Apr 27, 2016
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. Each week, ASD spotlights a Call Specialist who handles a particularly challenging call with patience and accuracy as the “Sensitive Save” award winner. 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:
When a person is grieving, they are often too overwhelmed to know what steps need to be taken, especially if the loss was unexpected. In some cases, it can be hard for close relatives to think rationally. This week our Assistant Supervisor, James, handled a call for a gentleman who lost his father. Rather than calling the funeral home directly, the gentleman called the local police department’s non-emergency number because he believed the hospital was going to cremate his father’s body without the family’s consent. After the police dispatcher explained the situation, James asked her to patch him through to the gentleman. When the caller came on the line, it was clear that he was very upset. James gently provided his condolences to the caller and assured him that the funeral director would be able to walk him through everything. The caller was extremely anxious and worried about how to arrange for services, but James helped put him at ease by listening carefully, using a sympathetic voice and providing reassurances throughout the call. James is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for offering care and support throughout this challenging call.
Most people don’t know that funeral directors remain available to families 24/7. For this reason, our Call Specialists must often assure callers that their needs are a top priority and that a funeral director would want to be notified of a situation right away. Last Sunday, our Call Specialist, Elisabeth, answered a call from a woman who wanted to know when the office would be open. After Elisabeth provided the funeral home office hours, the caller asked if she should call back the following day. Elisabeth explained that someone was always available. The caller then revealed that her brother in law was close to passing and the family was trying to get everything together. When Elisabeth offered to contact someone immediately, the caller hesitated again and asked, “Are you sure they won’t mind, with it being the weekend and everything?” In a caring and reassuring tone, Elisabeth replied, “I promise they will not mind”, prompting the caller to provide her contact information. Elisabeth is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for skillfully conveying to this caller how dedicated the funeral home was to serving the needs of her family.
One of the most important skills that ASD Call Specialists must exhibit during training is the ability to listen patiently and actively to callers. This week our Assistant Supervisor, Chris, answered a call from a woman who stated that the funeral home had handled her father’s service back in 2013. The caller began giving details about her father’s past service and then stated that she was interested in having her mother’s ashes interred with her fathers. This led Chris to gently inquire if the woman’s mother had recently passed. The caller then revealed the true reason for her call – her mother was very sick and she needed to finalize her prearrangements. By listening carefully without interruption, Chris was able to understand the full scope of the situation and earn the caller’s trust. She is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for remaining attentive and caring throughout the conversation, ensuring the caller knew her needs were a high priority to the funeral home.
When a person who does not speak English loses a loved one, it is common for them to ask another family member or a friend to contact the funeral home on their behalf. This week our Call Specialist, Stephen, answered a call from a gentleman who wanted to know the phone number for a local cemetery. When Stephen offered to relay a message to a funeral director, the caller began speaking to someone else in a different language and when he returned to the line he said, “we can just call another time.” Before he could hang up, Stephen gently inquired if someone had passed away. The caller then revealed that he was calling on behalf of a friend who only spoke Vietnamese. “I don’t know if they will want to talk to me because I am not family but the daughter doesn’t speak English.” Stephen assured the caller that a director was available to assist him further and could walk him through the process. This prompted the caller to provide his contact information, allowing Stephen to immediately contact the director. Stephen is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for helping the gentleman feel more at ease and ensuring the director was notified of the passing without any 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