Nov 27, 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 November:
When an ASD Call Specialist hears the phrase, “it’s personal” on the phone, they are trained to handle the call very delicately. Experience has taught us that just because this phrase is used does not mean the call is not related to a passing or imminent death. This week our Senior Call Specialist, Rosemary, handled a call from a woman who declined to leave her phone number and stated that it was personal. Before she hung up, Rosemary responded by empathetically asking, “I’m sorry to ask, has someone passed away?” The woman paused a moment then answered, “No, not yet. It’s for my brother, but he hasn’t passed.” Rosemary gently assured the caller that a director would want to speak with her right away and asked again for a phone number. The woman then provided her number and more details about her brother’s condition. Rosemary is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for asking the proper follow-up questions and using the right tone of voice to help this caller feel comfortable enough to reveal the true reason for her call.
When family members live in different areas, there is more likely to be miscommunication or confusion after a passing. This week our Training Specialist, Jenna, answered a call from a gentleman who stated that his brother in law had passed the night before. The caller stated that his sister in law had been in contact with the funeral home and he wanted to know what time she would be making arrangements so that he could make himself available. When Jenna noticed that no calls had been taken that related to this passing, she asked the gentleman if she could gather some more information. He replied, “I don’t want to step on my sister in law’s toes. Maybe I should just call back.” Jenna assured him that a director was available who could answer his question without delay and offered to patch him directly to the on-call. Jenna is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for recognizing the urgency of this call and ensuring the director was notified immediately.
Sometimes, the loss of a loved one can lead to feelings of extreme frustration. ASD Call Specialists are specifically trained to defuse upset callers by responding to agitation with understanding and compassion. This week our Call Specialist, Rosa, answered a late night call from a woman who stated she needed prices on cremation. The caller was very upset because her loved one had passed overnight and she wasn’t expecting to have to make arrangements so late. Initially, the caller did not want to provide her contact information because she feared she would not hear back from anyone until the morning. Rosa listened to the caller’s concerns and then gently reassured her that a director would be able to assist her without delay. The caller then provided her information and thanked Rosa before hanging up. Rosa is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for the patience and understanding she exhibited throughout this extremely difficult call.
Social workers will often assist relatives with making funeral arrangements when a family has limited funds. Most funeral homes will either assist in these cases or can refer the family to a funeral home that can. This week our Advanced Call Specialist, Lisette, answered a call from a social worker that wanted to know the funeral home office hours. After Lisette provided this, the caller said she just had general questions and would call back. Lisette followed up by asking if the call was related to a passing. The caller then stated, “Yes, but he’s indigent. The remains are at the medical examiner’s office, so it’s not really urgent that I speak with him now.” While the caller did not see her needs as urgent, Lisette knew that the director would want to be notified of this passing without any delay. She assured the caller that someone would be able to assist her and asked to gather more information. Lisette is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for obtaining all of the pertinent details the funeral home needed and providing the proper assurances to the caller.
Click here to read about October’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