Jan 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 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 of the Week” winners for the month of January:
ASD Call Specialists know that the earlier the on-call funeral director is notified of a passing, the sooner he or she can make preparations. However, it is common for family members to hesitate before relaying first call details simply because they do not wish to bother the on-call. This week our Call Specialist, Jamie, answered a call from a woman who immediately stated, “I forgot they weren’t open today because of the holiday. I’ll call back.” Before the woman could disconnect, Jamie asked her if she could obtain her contact information. The caller gave her name and phone number and then stated, “It’s not really an emergency, I just want to drop off some information.” It turned out the caller wanted to drop off paperwork to complete a prearrangement policy because her brother had just passed away. Since he was being held at the medical examiner’s office, the caller didn’t feel her call was urgent even though the director wanted to be notified immediately. Jamie is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for following the director’s instructions and reassuring the caller that someone would want to speak to her right away.
At ASD, our Call Specialists are trained to inflect emotion and compassion in their voice, which can make all the difference when a caller is reporting a passing. This week our Training Specialist, Jeff, answered an early morning call from a woman asking for office hours. Jeff relayed the information and the woman responded, “Ok fine, thank you bye.” Before she could hang up, Jeff gently asked if everything was ok. The woman’s voice immediately cracked as she stated, “I already advised them yesterday that my mother was ill. She passed away this morning and I think you already got a call.” In fact, the facility had not called yet. Jeff was then able to gather all the information the director needed while conveying empathy to the caller. Jeff is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for making this caller feel more at ease with his gentle and compassionate phone demeanor.
In today’s economic climate, many cost-conscious families contact multiple funeral homes to compare packages and prices. At ASD, we’ve learned that the most optimal way to handle a price shopper call is to patch the caller through to the on-call, however not all funeral directors want to be patched directly to callers. This week our Training Specialist, Barbara, answered a call for a funeral home that did not want calls patched from a woman who was on the funeral home’s website looking for prices. Barbara quickly confirmed that someone had recently passed but the caller wanted an immediate answer. When Barbara asked for a phone number, the woman responded, “That’s ok. I’m really just trying to get information right now.” Barbara then immediately replied in a reassuring voice, “I’m going to have them call you right back. I’m going to contact someone as soon as we hang up. What is your telephone number” The caller then provided Barbara with the details she needed. She is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for using ASD’s Proper Call Control to obtain contact information so the director would not miss an opportunity to serve this caller and her family.
When a caller needs to know about the cost of services after a passing, it is common for them to sound vague or elusive on the phone, either because they are unsure of the terminology or uncomfortable asking for a price. This week our Training Specialist, Rosemary, answered a call from a gentleman who said he wanted information on Pre-Arrangements. As Rosemary began gathering his contact information, she began to pick up on subtle clues such as the caller’s tone of voice and the background noise that lead her to ask, ‘Has someone just passed away, Sir?” It turned out the caller’s brother in law had passed and he was looking for pricing, but was hesitant because the next of kin had little means. Rosemary immediately offered to patch the caller to the director, ensuring this family in need could be helped without delay. She is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for paying close attention to not only the caller’s words but what wasn’t being said by listening to his tone of voice and picking up on subtle, unspoken details.
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