Dec 23, 2016
Happy Holidays from the Czachor family and ASD team! As we welcome the Christmas season here at ASD, we wish you and your family the same excitement and joy we feel during this time of year. Recently, a great blog post written by the OGR described Funeral Directors as “the unsung heroes of the holidays” – we could not think of a more fitting title for such a dedicated group of people who extend themselves more to their profession than all of Santa’s elves combined.
Funeral directors are busy all year long, but during the holiday season, a spike in the death rate is coupled with heighted emotional responses from grieving relatives. Funeral directors have many added responsibilities this time of year and even less time than usual to complete tasks. Despite these challenges, funeral professionals across the nation go above and beyond to make the holidays brighter for those in their community.
There are many different ways a funeral home can offer their help to others during the holidays. Sending a heartfelt letter can help bereaved family members feel less isolated in their grief. Displaying colorful decorations and twinkling lights will remind families that a funeral home is a welcoming haven they can visit anytime they need support and a friendly conversation. Hosting a fun holiday event or inviting Santa for a visit encourages the public to socialize in the funeral home, which creates an atmosphere of positive associations where families can feel comfortable sharing stories and reflecting on the past.
For other funeral homes, Christmas is a time to encourage generosity within the community by inspiring others to make donations to an important cause or participate in a charity event. Another wonderful way directors help others this time of year is by hosting a Holiday Memorial Service, Tree Lighting Ceremony or Candlelight Vigil that is open to all families served by the funeral home during the year. This allows the bereaved to gather together to honor their loved one and share experiences with others who understand their grief. It also gives families a place to come where their feelings of loss are acknowledged and recognized.
We believe funeral directors should be acknowledged for their commitment everyday and especially around the holidays. That is why ASD recently profiled 22 different funeral homes located across the nation who have helped support grieving families this Christmas season. Families who are suffering a loss need to understand they are not invisible and not alone, and these funeral homes have done a tremendous job promoting that message within their communities. We encourage you to read their stories, get inspired, and comment below to share your funeral home’s holiday traditions with us. Click here to read the post.
ASD’s Holiday Preparation Strategy
ASD understands that being on call on Christmas is a reality for many funeral directors. We realize that the time you have with your family is often interrupted so you can help others in their time of need. But just because you must be available at all times does not mean you should have to be interrupted with every incoming call your funeral home receives on such an important day. As usual, ASD will have staff available 24-hours a day to assist you. We can screen your calls according to your specific preferences and contact you only if a death or urgent situation occurs. With the upcoming holiday approaching, our goal is to provide you with the peace of mind you need to spend this special time with friends and family.
For this reason, here at ASD we don’t start talking about Christmas a week or two before the day arrives…we begin looking ahead more than a month in advance. With responsive plans and a close eye on the upcoming schedule, we can forecast well ahead of every holiday to provide the most consistent and reliable service available. Christmas, New Years Day and the entire holiday season is fully staffed with back up support so you can enjoy those days knowing that your phones are protected. Our employees are committed to working on the holidays, which is why last year on Christmas Day we answered 93 percent of all calls on the first ring and 98 percent by the fourth ring. Every year, we create a special holiday schedule that includes all of our Call Specialists. While our operators work shorter shifts, scheduling everyone increases the overlap of employees to ensure our office is never under staffed.
We understand that holidays may impact how you respond to your messages. Our custom-built systems allow us to update your ASD account based on your needs any time, day or night. Please let us know if you have any special On-Call schedules for the upcoming days. If you wish, we have systems in place that can assure you are only being called for messages of the utmost importance.
These calls include:
► Death Calls Prearrangements & Pricing
► Families calling regarding current services
► Near Death situations
► Calls from other Funeral Homes
► Anyone requesting an immediate call back
If you would like to be called ONLY for the situations listed above, please advise our Call Specialist when checking out that you should be reached for CODE YELLOW calls. All other calls will be available via the website, mobile app & voicemail system. If you have any questions or would like to customize your “Code Yellow” criteria, please call 800-868-9950 ext. 2 to speak with a supervisor. You can also click here to learn more about the different checkout options we provide to meet your changing needs.
ASD’s Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest
For the fifth consecutive year, ASD employees wore their favorite Ugly Christmas Sweaters and Sweatshirts to celebrate the holidays. Our Fifth Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest is now in full swing over on ASD’s Facebook page. Click on the image below to visit our Facebook page and leave a comment to help us decide which one of our employees wore the most creative “ugly” getup.
ASD’s Christmas Give Back Programs
For the 5th year in a row, the ASD staff collected over Christmas gifts, toys and games for the Angel Tree Program. The Angel Tree Program was created by Children’s Choice, a non-profit adoption and foster care agency in our area, to ensure that children in need receive Christmas gifts. This cause is very near and dear to our hearts and we love how involved our staff is every year!
ASD employees have just reached our goal of exercising for 1,000 hours on the Treadmill and Recumbent bike stations. As part of ASD’s “Exercise for a Cause” program, $1000 will be donated to Victory House of Lehigh Valley, an organization that provides support and assistance to homeless veterans. This cause was very important to ASD Supervisor, Kathy Blythe, who passed away close to the holidays in 2014. This is the second year we have donated to Victory House in memory of Kathy – we think it is a beautiful and fitting way to pay tribute to a woman with an incredibly kind heart.
12 Days of Christmas: Funeral Home Remix
We rewrote the “12 Days of Christmas” to apply to a typical day in the life of a funeral director. Hope you enjoy!
ASD’s #FuneralDirectorFacts Holiday Image Shared More than 100,000 times on Social Media
An information graphic created by ASD recently struck a cord with thousands of funeral directors on social media. The image was created to spotlight the sacrifices made by funeral directors who work on-call during holidays to provide support to their communities. Many people outside of the profession are unaware of the many ways funeral professionals devote themselves to others. ASD shares #FuneralDirectorFacts to help educate others about the dedication of directors. Each fact focuses on a different way funeral directors go beyond the call of duty to serve families.
With Christmas approaching, many funeral directors are prepared to miss holiday celebrations at home if a family in need requires their services. ASD wanted to highlight this sacrifice and create an information graphic that funeral directors could feel proud to share. We are thrilled that so many funeral professionals have related to our #FuneralDirectorFacts. The graphic has now been shared online more than 100,000 times! Watching a positive funeral director image go viral is a thrill for us at ASD.
From everyone here at ASD, we extend to you our best wishes for a joyous Christmas and prosperous New Year! We hope you enjoy the holidays with confidence knowing your phones are always protected. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if there is anything we can do to make the holidays brighter for you and your family. Our supervisors are available 24/7 to make any changes or updates.
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