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9 Helpful Solutions ASD Staff Wishes More Funeral Directors Knew About

May 04, 2017

On a daily basis, thousands of conversations take place
between ASD staff and funeral directors. Every day, our employees handle
17,000 incoming calls for funeral homes and dispatch
3,000 messages to on-call directors. This level of contact
provides ASD with a unique understanding of the lifestyle of a funeral director
and the challenges you face. For this reason, ASD’s Tech team is in constant
communication with our Operations team to collect feedback on different
solutions our clients need. Nearly every feature our company has created
originated from an idea shared by a client with one of our employees.

realize that funeral directors have limited time to learn a new method or
technology. What we’ve discovered is that so often the greatest
hurdle we have in helping funeral directors resolve communication issues is not
creating a solution, but getting the word out to our clients. We recently
reached out to our staff to inquire what ASD solutions they thought more of our
clients could benefit from.

We hope this list will encourage more of our clients to take
advantage of all of the different features and options ASD provides.

ASD Staff Answers: I wish more funeral directors knew…

1. “I wish more funeral directors knew they can deliver their messages through the ASD Mobile app, website, and text messaging”

“I wish more of our clients knew that they can save or
delete messages via the app, website, or text. Especially the new clients
says Training Specialist,
Jenna Gormley. “I tend to tell clients this all the
time. We have so many clients that actually dial in and say, ‘I got the text.’”

Are you one of our clients who calls ASD every time you are
notified with an urgent message to let us know you received it? While we love
talking to funeral directors and enjoy all of our interactions with our clients,
we want to make sure you are aware that ASD can give your funeral home staff added time to
confirm receipt of incoming messages without being contacted
via phone call. We can send the on-call
directors a push notification and/or text message and wait a predetermined
number of minutes before dialing any number to dispatch the message, giving you time to reply to let us know you received your message. Instead of
being charged for outgoing calls from ASD, you can respond via
ASD Mobile, text-message or This option
reduces your funeral home’s billable calls while providing much needed freedom
from telephone disruptions.

2. “I wish funeral
directors knew they could customize what questions we ask during First Calls.”

We have multiple templates that
can be set up for various 1st call scenarios
,” says Client Solutions Representative,
Shannon Mowbray. “Some of our clients have templates for when
Families call in and then one for Facilities, but what about when a Coroner,
911 Dispatcher, ME, calls, or when a death is reported for a pet? Most of
the time they will not have the same amount of information that a Nurse at a
facility would have. We can customize these templates to better service
the type of callers that are coming in.”

When you think ASD, think
. We don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all business mindset and we don’t
think you should have to either. This is especially true when it comes to your
First Calls. With ASD, you maintain complete control over what information is
gathered and what questions are asked when a death is reported. We can gather
different information depending on who is reporting the death. You can even
specify what phrases should be used during the call. By
giving our clients complete control over how First Calls are answered, ASD can
act as an extension of the funeral home’s staff.

3. “I wish more
funeral directors knew they can disguise their Caller ID with our MobileFH®

“I think one of our best features is that a client is able
to call from their cell phone and make it look like the call is coming from the
funeral home
,” says Training Specialist, Jennifer Hoffman. “I have been asked
when giving a message to a director to reverse patch the funeral director to
the caller so the caller wouldn’t have their number. We also have many accounts
with notes stating that callers must allow private #s in order for the director
to call them back. MobileFH® allows the funeral director and his/her family to
maintain a level of privacy and boundaries that often times people will cross
if they have a cell phone number.”

Boundaries: now there is a word most funeral directors have
almost completely forgotten. That dividing line between your professional and
personal life grows more and more muddled when you work in the funeral
profession. Directors go above and beyond to extend themselves to others and to
provide support, sometimes at the expense of their own personal lives. We
understand how difficult it can be to set aside time for yourself and to
maintain your privacy. Remaining available to families in their time of need
shouldn’t rob you of your own peace of mind, so we created MobileFH® to help
you get it back.

Using this patented feature, you can display the funeral
home’s main office line as your outgoing Caller ID when making calls from your
cell phone. This ensures you will not be disturbed by business-related calls
when off-duty. With MobileFH®, families will always recognize who is calling
them and know what number they should call back, and you don’t have to worry
about unintentionally offending someone by blocking your Caller ID. Best of
all, you get to keep your cell phone number private without sacrificing level
of service.

