Jun 28, 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 June:
One of the greatest gifts ASD Call Specialists can offer is the gift of reassurance. Many people calling a funeral home just need to be reassured that they are following the right steps and that their needs are a high priority. Two phrases we hear very often during First Calls are “I don’t know what I am doing” and “I don’t want to bother anybody.” This week our Training Specialist, Karen, answered a call from a woman who wanted to know when the funeral home would reopen. After providing office hours, the woman said she would call back. This led Karen to inquire if the call was in reference to a passing. The caller responded, “yes it is, but I can wait until 9am.” Karen immediately assured the caller that there were directors on call who were always available to be contacted. The woman then revealed that her mother had passed and that she had never planned a funeral. In a sympathetic tone, Karen assured her that the funeral director was always available for family members and would be able to walk her through everything. Karen is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for earning the trust of this caller, gathering her contact information and helping her understand that her needs were very important to the funeral home.
At ASD, our Call Specialists are trained to pick up on key phrases when a caller is being vague about their reason for calling. This week our Call Specialist, Kathryn, answered a late night call from a woman who wanted to know the funeral home’s hours. After Kathryn provided this, the caller stated, “Thanks, I’ll talk to them in the morning.” This led Kathryn to inquire if someone passed. The caller responded, “No ma’am” and after hesitating for a moment she added, “It might happen tomorrow. We just don’t know.” This lead Kathryn to gently ask, “Okay, you have a loved one who is sick?” The caller then revealed that her brother was close to passing. Kathryn immediately assured her that a director was on-call who could assist her further. The woman then provided more details before Kathryn immediately dispatched the director, ensuring the funeral home could serve this family without any delay. Kathryn is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for the listening skills and keen intuition she demonstrated during this call.
Many people automatically assume that when a funeral home is closed, there is no one available to assist them after hours. This week our Training Specialist, Kristin, answered a call from a woman who wanted to know the funeral home’s address. After providing this, Kristin inquired if she would be coming for a service. The woman responded, “No, my uncle’s going to need to come there.” This led Kristin to inquire if the caller’s uncle had passed. The caller confirmed that he had and said that her mother would be in the funeral home the next day to make arrangements for him since the funeral home was currently closed. Kristin assured the woman that there were always funeral directors available, even when the office was closed. This encouragement earned the caller’s trust and she then began to provide more details about her uncle’s passing. Kristin is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for asking the right follow up questions and helping this caller to feel comfortable providing her information.
Cellular technology had drastically improved communication, but at times it can also hinder. Across the country, there are still many dead zones where cell phone reception is quite spotty. This is a challenge our Call Specialist team is especially skillful at handling. Over the weekend, our Senior Call Specialist, Mauricio, handled a call from a gentleman who had a very weak cell phone connection. Mauricio waited patiently as the gentleman tried moving to different locations so he could hear him better. Eventually, he assured the caller, “The phone is cutting in and out, but that’s ok, we’ll work with what we have.” In a slow and clear speaking voice, he asked for the gentleman’s name and phone number and repeated everything back to ensure it was obtained correctly. As the cell phone continued to drop in and out, he heard the caller state, “I need you get my father.” Recognizing that this was a new First Call, Mauricio began to gather all of the particulars the funeral director would need. By listening very carefully and verifying every piece of information, Mauricio was able to gather all of details and provide the proper assurances to the caller, despite the terrible phone connection. He is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for rising to the challenges of this very difficult call.
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