Jul 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 July:
ASD recognizes that callers often mean more than they say when dealing with death. For example, when a caller is asking about a service provided by the funeral for a loved one years ago, it is sometimes because a relative recently passed and they need to make sure they are calling the same funeral home their family used in the past. At ASD, our staff is trained to anticipate this. This week our Assistant Supervisor, Chris, answered a call from a woman who wanted to discuss a funeral handled for her mother in the past. After Chris verified the funeral home’s address and a few local landmarks, the caller responded, “Okay, I have the right one then.” This led Chris to ask if the caller was in need of any services. The woman then revealed that her father had passed away out of state and would need to be transported to the funeral home. Chris listened carefully to the caller, gathering all of the details. After Chris demonstrated her sensitivity and patience, the caller then began to reveal more personal details and open up about her situation. Chris is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for recognizing that this call was regarding a recent passing, not a case from the past, and earning the trust of the daughter through her compassionate phone demeanor.
Many of ASD clients opt to have preneed and pricing calls directly transferred to the on-call director so that families don’t have to wait for a call back. This week our Training Specialist, Tina, answered a call from a woman who wanted to know the funeral home’s office hours. After these details were provided, the caller said thank you and nearly hung up, but Tina quickly inquired if there was any urgent reason for her call. The caller revealed that her mother had just been diagnosed with brain cancer. She was researching different prearrangement options and said that she could call another time. Tina immediately noticed that this client wanted to be patched all preneed calls and she assured the caller, “I can connect you with the director if you would like to get more information now.” The caller then remained on the line while Tina directly connected her to the on-call preneed director. By patching this call to the director, Tina ensured the director was able to answer the daughter’s questions when she was in the right fame of mind to discuss end-of-life decisions, eliminating the risk of the caller being unreachable or not in the mood for the discussion at a later time. Tina is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for quickly recognizing this was a urgent call and ensuring the on-call preneed director immediately connected with the caller.
While most deaths in America occur within a medical facility or at a residence, there are some instances when a person will pass away in a public place. This week our Client Solutions Representative, Margarite, answered an early morning call from a woman wanting to know the funeral home’s office hours. When the caller realized she was on a different time zone, she stated that she would call back, but Margarite quickly assured her that a funeral director was always reachable. The caller then explained that her father had passed away unexpectedly while on an airplane. She was trying to coordinate for his remains to be transported back home, but did not know what steps to take. She also had concerns about making plans from out of state. Margarite helped the caller feel more at ease by explaining that the director would be able to assist her with all of the necessary details and walk her through the process. By providing caring reassurances to the caller, Margarite was able to help make this stressful situation a little easier for the family. She is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for the compassion and attentiveness she exhibited throughout this sensitive call.
Funeral homes routinely receive calls from clergy members to coordinate funeral services. On occasion, a clergy member may also call a funeral home to report the passing of one of his or her parishioners on behalf of the family. Our Call Specialists are trained to anticipate this. Earlier this week our Assistant Supervisor, Brad, answered a call from a gentleman who identified himself as a reverend. The caller stated he wanted to discuss an upcoming service. After gathering his contact information, Brad inquired, “were you calling to confirm a service that is scheduled or to report a new passing.” This led the caller to explain that one of the families in his parish had asked him to call to report the passing. By remaining attentive and asking the correct follow-up questions, Brad was able to discover this was a new First Call and notify a director without any delay. He is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for the listening and communication skills he demonstrated during this call.
Click here to read about June’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