Nov 26, 2013
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 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 November:
More than 10 percent of all First Calls reported in the U.S. are answered by ASD Call Specialists. In our continual monitoring of these calls, we have found that family members who have lost a loved one often ask questions about the funeral home prior to revealing the reason for the call. This week, our Advanced Call Specialist, Chanica, answered a call from an elderly woman who needed the spelling of the funeral home name as well as cross streets and landmarks in the area. Our Call Specialist patiently assisted the caller, slowly repeating information so the caller could write it down. After gathering the information, the woman was going to hang up, but our operator knew to confirm first if the woman needed any assistance from the director. The caller then revealed that her mother had passed and she was headed over to the funeral home. By gathering the caller’s information and contacting the director in advance, Chanica provided the funeral home with time to prepare in advance for their first meeting with the family. She is this week’s “Sensitive Save” of the week winner for helping both the director and the family in this situation.
Your funeral home’s website allows you to provide information and resources 24/7 to anyone who may be researching funeral options online. This week, our Call Specialist, Mandie, answered a call from a gentleman who had been searching extensively on a funeral home website and was curious about some of the photos, obits and other general information he saw listed. The call was very casual initially, until the gentleman inquired about the funeral homes General Price List. Our Call Specialists are trained to always ask if someone has passed anytime a caller mentions price and when Mandie inquired, the caller’s tone immediately changed. He began to break down on the phone, stating that it hadn’t quite hit him yet that his wife was gone. This call demonstrates why we train our Call Specialists to never make assumptions about a caller’s emotional state. Even though the gentleman was price shopping online, for many callers it is often not until the words are spoken out loud that the reality sets in. Mandie is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for exuding kindness throughout the call, asking the proper follow up questions and compassionately assuring the caller that a director was available to help with anything he needed to know in order to plan his wife’s service.
When a family member has a close relationship with a funeral director, they may be hesitant to label their needs urgent or to request an immediate call back, even when a passing has occurred. This weekend our Call Specialist, Jessica, answered a call from a woman who began by stating that she spoke with the director yesterday and that she could call back on Monday. ASD Call Specialists are trained specifically to request a contact phone number for reference, and upon inquiring Jessica could sense that the caller was holding back. She asked the woman if her call was related to a passing and the woman revealed that she was following up on cremation. Jessica inquired further to discover that the caller’s sister had passed away but she did not believe her needs were urgent since she had made prearrangements a few days earlier. Jessica is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for recognizing the urgency of the call and for assuring the woman that the director was available anytime a family needed their services.
When a person creates a Pre-Arrangement policy with a funeral home, there may be some confusion at the time of death if the person did not make their wishes known to relatives. This week, our Training Specialist, Shane, spoke to an upset daughter who was trying to track down her mother’s pre-arrangment policy. She knew her mother had made pre-plans but didn’t know where and had to arrange for her to be picked up as soon as possible. Shane calmly defused the upset caller by assuring her that the on-call director could be contacted immediately to verify that information. He is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for recognizing the urgent, time-sensitive needs of this caller and giving her peace of mind until a director could answer her question.
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