May 28, 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 May:
An important aspect of ASD’s training program is adapting when a challenging audio issue occurs during a call. This week our Call Specialist, Alex, answered a call from a woman who was using speaker phone. The caller asked for the funeral home’s office hours. Alex explained that while the funeral home was closed until the following day, an on-call director was always available. Suddenly, two voices began to speak at once, making it difficult to make out any words. Alex patiently asked the caller for her contact information. The caller responded, “She walked away. I don’t want to schedule something without her. We can call back.” This prompted Alex to ask if someone had passed and the caller revealed that her father passed and she was making calls on behalf of her mother. Although the caller thought her needs could wait until the following day, Alex assured her that a director would want to speak to her right away. Despite the muffled sound quality, which is one of the common problems of cellular communications, he was able to gather all of the details the director needed by listening closely and repeating information back for accuracy. Alex is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for handling this challenging call with patience and careful attention to detail.
At ASD, our Call Specialists understand that listening to callers is about more than the actual words stated. It is about filling in the blanks, hearing what isn’t being said and relying on intuition to determine if a call is related to a passing. This week our Call Specialist, Kim, handled an early morning call from a woman asking for the funeral home’s office hours. Kim responded by stating, “They are usually in at 8am. May I ask what it is concerning?” The woman hesitated and then said her call was related to “a new person.” This unusual response led Kim to inquire if someone had just passed. The caller answered, “Someone did but I would rather go in at 8.” To encourage the woman to leave her contact information, Kim responded, “Due to the nature of the business, it is good just to let them know in advance that you are coming. What is your phone number please?” The caller then relayed her information to Kim who was able to notify the on-call director without delay. She is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for paying close attention to unspoken cues from the caller and persuading her to leave her contact information.
During our 6-month training program, ASD Call Specialists learn about the importance of preneed calls for funeral homes. Many of our clients request to be notified immediately when ASD handles a prearrangement call. However, many times, a caller will not identify their needs as urgent. This week our Call Specialist, Emory, answered a call from a gentleman who stated he needed to speak to the person “in charge of funeral policies.” When Emory stated the directors were out of the office, the caller initially wanted to hang up and call later. However, Emory immediately asked the gentleman if he had an urgent need. The caller then stated that his call was not urgent and he just needed information for the future. This led Emory to inquire if the call was regarding prearrangements. When the caller stated it was, Emory assured him that a director could assist him without delay. This prompted the caller to give his contact information, ensuring the director could reconnect with the family. Emory is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for recognizing the importance of this preneed call and providing the proper reassurances to the caller.
After a death, it is common for family members to contact a funeral home that their family has worked with in the past. However, in some instances relatives may have difficulty confirming this information. When family members call with questions about past funerals, our Call Specialists are trained to never assume that the call isn’t actually about a recent passing. This week our Call Specialist, Christine, answered a call from a gentleman who was asking about a funeral handled in the past. The gentleman stated that he needed to find out if the funeral home handled his cousin’s wife’s burial. After Christine obtained the caller’s contact information, she gently inquired if he was asking for these records because of a recent passing. The caller then revealed that his cousin had just passed and he didn’t have any other information except the name of the cemetery where his cousin’s wife was buried. By asking this important follow up question, Christina ensured the on-call director returned the gentleman’s call without delay. She is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for her careful call screening skills and attention to detail.
Click here to read about April’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