4. “I wish more
funeral directors knew they could provide us with complete obituary information
when sending us service details.”

“When funeral homes
include a lot of detailed info in the obituary information they send to us, it
often saves them a call or message to return
,” says ASD Call Specialist, Amy
. “I have the information in front of me to say, ‘Yes, Mr. Smith’s wife’s
name is Mary” or “the funeral home requests flowers be delivered to the church
by 3pm.”

If you ask any employee at ASD what their favorite thing is
about working here, nine times out of ten the response you’ll hear is,
“I like
helping people.”
Indeed, this is one of the unique hallmarks of our staff. Our
employees want to help your callers. The more information you provide us with,
the better equipped our staff is to answer questions and represent your funeral
home. We invite our clients to send us details on their upcoming service via,
ASD Mobile, Fax or Voicemail.

We provide a wide range of options for this because the common questions ASD receives are about upcoming funeral services and we want to
make it as convenient as possible for you to share your information. Sending us
the complete obituary with all of the service details (including recommended
florists or where to send donations) as well as details on the person who
passed and his/her family, helps us to answer your callers’ questions more
completely. Moreover, providing this data can also save you a great deal of time because you
have fewer calls to return.

5. “I wish more
funeral directors knew the differences between our different on-call options.”

“Our on-call options are often misunderstood by directors
who sometimes don’t understand why they are being reached for a particular
message,” says ASD Training Specialist,
Jenna Gormley.

we are committed to offering you the choices and customizations to make
monitoring your telephone activity convenient. We know that your availability
can change often, which is why we offer four different on-call options to match
your changing needs. These options are sometimes misinterpreted by our clients
and we recently color-coded them to help you better understand how ASD screens
your calls.

  • Code
    (also sometimes referred as “Normal Criteria”): When creating an account
    with ASD, clients let us know the reasons they want to be contacted by ASD in
    the future. We then use this information to create an account profile with a
    customizable list displaying the type of calls that are most important to you.
    There are currently over sixty different call classifications (example:
    Florist, Plots, Clergy, etc). We document your funeral home’s preferences
    thoroughly to ensure that you are only contacted for the calls you specify. You
    can change your normal contact procedures with a Supervisor 24/7 by calling
    800-868-9950 Ext. 2.
  • Code Red
    – (also referred to as “New First Calls Only”): Our most restrictive on-call
    option, Code Red is limited to new first calls that you are not already aware
    of or issues related to a pending removal. When you receive a call from ASD
    you’ll know immediately that the call is regarding a recent passing. All other
    messages will be left in your mailbox for future retrieval via ASD Mobile,, or our voicemail system.
  • Code
    (also referred to as “Death Only”): This checkout option also limits how
    often you are contacted by ASD but it includes other, death-related calls that
    you may want to be contacted for without delay. Messages that fall under the
    “Death Only” on-call option include anything that may lead to new business for
    the funeral home (including preneed calls) or anything time-sensitive related
    to a recent passing (including calls from families you are currently serving).
  • Code Green (also referred to as
    “Contact On All Calls”): For directors that prefer to be contacted for every
    call, ASD offers a Code Green on-call option that ensures you will be notified
    for every message we handle for your funeral home. Depending on your needs, you can opt to use “Contact On All
    Calls” temporarily or as your normal contact procedure. Many of our clients
    have chosen to use “Contact On All Calls” during office hours and switch to
    “Death Only” once the office has closed for the night.

Your funeral home has the flexibility
to switch back and forth between
your normal contact procedure and one of our more restrictive on-call options,
depending on your needs. You can switch your on-call status 24/7 on our app,
website or by calling 800-868-9950 ext. 2 to speak with one of our

6. “I wish more
funeral directors knew they could
synchronize their obituaries on
their current website with ASD through our FuneralSync program.”

“With this feature enabled, we
can provide their callers real time information on service details; times,
locations, etc.,”
says Client Solutions Representative, Shannon Mowbray. “This
feature also eliminates the need for our clients to manually enter, fax or call
in their obits saving them money and time.”

professionals spend hours every week entering data into their funeral
management systems and posting information on their websites. FuneralSync™ was
created by ASD more than a decade ago to help our clients reclaim the time once
spent on these redundant tasks. The feature allows you to automatically
transfer funeral service information from your funeral home’s website to ASD.
You can also use FuneralSync™ to pull First Call information, including call
recordings, from ASD directly into your funeral home’s management program.

