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May 2014 “Sensitive Save” Award Winners

May 27, 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 May:


1) When an unexpected death occurs, funeral professionals are often tasked with delivering upsetting information to loved ones. Family members who have limited or conflicting information will often call to find out the full details of a situation. This week our Training Specialist, Shane, answered a call from an extremely upset woman who received word that her nephew passed but couldn’t reach her sister to find out anything else. The woman stated she wasn’t thinking clearly and had difficulty speaking on the phone. Shane listened carefully and waited patiently before asking the necessary questions and obtaining her contact information. He used a gentle and soothing tone throughout the call, which helped the woman to collect her thoughts and speak more calmly. Shane is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for the unwavering sensitivity he exhibited throughout this emotional phone call.


2) It’s easy to take for granted what a gift it is to feel comprehended by others when we speak. For those who suffer from a debilitating speech disorder, the simple act of communicating can be much more of a challenge. This week our Call Specialist, Josie, did an excellent job reassuring a caller with a severe stuttering condition that her message was understood. Josie listened intently and did not interrupt as the caller explained how she wanted to pay for her father’s prearrangements. At the end of the call, she read the complete message back to the caller to give her peace of mind that everything was understood and would be communicated to the director. She is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for the patience and sensitivity she exhibited throughout this call.


3)After a passing, family members often must spend a great deal of time on the telephone notifying others of the recent death. It is common for friends to step in to help with these calls. This week our Training Specialist, Natalie, answered call from a friend of a woman whose father had just passed. The caller was contacting different funeral homes to find out information for the family. She asked several questions about the funeral home location and chapel design, prompting Natalie to ask, “has someone passed away.” The caller revealed then that she was getting information for her friend who was going to call back or stop by the funeral home later. Natalie assured her that someone was available to help her and asked for her contact information. She is this week’s “Sensitive Save” of the week winner for giving the daughter one less thing to worry about while ensuring the funeral home could serve the family during their time of need.


4)When a death is first reported, funeral directors will often receive a “heads up” call from either the facility or a family member letting them know that someone just passed and they will have more details soon. At ASD, our Call Specialists understand how urgent these calls are because they allow the funeral home staff time to prepare in advance and they also ensure that if a second call does not come in, the director can use the contact information obtained to follow up.

This week our Call Specialist, Nicole, took a “heads up” call from a gentleman who wanted to confirm the funeral home was open. His mother who was in charge of making arrangements had a house full of grieving relatives, so the gentleman decided to step out and make the call on her behalf. Nicole assured the caller that someone was always available and even offered to patch him directly through to the on-call. However, the gentleman knew his mother would want to make the call herself so he declined and stated that they would call back shortly. Nicole was able to keep him on the line to obtain his phone number and some important details so the director would be ready when the time came. She is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for recognizing the importance of this heads up call and ensuring the director had the information necessary to reconnect with the family.

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

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