Apr 27, 2015
At ASD, we are often the first point of contact for people who are at their most vulnerable moments. One of the first lessons Call Specialists learn during ASD’s 6-month training period is the range of emotions they may encounter on a daily basis. We recognize our employees when they go above and beyond on a call to ensure a funeral director is able to connect with a family member or loved one in need. ASD spotlights a Call Specialist as the “Sensitive Save” award winner each week who handles a particularly challenging call with patience and accuracy. This provides an opportunity to dissect difficult calls so the ASD staff can use the transcript as a model going forward.
Here are the “Sensitive Save” winners for the month of April:
At ASD, our Call Specialists are trained to listen very carefully and to verify information for accuracy. Our staff understands that for funeral homes, it can be problematic if any details about the call are missing or not communicated. This week our Call Specialist, Miriam, demonstrated extraordinary listening skills and patience. She handled a call from a nurse reporting a passing who spoke with a strong accent. The caller also had a bad connection with a lot of background noise. Miriam succeeded in overcoming these challenges by repeating information for accuracy, spelling names and asking clarifying questions to help ensure the funeral home had all of the correct information. She is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for demonstrating attention to detail and complete composure throughout this difficult call.
Funeral homes receive many phone calls from callers wishing to verify information such as the address, website or email. At ASD, our Call Specialists are trained to provide these details but to also confirm that the inquiry is not related to a recent passing. This week our Assistant Supervisor, Sarah, demonstrated why this is such an important standard. Sarah answered a call from a gentleman asking to verify the funeral home’s website. After providing the caller with these details and confirming that the site loaded properly on his browser, Sarah inquired if he was looking for information on the funeral home online. The caller stated he remembered looking at the site years ago and seeing a section where you could specify what you wanted for your funeral arrangements. This led Sarah to ask if he was making future plans or if someone passed away. The caller stated that a loved one was close to passing and the death was imminent. Sarah was able to obtain his contact details for the director to ensure someone at the funeral home could follow up personally. She is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” for asking the right follow up questions to protect this new business opportunity for the funeral home.
Contacting a funeral home for the first time can be a daunting task for many family members. For Call Specialists at ASD, learning how to properly reassure callers who are hesitant to leave their information is absolutely critical. Last weekend, our Call Specialist, Austin, answered a call from a woman who stated that she needed to come to the funeral home to make arrangements. She was calling on behalf of her aunt and uncle who had just lost a child and was communicating on their behalf. The caller asked if the funeral home was open and Austin explained that there was always a director on-call. The caller then asked, “So they aren’t open for us to go in and see someone?” Austin skillfully responded by stating, “The directors are always on-call so they can call you right back to answer your questions or make arrangements to meet with you. I just need to gather some information from you. Would that be okay?” The caller then provided Austin with the family’s contact information and details on her cousin’s recent passing. Austin is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for helping this caller to feel comfortable and ensuring the director could follow up immediately with the family.
Many funeral homes are connected to cemeteries, memorial gardens or a columbarium. This week our Call Specialist, Christina, answered a call from a funeral home that was located on the grounds of a cemetery. The funeral home owner provided ASD with instructions to ask all callers if they need the funeral home or cemetery. If the caller asks for the cemetery, ASD Call Specialists will refer a different phone number where callers can leave a message for the cemetery office. When Christina asked the caller this question, the woman hesitated and then responded, “I think I need to talk to the cemetery first.” This prompted Christina to ask, “Are you calling to report a recent passing?” The caller then explained that her mother passed but that she had a relationship with the staff the cemetery. Christina then inquired if she could gather some information to relay to both the funeral home and cemetery staff. The caller provided these details and Christina reached out immediately to the on-call director. She is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for listening closely and asking the right follow up questions to ensure this at-need caller was assisted without delay.
Click here to read about March’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” Award Winners
Has ASD ever handled a particularly difficult or challenging call for your funeral home? Leave us a comment and tell us about it!
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