s ability to work remotely. Fortunately, Ultra Call Forwarding makes it possible for you to call forward your phone lines from anywhere. Having the ability to forward your phone lines remotely gives you more flexibility to do business on the go and saves you from making unnecessary trips to the funeral home building.
Both No Answer and Ultra Call Forwarding can set up easily by contacting your local phone company and providing them with your ASD call forwarding number. Learn More.
5. Obit Texting
ASD recently launched a new feature that will help our Call Specialists to better assist your funeral home’s callers. When someone calls your funeral home looking for obituary service information, ASD Call Specialists will now offer to send a text message to the caller with all of the service details, including the full obituary write up, so the caller will have that information at their fingertips.
ASD is committed to helping our clients better serve families and their communities. Our Obit Texting feature enhances the funeral home’s customer service to their community without any effort or added work for the on-call director. We are pleased to provide this convenient service to all of our clients for no cost. To ensure that ASD can text obituary information to callers, just be sure to keep us updated with your funeral home’s current service information which can be easily entered via our website or mobile app. This helps funeral home teams to work remotely without sacrificing the quality of customer service their callers receive.
6. Shopper Call Patching
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, ASD has recorded a noticeable increase in phone calls related to price shopping. Families contact multiple funeral homes to compare packages, research available options and evaluate customer service. Our Shopper Call Patching feature gives you more options for protecting these urgent at-need calls, especially during times when you are working remotely.
With ASD’s Shopper Patching feature, any time our Call Specialists handle a First Call from someone needing prices or other pertinent information, we will connect you to the caller so you can provide assistance without delay. Shopper Patching ensures that the person calling won’t disconnect and dial a competing funeral home. Callers are immediately reassured knowing a director will be on the line momentarily to answer their questions. This feature allows you to remain the first point of contact for at-need families during times when you and your staff are working remotely and are unable to answer every call yourself. ASD can screen your routine calls while instantly connecting you to with urgent calls from families that need information on your funeral options.
7. Patched Call Recordings
With more of their staff working outside the office, funeral home owners and managers are now more limited in their ability to monitor and train their employees. ASD’s Patched Call Recordings make it simpler for owners to evaluate the customer service skills of staff from anywhere. When one of our Call Specialists handles a shopper call, we can connect the caller to the on-call director, ensuring that they do not hang up and call a different funeral home. The call will continue to record after our Call Specialists hangs up, giving funeral home owners the chance to review their team’s telephone performance on these challenging calls.
In addition to listening to recordings of calls that are patched directly to the staff, funeral home owners can also instruct their employees to call family members using ASD’s MobileFH™ app feature, which ensures that the call will be recorded. Placing the call through MobileFH™ also allows the director to call the family and display the funeral home’s number on their outgoing Caller ID. The entire conversation with the family will be recorded and available for review within the Patched section of ASD Mobile and myASD.com. This guarantees that both the duration and content of your staff’s conversations will be recorded and that families will always call the right number back if they need to contact the funeral home again at a later point in time.
ASD’s Patched Call recordings can be used as training tools to help funeral home employees develop more effective communication skills and reach goals. Furthermore, if any pertinent information is transcribed incorrectly during the call, the funeral home will have a complete record of the director’s conversation with the family member that can be accessed anytime. ASD’s call tracking statistics have confirmed that the number of calls related to pricing, cremation and other shopping-related questions have increased during the pandemic. As this upsurge continues, ASD’s patched call recordings will develop into an even more powerful and valuable tool for funeral directors. Reviewing your staff’s shopper calls can help you to refine the skills of your employees, connect with more shoppers, and grow your business.
8. Deep Archive
One of the most crucial components needed for a business to successfully work remotely is having files and documents easily accessible and digitally archived. With ASD Mobile and myASD.com, you and your team will have access to a helpful Deep Archive Message Archive Search Tool that allows you to find old messages, call recordings and dispatch logs. With this feature, you can easily locate messages up to five years old by searching for a name, phone number or any other detail from the call. This tool can be especially useful when staff is working outside of the office and does not have access to hard copy records.
In addition to searching through all of the messages, our clients can also narrow their search to specific types of calls such as preneed or price shopper calls. This time-saving feature helps you to grow your business by making it simple for you to keep track of your most important messages to ensure staff is maximizing every opportunity. Rather than having to return to the office to sort through a pile of funeral records, you’ll be able to easily look up a name, phone number, date of death or any other detail from any call handled within the past five years.
If there is one aspect of funeral service all funeral professionals can relate to it is the unpredictability of being on-call. There is no way to know if your phone is going to be silent all night or ring incessantly. This is why funeral colleagues must share the burden and assist one another by providing backup support. Have you ever received an urgent message while you were on call that was meant for a different funeral director? In the past, this would require an additional phone call on your part – either to contact the other staff member yourself and relay the message or to call ASD and instruct us to contact a different employee.
We understand that when you’re working remotely, having an extra phone call to make on top of all the other tasks you are juggling can be a hassle. With ASD’s Redispatch feature, you can let us know to call another director with a message with one quick tap on ASD Mobile. When the message is displayed on the app, tap on the button that says ‘Redispatch’ at the bottom beneath the message details. You will then be prompted to select one of your funeral home’s employees from a drop-down menu. ASD will then Redispatch the message to the employee you select without any further contact needed on your part.If you’re an ASD client and want to learn more about how you can gain more freedom using our customizable solutions, call 800-868-9950 ext. 2 to speak with one of our supervisors. You can make account updates or request a feature tutorial 24 hours a day.
If you’re an ASD client and want to learn more about how you can gain more freedom using our customizable solutions, call 800-868-9950 ext. 2 to speak with one of our supervisors. You can make account updates or request a feature tutorial 24 hours a day.
If your funeral home is not currently using ASD and you would like to learn more about our award-winning answering service solutions, we offer a 30 Day Free Trial. Let us answer your phones for ABSOLUTELY NO COST during our trial period to prove to you how our remote capabilities and life changing features can set you free! To learn more, contact our National Sales Manager, Craig Meehan, at 800-868-9950 or email Craig@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