Oct 30, 2013
When ASD Training Specialist, Tia, first started at ASD, she already possessed a strong understanding of funeral planning and the nature of grief. Tia grew up in a family-owned funeral home and throughout her youth she observed her father and grandfather meeting with families and conducting services. Although Tia was still young when her family sold the funeral business, the experience has shaped her performance at ASD and has motivated her to seek out work that helps others. After observing Tia’s patience, accuracy and knowledge of funeral customs, ASD’s Operations Managers promoted her to a Trainer position so she could teach new Call Specialists how to respond to funeral home callers. In addition to her outstanding telephone skills, Tia has a strong work ethic and is often the first to volunteer to help a co-worker in need. We are proud to feature Tia as October’s Employee Spotlight of the Month.
Click here to see last month’s spotlight.
What do you think is the most important aspect of your job at ASD?
The most important aspect of my job, like any other job, is that I get to help people. But I get to help two different ways at the same time. I get to help the directors by making sure their phones are answered while they are out of the office, with a family or conducting a service. Being a funeral director’s kid I understand how important it is to have this help. I would have never seen my dad if he had to stay in the office all the time. But besides the directors I also get to help the callers. I make sure that their calls are answered, help them when I can and deliver their important messages to the directors. It’s very satisfying to know I can help people in their time of need and help the directors so they can live their lives without worrying about who is answering their phone.
What was one of your most difficult calls & how did you help this caller?
Almost every call is difficult in its own way because we speak to people every day who have lost a loved one. One night, I had a caller who was hysterical because the removal team dropped her mother while they were transporting her out of the home. She was extremely upset and said that the mother’s body was lying on the front lawn. I quickly apologized and told her I would contact a director right away. By the end of the call, she had calmed down. I was able to use the skills I learned here at ASD to diffuse the situation and help out the caller.
What are some of your personal hobbies and interests?
I like to cook. My grandmother was Italian and always in the kitchen. I learned from her, my other grandmother and the numerous cookbooks I have read. And now I’m learning from Pinterest! I wouldn’t say I am an accomplished chef but I make a pretty mean Chicken Parmesan. Other than that, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, watching movies and reading.
What was it like spending time in your family’s funeral home as a child and how did that experience influence your work at ASD?
Growing up in the funeral industry was definitely different. I was afraid to be in the funeral home when I was young until I was reminded by one of the directors that it’s not the dead people that will hurt you—it’s the living! Finally, I got comfortable and, being the inquisitive child I was, I started asking questions when I was allowed in the office. I learned that not every service is the same, people pre-plan funerals and have a lot of different options. But the most important thing I learned is that everyone copes with death differently. I think that knowing this helps me with my callers because I am prepared for the various emotions that people have when they are reporting a passing.
What are some things you learned from working at ASD?
I have learned a decent amount about different religions and how they mourn their dead. I have also learned about the different cultures and dialects of the United States and Canada. I find them interesting and I’m always learning more.
Each month, ASD will feature a different employee on our blog. Be sure to check back to see who November’s Employee Spotlight will feature.
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