In 2016, more than a quarter of a million obituaries were automatically transferred over to
ASD through FuneralSync™. Each obit represents time ASD has given back to our
clients. Rather than having to log into various databases and copy/paste
information into multiple fields, the data is automatically synced without any
effort. If
you do not currently have FuneralSync™ enabled, we encourage you to contact
your website and software providers and ask them to activate it. Click here to learn more or to see a list of current providers that are integrated
with ASD.

7. “I wish more
funeral directors knew about our Common Callers feature.”

“I wish more funeral directors knew they can send us
information on their common callers as well as on local establishments so we
can provide information to callers,”
says ASD Supervisor, Jen Hoban.

We know
how important it is for you to offer a personal touch to callers who contact
your funeral home. That is why ASD encourages you to utilize our Helpers tool
so that we can assist your callers with information about your local area
24/7. Help ASD to better recognize an incoming first call by providing
addresses and phone numbers for local hospitals and nursing
homes. Add your recommended hotels and florists so we can assist callers needing this information on your behalf. Provide us with details on your local cemeteries so we
can help not only callers attending an upcoming graveside service, but also
those that are trying to locate a plot or get in contact with a cemetery about
a past burial. If there is a person or company who routinely calls your funeral
home, provide us with their phone number so we can quickly recognize their incoming
call. These are just a few of the ways to use
ASD’s Helper and Common Callers feature to help us better represent your
funeral home. Providing this data to ASD also saves you time because you will
have fewer calls to return.

“I wish more funeral directors knew they could add local
facilities, like hospitals and nursing homes, via,”
affirms ASD
Andrew Troutt.

8. “I wish more funeral directors knew the best method
for using our CareTracker™ feature.”

“I often receive compliments for messages that are actually
notes for the account saying things such as, ‘service info for Joe Doe is
pending still’,”
says ASD Call Specialist, Amy Whitby. “I think it might be
helpful for more of our clients to understand the use of our CareTracker™
feature how/why it should be used.”

With ASD’s CareTracker™ feature, you can quickly leave a
compliment, concern or comment on any call. This helpful tool can be accessed
from within both the ASD Mobile app and and displays within every
message. Want to make a Call Specialist’s day? Select the smiley face to leave positive feedback on a call you feel was handled exceptionally. If you ever hear a call that you feel could
have been handled better, select the sad face icon to share your concerns. Comments
that are sent via CareTracker™ are copied immediately to ASD’s Supervision team
for review.

Sometimes, you may notice during a call that a notation
or procedure on your account should be updated. Use the chat icon (between the
smiley and sad face icons) to communicate your comment to ASD. The call will
copied immediately to a Supervisor to review what changes should be made to
your account. Be sure to select the correct icon when sending your feedback to
ensure it is addressed properly. We strongly value your opinions and encourage
you to use CareTracker™ to share your feedback and help ASD better serve your
funeral home.

9. “I wish more funeral directors took advantage of our
Rewards Program.”

“I wish that more of our clients knew that if they currently use or plan on using one of
our Rewards partners, they can get discounts off their ASD bill,”
says ASD
Client Solutions Representative,
Shannon Mowbray.

Established in 2011, the ASD Rewards Program provides
exclusive discounts to ASD clients when you conduct business with our
participating Rewards Partners. More than $100,000 in savings has been
distributed to our clients under the popular program. By working with
more than 10 partners in
the funeral profession
that offer different services and
discounts, the ASD Rewards Program allows you to earn credits in a variety of
ways. With enough credits, you can greatly reduce or even eliminate your entire
ASD bill. This gives you an exclusive way to achieve a competitive advantage
that directly impacts the funeral home’s bottom line.

Special thanks to our staff for providing their expertise on this topic. Please share below in the comments your
experience using these features or any questions you may have about our service
and technology.

Related Reading:

7 ASD Features You Haven’t Tried Yet

ASD’s Top 10 Tools For Funeral Home Growth

40 Common Questions Funeral Directors Have About Answering Services

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

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