Mar 24, 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 of the Week” winners for the month of March:
It is much more common for family members to be scattered in different locations today than it was in the past. At ASD, we are often the first point of contact when a family calls from out of state and has no prior knowledge of the funeral home. This week our Call Specialist, Chris, answered a call from a gentleman who was trying to figure out the funeral home’s proximity to a local hospital. Chris quickly determined that the gentleman’s mother passed away and he was calling from across the country to ensure she was picked up by a nearby funeral home. The caller was in transit and was talking to Chris on speakerphone with another person also speaking simultaneously in the background. Despite these challenges, Chris patiently gathered the details the on-call director needed while giving this out-of-town son the reassurances he needed to hear.
Funeral homes often have multiple locations that sometimes have different names. This can create confusion if a hospital or hospice nurse accidentally refers the other business’s number to the family, which happens fairly often. ASD Call Specialists are trained to understand and identify the different associated locations and businesses a funeral home might have. This week our Call Specialist, Aimee, answered call from a woman whose father passed away. When she heard the funeral home name, the caller nearly hung up stating, “I have the wrong number. I thought this was a different funeral home.” Aimee was able to quickly discern that the funeral home had a second location that used a different name and asked the caller if that was the location she was trying to reach.
At ASD, we understand it is only natural for some callers hesitate or hold back information when calling a funeral home. Many are unfamiliar with the correct terminology to use or don’t realize how important their needs are to the funeral home. This week our Assistant Supervisor, Anne, answered a call on Sunday from a woman who wanted to know the funeral home’s office hours. When Anne asked her if the call was related to a passing, the woman replied, “I don’t want to go into all that.” The caller began to relay her availability to Anne and asked when the best time was to call again. Anne gently assured her that someone was always available to answer her questions over the phone. The woman then felt comfortable explaining that she needed to make prearrangements for herself, but was using a friend’s phone and didn’t think she could be called back. Anne read the phone number that appeared on the Caller ID and confirmed with the woman that she could be reached there. The woman was relieved that Anne could look this up and even more so when she learned a director would be calling her immediately. Anne is this week’s Sensitive Save of the Week for helping this caller to feel more at ease and making sure she her needs could be served without any delay.
Funeral homes often work in cooperation with each other funeral establishments to coordinate removals and share resources. At ASD, our Call Specialists are trained to expect First Calls to be reported by family members, medical professionals and other funeral directors. This week our Call Specialist, Jade, answered a call from a funeral professional who was very friendly and familiar on the phone. The gentleman stated that the director would know what he was calling about and that he didn’t want to disturb him after hours. Jade let him know that the director preferred to be notified anytime another director called and asked if it was regarding a recent passing. It turned out that a family that had made prearrangements was getting ready to take their loved one off life support. The caller wanted to give the funeral home a heads up, and Jade was able to obtain all of the details after reiterating that the on-call director would want to be notified without delay. She is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for anticipating the on-call funeral director’s needs and ensuring he had all of the information needed to prepare for the First 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