Jun 26, 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. 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 June:
Depending on where a funeral home is located, there are many instances where a family may decide to show up announced to speak with a director. Every ASD account provides instructions that our Call Specialists should follow if someone calls from outside the funeral home building after hours. This week our Training Specialist, Alice, answered a call from a woman who was calling from the front porch of the funeral home. When Alice politely asked the caller if she had an appointment, the woman stated, “My mother just passed away about an hour ago and we were hoping to talk to them. We can come back later if they aren’t here.” Alice immediately assured the caller that an on-call director was available to speak with her. “Let me see if I can connect you to the director. He can let you know if he is close by and available to meet now.” After gathering the caller’s contact details, Alice followed the funeral home’s instructions and connected the caller directly to the on call. She is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for providing the proper assurances to the caller and helping the director connect with the family without delay.
Setting up prearrangements in advance helps many families to establish a strong and trusting relationship with a funeral director prior to their loved one’s passing. This week our Call Specialist, Lauren, answered a call from a woman who had recently prearranged her husband’s funeral and needed to notify the director of his passing. However, when Lauren asked her what her call was concerning, the woman answered casually, “The Reverend told me I should call to touch base on what would be happening with my husband. He wanted to know when you would meet him.” While this call sounded like it was about a funeral already scheduled, our Call Specialists are trained to always clarify information. Lauren followed up by asking the caller if her husband was currently in the funeral home’s care. This led the woman to respond, “He’s in Cleveland Clinic. They will call you when he is ready.” Lauren’s attention to detail helped her determine the true urgency of the call. She is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for going above and beyond to ensure the funeral home could respond to this new first call without delay.
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.
Many family members seek assistance from friends, clergy, nurses, social workers and other individuals to help them gather pricing on funeral costs. This week our Training Specialist, Gary, answered a call from a hospice nurse who was contacting local funeral homes to collect information for a family whose loved one had just passed. When Gary offered to contact the director immediately, the caller stated that she could not be called back on the phone she was using. To ensure the funeral home had an opportunity to serve this family, Gary politely asked the nurse if she would mind holding for a moment while he got the director on the line. He then reached out the on-call person to make him aware of the situation before immediately connecting him to the hospice nurse. By utilizing ASD’s Price Patching feature, Gary ensured this caller did not hang up to call a different funeral home. He is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for recognizing the value of this call and providing the proper assurances to keep the caller on the line.
Click here to read about May’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