Oct 06, 2022
In 1972, ASD Founders Marty and Barbara Czachor sought to establish a small answering service business to support their growing family. Never could they have imagined their company would become the leading answering service for funeral homes a half-century later, working with more than 9,000 funeral homes across the United States and Canada. The story of ASD’s growth and evolution over the past five decades is one of passion, innovation, and leadership. From the beginning, our goal has been to improve the world by improving communication and to help those who are dedicated to helping others.
Below, we trace our company’s roots back to our founding and provide of a timeline of our company’s most pivotal moments. In the last part of our blog series, we look back on the most recent years of our company’s history. From our shift to an entirely remote operation to the development of exciting new texting features, the last few years at ASD have certainly been eventful. Our ability to adapt to the unexpected challenges brought on by the pandemic have made our company stronger and more resilient going into the future.
Please note: this blog is part of a series that traces ASD’s 50-year history though our company’s most significant milestones:
Click here to read Part I which records our history from 1972-1999.
Click here to read Part II which records our history from 1999-2010.
Click here to read Part III which records our history from 2010-2014.
Click here to read Part IV which records our history from 2014-early 2018.
After several impactful winter storms hit our local area, ASD begins taking more active steps to ensure staff can work remotely when necessary. By the end of 2018, more than 80 ASD employees have home computers.
ASD’s building after a series of snowstorms hit our local area in 2018.
ASD’s Web Form WatchDog™ feature is recognized with the 2018 NFDA Members’ Choice Award (formally called the Innovation Award) at the annual convention in Salt Lake City.
This is ASD’s fourth time claiming this prestigious award. ASD is also recognized with a nomination that same year for our Spanish Translation Services, making our company the only company to ever be nominated twice in the same year.
ASD is the only company to receive multiple NFDA Innovation Awards. We have had the honor of receiving this recognition on four different occasions.
In 2019, ASD introduces a new MobileFH® Texting feature which allows funeral homes to send and receive text messages using their funeral home’s main business phone number as the outgoing Caller ID. By the end of the year, funeral professionals had utilized this revolutionary feature to send more than 58,000 text messages.
On Friday, March 6, 2020, ASD’s owners learned that a person in our local area had tested positive for COVID-19. Upon learning this news, ASD took steps to seamlessly move all of our operations to an entirely remote system. This major shift was simplified by the fact that ASD had previously established remote systems and a majority of staff already had home computers. As time went on, ASD took additional steps to fully support our new work-from-home office model, including the development of remote hiring and training solutions as well as many hardware and software upgrades to our system at large.
ASD staff working remotely from their homes.
During the month of April 2020, ASD was handling 1,000 more death calls per day than our typical average. The abundance of calls in the New York City area crippled the death care industry and caused dreadful backlogs like never before. With the lockdowns and social distancing, loved ones were isolated during this grief process. ASD Call Specialists provided a kind voice offering support to people in their most difficult period. We could not create a timeline of our company’s history without acknowledging the trauma our staff went through during this period and recognizing the ministry they serve in helping all people.
Throughout the year in 2020, ASD’s owners sent their staff a variety of gifts to acknowledge their hard work and dedication. From specially made apparel recognizing employees as essential workers to gourmet meals and gift baskets, these special deliveries allowed us to show our staff how much we appreciated all of their efforts.
Summer 2020 led to the development of a new Obit Texting solution that enables ASD Call Specialists to text obituary information to funeral homes callers who are requesting those details. This feature, which is offered to all ASD clients at no cost, helps make obituary information more accessible to callers while enhancing the funeral home’s brand. This feature was especially useful for funeral homes during the pandemic because it made it simple for ASD to text callers URLs to funeral live streams.
Obit Texting was the first of several new texting features ASD’s technical team has worked to integrate in our systems. In 2021, we developed a similar Florist Recommendation Texting solution, allowing our Call Specialists to text callers details on the funeral home’s preferred local florist. And, this past August, we introduced our new NEXT STEP Text™ feature which helps funeral homes to provide important funeral planning resources to families immediately following the first call. Click on the image below to learn more about ASD’s new texting features.
In early 2021, we begin releasing our Quick Tip Videos. Each video focuses on a different technology solution we created that can help funeral directors to enhance their communications and save time. The videos are all just a few minutes long and provide helpful, step-by-step demonstrations of how to accomplish goals such as replying to ASD messages, updating on-call instructions or customizing app notification settings.
In May 2021, ASD records the 10,000th version update to our company’s answering service system. From the early days of call forwarding, to the addition of the ASD Mobile app integrations and the evolution of our company’s remote capabilities, ASD’s funeral home answering service system 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.
Like many companies in 2021, ASD was faced with a staff shortage brought on by a myriad of different factors. In response to this challenge, we made a critical decision to pivot to an entirely remote work force which has allowed us to hire and train employees in states outside of our local area. Our company now has a dedicated remote team in South Carolina with more than 70 Call Specialists residing in that state. ASD’s proactive approach to the unprecedented staffing challenges of last year has opened the door for our company to provide an even higher level of service to its clients, especially to thousands of funeral homes located in the southern United States.
In 2022, ASD officially turned 50! We are celebrating our 50th Anniversary year with a Client Cocktail Party to be held during the 2022 NFDA Convention in Baltimore. The party will take place on Monday, October 10th at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. We hope you’ll join us for a relaxing and fun evening among friends as we celebrate 50 years of ASD’s history. Visit myasd.com/cocktailparty to learn more or to RSVP.
Thank you for reading about ASD’s history and evolution through the years. Click on the links below to learn about other chapter’s from ASD’s past.
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