March 2016 Sensitive Save Winners
Mar 29, 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 March:
It is very common for undecided families to go down a list of funeral home names to get pricing information. ASD Call Specialists are trained to anticipate these calls and have learned how to persuade callers to remain on the line to leave their information. This week our Call Specialist, Stephen, answered a call from a gentleman who stated he needed a price quote. When Stephen explained that the directors were out of the office, but always reachable, the caller said he probably wouldn’t be home to answer the phone since he was going over to the hospice center. Stephen quickly assured the caller, “I can reach someone immediately so you won’t have to wait for a call back. If you could just hold the line for one moment while I get the director on the line.” Stephen then contacted the on-call directly and patched him through to the caller, allowing the funeral home to serve the family without delay. Stephen is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for recognizing the potential value of this pricing call for the funeral home and taking immediate action to ensure the director could connect with the caller.
At ASD, our Call Specialists know that a caller’s tone of voice is often an indicator of their emotional state. However, in some cases, relatives may sound very casual or friendly on the phone and it is our staff’s responsibility to always ask the right follow up questions, regardless of tone. This week our Training Specialist, Jenna, answered a call from a woman who asked if the funeral home was open. When Jenna let the caller know the directors were out on a service, the woman laughed and said, “Well, that explains why no one answered the door. I’ll just come back another time” in a cheerful voice. Instead of letting the caller hang up, Jenna immediately asked why the woman was at the funeral home door and if someone had recently passed. The woman responded, “My sister passed away two days ago, so we’re looking for a little place to have a service.” Jenna then gathered more information before offering to contact the on-call director. It turned out the woman was calling on behalf of her nephew who was having difficulty choosing a funeral home for his mother’s service. By recognizing that this call was urgent in nature, despite the caller’s casual tone, Jenna was able to protect this opportunity for the funeral home. She is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for the intuition she demonstrated throughout this challenging call.
It is common for ASD Call Specialists to handle calls from people who have never contacted a funeral home before. If a caller sounds overwhelmed or confused, our staff will provide assurances and gently ask follow up questions to understand the situation at hand. This week our Training Specialist, Kristina, answered a call from a woman who wanted to know how long the funeral home would be open and if she could stop by. Kristina let the caller know the directors were with a family but could return her call. The caller then hesitated before saying, “Okay. I umm..I was just, do you have any information on life insurance?” Kristina could tell from the caller’s uncertainty that there was a deeper question behind this, so she asked the caller, “Were you needing to make prearrangements or has someone passed?” The caller then explained that her father had passed away and since he did not have insurance, the rest of the family had instructed her to find a funeral home that could accommodate their financial needs. The caller stated that she didn’t know what she was doing, and Kristina gently assured her that a director could walk her through everything. Kristina was able to gather all of necessary information and contact the funeral director immediately. She is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for putting this caller at ease and for providing the proper reassurance to help the caller to feel more confident leaving her information.
Helping to reassure callers so that they feel comfortable providing their contact information is central to ASD’s 6-month training program. Over the weekend, our Client Solutions Specialist, Shane, answered a call from a woman who wanted to know where the funeral home was located. After Shane provided this, the caller asked him if he could give her pricing information. Shane explained that he could get in contact immediately with a director who could provide pricing. The caller hesitated and asked Shane if it would be better for her to call another time. In a patient and encouraging tone, Shane let the caller know the director was always available to be contacted. The caller then asked, “Even if I am not sure if I will use the funeral home…would he still talk to me or no?” Shane provided further reassurances, letting the caller know the director would return her call regardless to provide her with information. Shane is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for the helping this caller to feel comfortable providing her contact details so the director could follow up with her.
Click here to read about February'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