Aug 28, 2014
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. ASD spotlights a Call Specialist as the “Sensitive Save” award winner each week who handles a particularly challenging call with patience and accuracy. 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 August:
At ASD, our Call Specialists are trained to understand that family members may be confused or overwhelmed when making the necessary phone calls after the loss of a loved one. They are often going down a list of numbers and often will forget who should be notified. This week our Call Specialist, Stephanie, answered a call from a woman who immediately began giving information on her father’s residence, social security number and veteran records. The woman sounded hurried on the phone, so Stephanie took note of this information without interrupting. When the woman paused, Stephanie then asked gently, “Has your father just passed away?” The caller thought her mother had already made the initial call to the funeral home, but then realized she had not. Stephanie expressed her condolences and read back the details the woman stated in the beginning of the call for accuracy. This gave the caller a chance to breath and calm down, and let her know that her concerns were heard. Stephanie is this week’s “Sensitive Save” of the week winner for helping this upset and confused family member through a very difficult process.
Reporting a passing to a funeral home can be extremely stressful task for family members. This week our Senior Call Specialist, Trina, answered a call from an elderly gentleman who was calling from a very loud environment. The caller mentioned that he wanted to come in to look at caskets and then put Trina on hold to speak to someone else in the room. When he returned to the line, he stated that he had the wrong number. Before he could hang up, Trina quickly assured him that he had correctly dialed the funeral home and someone was always available to assist him. She then inquired if someone has passed. As it turned out, the gentleman’s had just lost his brother. He was at the hospital with several phone numbers in front of him and was confused while trying to make all of the necessary phone calls. Trina is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” Winner for providing this overwhelmed caller with the reassurances he needed and ensuring the director could make contact without delay.
ASD has created several call handling procedures that help our Call Specialists to put callers at ease. One of these standards is to always state your name when speaking to a relative who is reporting a passing. This week our Call Specialist, Ian, handled a call that demonstrated why this is so important. The call was answered shortly before the funeral home was to open for the day. The gentleman calling said he would call back but before he could hang up, Ian asked, “Is this regarding someone’s passing or making arrangements?” The gentleman stated that someone had passed but it would be easier to just call back. Ian then stated, “We have someone on call specifically in case someone passes. My name is Ian, if I could gather some information…” This put the caller at ease immediately. Ian was able to gather all of the information the director needed while ensuring the family understood their needs were a high priority to the funeral home. He is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for providing this caller with the reassurances he needed to hear.
Funeral directors will often serve the same family for many generations after establishing a strong level of trust. This week our Call Specialist, Jessica, answered a call from a gentleman who stated that the funeral home had handled his mother’s service several years ago. The gentleman gave several details about the type of service they had chosen for his mother and where she was buried. Jessica took this information down and obtained the caller’s name and telephone number. The caller thanked her and was about to hang up when she inquired if he had any specific question about his mother’s past service. This led the caller to reveal that his father had actually just passed away and the family wanted to duplicate what they had chosen for his mother’s service. This call exemplifies why ASD Call Specialists are trained to never assume a call is not related to a recent passing. Jessica is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for asking the right discovery questions to identify the true reason for the call and notifying the on-call director immediately.
Click here to read last month’s Sensitive Save of the Week winners
Has ASD ever handled a particularily 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