May 11, 2021
ASD recently achieved a significant milestone, recording the 10,000th version update to our company’s answering service system. ASD’s Vice President and Family-Member Owner, Marty Czachor Jr., first custom-designed our company’s state-of the-art telephone answering computer system back in the mid-90s. Since that time, it has been updated 10,000 times with numerous enhancements.
From the early days of call forwarding, to the addition of the ASD Mobile app integrations and the evolution of the company’s remote capabilities, ASD’s funeral home answering service system otherwise known as StationMaster (“SM”), has proven to be highly adaptable and customizable. Each version update represents a new stage in the development of ASD’s technical solutions for funeral homes. ASD’s ability to continually refine SM has enabled our company to develop features and tools specifically for the funeral profession.
It is not a typical thing for an answering service company to develop their own custom-built technology in-house. Most utilize a third-party software and are therefore at the mercy of those vendors who do not work directly for their company or their clientele. ASD’s flexible technology programs and in-house tech team have allowed our company to remain highly innovative, developing multiple patented solutions no other answering service can offer.
One of the most significant updates to impact ASD’s SM was the development of the ASD Mobile app, first introduced to funeral directors in 2011. The app integrated directly with SM, giving funeral directors the ability to review all communications (including written messages and call recordings), update the on-call instructions on their ASD account, send funeral service details for ASD to relay to callers, and set up automated communication methods such as texting and push notifications. Directly linking SM to the ASD Mobile app has dramatically transformed communications for thousands of funeral professionals across the country.
The introduction of mobile phones ushered in a new wave of technical advancements. ASD was able to remain on the forefront, creating solutions to help funeral directors be more efficient. These automated processes built into SM eliminated the need for a lot of manual work, allowing funeral directors to reply to their messages via text or mobile app rather than having to take the time to call ASD to have their messages read aloud.
The most recent major update to SM occurred when ASD sought to expand our company’s remote capabilities. ASD began exploring these options several years prior to the pandemic tohelp our staff work safely and effectively from home during major weather events. ASD’s Technical Team established an ultra-secure VoIP link which our Call Specialists use to easily access SM from their home computer.
An ASD Call Specialist logged into StationMaster from her home.
When COVID hit, ASD was able to seamlessly transition to a completely work-from-home model. Of course, moving our entire workforce to a remote system required a great deal of SM updates. ASD’s in-house technology team spent the better half of 2020 upgrading computer hardware and software along with implementing many custom improvements to SM to handle COVID-related requests.
While these big updates are certainly noteworthy moments in the history of SM, Marty and our Technical Team also add small but important enhancements to the system on an almost daily basis. Just about every day, all of us will receive a message instructing us to update our computer to implement a new code of programming. Take for example the recent updates made leading up to the 10,000th version update. Most of these updates revolved around code changes to better support remote training, making it simpler for ASD Training Specialists to remotely screenshare with new employees.
Marty speaking to funeral professionals at funeral home conventions in the past.
“My brother is the last person to toot his own horn, so I have to do it for him. What Marty and his team have been able to achieve is truly remarkable,” says ASD Vice President and Family-Member Owner, Kevin Czachor. “StationMaster is Marty’s creation – he began programming it more than 25 years ago and has never stopped looking for ways to make it better. He loves talking to funeral directors to find out what new solutions he can develop to make their lives easier. He is so passionate about helping funeral directors streamline their processes. It’s amazing that today we still have a few clients who call in and ask us to read messages, but the vast majority have discovered how ASD’s technology can make their lives better. Innovation is such a huge part of ASD’s company DNA and none of it would be possible without Marty creating that very first version of StationMaster!”
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