Jan 27, 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 January:
Family members are often at a loss for words when calling a funeral home. Terminology such as “prearrangements” can be unfamiliar to them. ASD Call Specialists understand this and are specifically trained to listen to both what is said and what is unspoken. This week our Call Specialist, Brad, answered a call from a gentleman who stated that he wanted to talk to a director about his mother but that it was not an “immediate situation” so he could call back later. Brad was able to determine from this that the caller’s mother was in poor health and the gentleman wanted to start a dialogue with the director about making preplans. He listened carefully, asked important follow up questions and repeated information back for accuracy. The caller stated that he would be traveling and might be unavailable, but Brad was able to obtain his contact information by conveying that the directors were always available. Brad is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for recognizing this as an important preneed call and providing the proper reassurances to the caller.
Nurses and funeral directors share many things in common including long hours and emotional stress. Both professions come in close contact with death and deal with grieving families often. When ASD Call Specialists hear a nurse with a rushed tone of voice, we know how likely it is that he or she just came off a long shift of difficult work. This week our Training Specialist, Tina, answered a call from a nurse who needed to know what time the director would be arriving to transport the deceased. When Tina asked for the name of the person who passed, the nurse became frustrated and replied that the funeral home should already have the information She was upset because the morgue was almost full. Tina calmly explained that she did not see a record of any recent deaths being reported and would be notifying the director immediately. The nurse then relayed the information the funeral home needed on the deceased. As it turned out, the death had never been reported to the funeral home due to a miscommunication at the hospital. Tina is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for responding gently to this upset nurse and gathering the information the funeral home needed to handle the first call.
When a death occurs, it is common for there to be a lot of activity at the residence of the family as multiple relatives and friends will stop by to provide support. This week our Call Specialist, Randell, answered a call from a woman inquiring when the funeral home would be open. Randell could hear a great deal of noise in the background, and after relaying the funeral home’s office hours he immediately stated, “but the directors are always available to speak with. Has someone passed or is this regarding a service?” The caller stated that someone had passed and began to provide details. Then suddenly, she said, “but it’s actually my friend’s dad who died. Hold on.” Randell was then put on the line with the daughter of the deceased who was much more upset on the phone. The family had many visitors over and while it was difficult to hear at times, Randell spoke gently to the caller and read back the information he was given to confirm everything was correct. He is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for handling the challenges of this call professionally and compassionately while ensuring the complete accuracy of the information obtained for the funeral director.
This week our Call Specialist, Mia, answered a call from a woman who wanted the phone number and address of the funeral home’s second location. After relaying this information, Mia gently asked the caller if someone passed. It turned out the caller was contacting multiple funeral homes to find one that could accommodate a Sunday funeral service. Rather than allowing the caller to disconnect, Mia explained that she was answering for both locations and that a director was always available. She then connected the caller directly to the on-call director. Mia is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for asking the right follow up questions and ensuring the funeral home had an opportunity to serve this family.
Click here to read about our Top 10 Funeral Home Calls of 2014.
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