Feb 26, 2016
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. Each week, ASD spotlights a Call Specialist who handles a particularly challenging call with patience and accuracy as the “Sensitive Save” award winner. 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:
It is common for friends of the family to call a funeral home to report a passing when relatives are too upset to speak or when there is a language barrier. This week our Training Specialist, Brittany, answered at a call from a woman who stated she was lost trying to find the funeral home. After Brittney provided some details on the funeral home location, she inquired if the woman was coming for an appointment. The woman than began speaking to someone else in a different language who sounded very upset. A moment later she returned to the line and stated that she was trying to come to the funeral home to make arrangements. Brittany inquired if someone had passed and the woman confirmed that her friend’s husband had died and the immediate family could only speak Russian. Brittany assured the caller that a director would be notified without delay and asked if she could gather a little information. The caller then relayed all of the information the funeral home needed by translating for her friend. Brittany is our “Sensitive Save of the Week Winner” because her patience and attention to detail ensured the on-call director could reconnect with the family immediately.
Funeral professionals remain available to families 24/7, no matter if they are in need of embalming and burial or a direct cremation. This week our Assistant Supervisor, Mandie, answered a call from a woman who asked for the funeral home office hours. When Mandie provided this, the caller said, “I’m calling to see how much cremation costs. I guess I’ll call later.” Mandie explained that a director was always available and asked the woman if someone had just passed. The caller responded, “My husband. He didn’t want a service or anything though. I’m just trying to abide by what he said. I guess I should try back.” Mandie assured the caller that she didn’t need to call back later because a director would want to speak with her immediately and could answer any questions she had about cremation. The woman then provided more details, including her contact information. Mandie is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” award winner for ensuring this caller remained on the line and understood that her needs were a high priority to the funeral home.
To be hired by ASD, every employee must pass an auditory recall test that assesses his or her listening skills. This is especially critical at ASD as there are many challenges that could arise on any call. This week our Advanced Call Specialist, Corrine, handled an especially difficult call from a gentleman who sounded as though he was in a crowded room. The caller asked Corrine if the funeral home was open and she explained that the office was closed but the directors could always be reached. In a muffled tone, the caller stated he would call back on Monday. Corrine followed up by asking if the call was related to a recent passing. The caller responded after a long pause, “No, not yet, I just need information.” This was barely audible above the voices in the background. The caller began speaking to other people in the room and Corrine could hear words in the background such as “cremation” and “hospice” and inferred that someone was very close to passing. She immediately told the caller, “There is a director available to assist you. What is the phone number where you can be reached right now.” This statement let the caller know that he would be hearing back from someone right away. He then provided his contact information. Corrine is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for the careful listening skills she exhibited throughout this challenging call. Despite the many distractions, she was able to understand the situation immediately and persuade the caller to remain on the line.
When a death is imminent, close friends of the family will often step in to help the family with making funeral plans. This allows the immediate family to focus all of their time and attention on their loved one. This past weekend, our Call Specialist, Carly, answered a call from a woman who wanted to stop by the funeral home to discuss arrangements. Carly explained that the funeral home office was closed but a director was always available to be contacted. The woman then hesitated before saying she would call another time. This prompted Carly to ask if someone had passed. The caller responded, “Not really but he is very very sick. This is for my friend’s husband, so I will have to have her call you. I don’t know her availability.” Carly immediately assured the woman that a director would be able answer all of her questions without delay and let her know the best time to stop by the funeral home. The caller then provided more details about the situation as well as her contact information. Carly is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” for the gentle and patient reassurance she provided to help this caller feel more comfortable.
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