Oct 29, 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 October:
Many funeral homes operate multiple locations in their county or region. This week our Training Specialist, Sarahbell, answered a call from a gentleman who said, “Oh, I thought I had the Broadway location. I must have dialed wrong.” Before the caller could hang up, Sarahbell asked him if he needed to speak to a funeral director. The caller said he did but that he was closer to the funeral home’s Broadway office. Sarahbell explained that the director on-call could assist with questions for either location. The caller then revealed that his mother had passed and he needed pricing and packages. Sarahbell obtained his contact information for reference and then offered to patch him directly to the director. She is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for ensuring this at-need caller did not disconnect from the line.
At ASD, our Call Specialists are trained to recognize certain questions as indictors that someone has passed or may be passing away soon. Questions such as, “Do you accept credit cards?” or “Do you have an onsite crematory” are rarely asked unless the person asking has an imminent need. In many instances, callers may not want to reveal any details until they have an answer to their question and our Call Specialists will obtain the caller’s contact information so the director can assist further. This week our Training Specialist, Lorenzo, handled a call from a woman who stated, “I am trying to find out how many people your chapel can accommodate.” When Lorenzo asked the caller if someone passed, the woman responded by saying, “Yes, but I want to know about your chapel space. I need to know that before I go any further.” Lorenzo recognized that this caller did not want to provide any specific details. He assured her that a director would be able to answer her questions and requested her name and phone number. Lorenzo is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for respecting the caller’s privacy and ensuring funeral home had the information needed to follow up with her.
At ASD, we will always respect the privacy of our clients. Our Call Specialists are trained to never give out a director’s personal number unless instructed to do so by our client. This week our Call Specialist, Valerie, answered a call from a gentleman who identified himself as a close friend of the director. The caller asked Valerie if she could provide him with the director’s cell phone number. Valerie explained that while she couldn’t give this information out, she would be happy to help him. When the caller hesitated, she followed up by saying, “I’m sorry to ask, but has someone passed away?” The caller then revealed that a relative had passed away out of town but that he wanted to talk to the director about it because of their close friendship. Valerie asked the caller if he could provide his contact information so that the director could get right back to him. After the caller provided this, Valerie assured him that his friend, the director, would be in touch shortly to assist him further. She is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for maintaining the privacy of this client while ensuring he was notified without any delay about his friend’s call.
Family disputes involving funerals are unfortunately fairly common. This week our Call Specialist, Becca, answered a call from a woman who was extremely upset over a dispute with the brother of her deceased best friend. The caller claimed that the brother had taken control of the arrangements even though she had power of attorney. She wanted the director to pick up her friend from a different funeral home, but spoke so quickly and with such emotion on the phone that it was difficult to understand any information she provided. Becca listened carefully without interrupting and when she had an opportunity she told the caller, “I am very sorry for your loss, maam. The director would really be the best person to discuss this with. May I gather a little bit of information from you and I will have him call you right back?” By taking control of the call and using a calm, collected voice, Becca helped this caller to gain her composure and speak more clearly. Becca is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for the superior telephone etiquette she demonstrated on this difficult call.
Click here to read about September’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