Jul 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 July:
It’s common for funeral directors to manage both a funeral home and a cemetery. At ASD, we have developed specialized training for funeral home and cemetery combinations. This week our Assistant Supervisor, Kierstin, answered a call from a gentleman wanting to look up information on a plot that was purchased. By looking over the detailed information ASD had on file for this client, Kierstin could see that the funeral home and cemetery were both owned by the same director. Rather than just assuming this was a routine cemetery question, Kierstin inquired further if the caller needed to speak to someone on-call. The caller indicated he had a pressing need but was still vague about his reason for calling, so Kierstin gently asked if someone had just passed. As it turned out, a death had just occurred and the caller needed both the funeral home and the cemetery’s services. She is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the week” winner for asking the necessary follow up questions to determine the urgent nature of this call.
At ASD, we understand how important consistency is when handling calls for funeral homes. At-need calls can come in at any time and as most directors know, a large number of these calls are reported over night. Our third shift employees are trained to expect most late night calls to be in reference to a recent passing. Earlier this week, our Call Specialist, Kim, answered a call around 4 am from a gentleman who wanted to know the funeral home’s office hours. Kim immediately assured the caller that the directors were available 24/7 before gently asking him if someone passed away. The gentleman stated that his father passed away and he had questions, but that nothing needed to be done until the morning. Kim assured the caller that his needs were of a high priority and a funeral director wouldn’t mind answering these questions. The caller then gave Kim more details and praised the funeral home for being available to families so late. She is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for providing this early morning caller with the reassurances he needed to hear.
After the death of a patient, it is common for nurses to try to alleviate some of the pain families feel by contacting the funeral home on their behalf. This week our Assistant Supervisor, Chris, answered a call from an out-of-state nurse who was trying to track down a prearrangement policy for one of her patients. The caller initially thought she had the wrong number, but Chris immediately assured her that the funeral home used to go by a different name and a director was available to look up the policy. It turned out the nurse did dial the correct number and Chris’s quick assurances allowed the director to arrange for the transport of remains without any delay. She is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for her exceptional attention to detail that ASD clients have come to expect.
ASD has taken many steps to ensure the call clarity of our phone lines remains clear and free of static or volume issues. However, there is little way to control what problems callers may experience on their phones. For this reason, our Call Specialists are trained to read back information for accuracy and ask callers necessary follow up questions. This week our Call Specialist, Keith, answered a call from a woman who sounded very muffled. The phone line kept dropping during the call. “Faxed over the …mother passed…preneed proposal…did she get it?” Despite the missing details, Keith was able to determine the woman’s mother passed away and that she had just faxed over the prearrangement policy to the funeral home. He was then able to obtain all of the information by repeating information to the caller to confirm he had everything correct. Keith is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for the patience, accuracy and exceptional listening skills he exhibited during this difficult call.
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