Feb 26, 2015
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 February:
Funeral homes are one of few businesses where people will often stop by without setting up an appointment. It is common for ASD to answer calls from a family en route to the funeral home after a relative’s death. This week our Call Specialist, Kourtney, answered an early morning call from a woman who wanted to confirm the funeral home’s address. After Kourtney relayed this information, the caller was going to hang up, but Kourtney quickly asked if someone passed away or if she was coming to pre-plan. The caller stated that someone passed and she needed information on cremation but would just stop by the funeral home. Kourtney gently told the caller that while someone may not be in the office yet, a director was always on call and available. The caller was immediately put at ease when Kourtney stated, “I can reach out them immediately to confirm for you if someone is there.” She was recognized with the “Sensitive Save of the Week” award for ensuring the director was made aware of the passing before the family arrived unannounced at the funeral home.
This week our Assistant Supervisor, Alanna, answered a call from a woman asking for the funeral home’s office hours. After Alanna relayed this information, she immediately asked if the call was regarding a passing. This is an ASD standard – our Call Specialists are trained to assume that every call may be regarding a death until proven otherwise. The woman answered, “Yes, but I can call back after 10.” Alanna immediately assured her that a director on-call who could assist her. The caller then stated, “I’m going to be really honest with you. The person who passed – he didn’t have any insurance because he was very young. We’re going to have some trouble coming up with the funds. So we can call him back later when he’s in the office.” The caller assumed that on-call director would not want to be disturbed to speak with a price-conscious family. However, Alanna immediately assured her that someone was always available. “The director would want to help you right now. What number can you be reached at currently?” This question prompted the caller to leave all of her contact information and ensured the funeral home had an opportunity to connect with the family in need. Alanna was recognized with our “Sensitive Save of the Week” Award for sensitively reassuring this caller that her needs were of a high priority to the funeral home.
Funeral directors are sometimes contacted to handle the service for someone they know personally. Whether it’s a relative or a close friend reaching out, these calls are always extremely sensitive. This week our Senior Call Specialist, Kristen, answered a call from a woman asking what time the director would be in the office. After Kristin relayed the funeral home’s hours, the caller said she would just call back later. Before she could hang up, Kristin gently inquired if the call was regarding a passing. The woman then explained that someone in her family passed who was a good friend of the directors and that she only wanted to speak with him. Kristen assured the caller that the director was available to help. After gathering some information, she immediately patched the caller to the director. By offering to directly connect the call, Kristen was able to keep this caller on the line and ensure the funeral home could serve the family without delay. She was recognized with the “Sensitive Save of the Week” award for her oustanding work on this difficult call!
Reporting a passing over the phone can be extremely difficult for many family members. This week our Call Specialist, Amanda, answered a call from a woman who came on the line and stated, “I am having someone handle…arrangements.” The caller’s tone and the long pause in her voice led Amanda to immediately ask if someone passed. The caller answered that someone had but sounded short of breath. After relaying her condolences, Amanda gently told the caller, “I am just going to gather a little information from you and then have a director call you right back. If at any moment you feel you need to take a break or to pause while I am asking questions, just let me know okay?” Amanda’s compassionate tone helped the caller gain her composure and relay the information about her father who had just passed. She is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” Winner for her conveying empathy with her words and tone to comfort this upset caller.
Click here to read about January’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” Award Winners
Has ASD ever handled a particularly 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