“We know that we’re a key part of a person’s life. They are using our app to really run their business well and run it efficiently. We hear suggestions from clients and we’re all ears because we’re so focused on this space. If I can help one funeral director by making a change in our technology, I can help 25,000 funeral directors throughout the country.”-ASD Chief Technology Officer, Marty Czachor Jr.
At ASD, our Tech team is always working on ways to make life more convenient for funeral directors. While many of our solutions were designed to appeal to all funeral homes, other tools are more specialized features we have created in response to suggestions from our clients. When a funeral director shares a communication dilemma he or she has experienced, it provides the foundation for almost every new idea formed at ASD. In most cases, if one funeral home can benefit from a new technology, other directors will benefit from it as well.
So often, we hear our clients tell us, “I didn’t know ASD could do that.” This is why we always encourage you to share your ideas. In many cases, we may already have a solution in place that can help you and if not, we will work to develop one. Receiving meaningful feedback from funeral professionals facilitates new innovations at our company. Take for instance the new Automatic Message Transcription solution we unveiled earlier this month. This was created after clients expressed a desire to review the content of their messages in the same manner they are able to review voicemails left on their cell phone.
Every funeral home operates differently, and for this reason, some of our tools may be more beneficial to you than others depending upon your specific needs. We are committed to providing as much information as possible to help you decide what solutions work best for you and your staff. In the list below, we name some of ASD’s lesser-known solutions and explain how they evolved from suggestions we received from our clients. Count on ASD to always be at the forefront of innovation, delivering exceptional service every step of the way.
1. Bilingual and Southern Team Call Routing
ASD knows a familiar language or accent can make a comforting difference for families on a First Call. We have a bilingual team available 24/7 to assist Spanish-speaking callers. They can also provide translation services for funeral homes without a Spanish-speaking staff member. Funeral homes that are located in areas with a high Spanish-speaking population will always have their calls automatically routed to one of ASD’s bilingual Call Specialists to provide seamless communication.
In 2021, ASD began recruiting new Call Specialists located in the southern portion of the United States in an effort to establish our company’s remote southern team. This objective served two purposes: to grow our work force in the midst of a nationwide labor shortage and to provide funeral homes in the United States with a more local touch. Today, ASD now has more than 100 Call Specialists based in SC, NC, GA, TN and AL. When a call is answered for a funeral home located in the Southern accented portion of the United States, it is automatically diverted to a Call Specialist on this team. This behind-the-scene solution provides added peace of mind to our southern funeral home clients, ensuring that when a family calls the funeral home, someone with a familiar local accent can always assist them.
2. The ASD Mobile Widget
What even is in a widget anyway? If you are asking yourself that, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many of us who work at ASD and talk or write about our app on a daily basis weren’t fully aware of its purpose. A widget is a small, interactive tool that you can add to your home screen or in your notification panel to give you quick access to information from any app without having to open the app itself. For ASD Mobile users, taking a few moments to add a widget to your phone’s home screen can help you to easily monitor your message activity at a glance. This is especially useful for our clients with more than one account with ASD because the widget allows you to see message activity for multiple accounts at once and tap on messages to easily access a specific account.
If you’ve never used widgets, it is likely because adding them to your phone is not the most intuitive process, but it takes less than 30 seconds once you know what you are doing. With an iPhone, you simply tap and hold to edit your home screen, tap on the plus sign in the upper left corner, search for ASD Mobile and customize what information you need displayed.
You can also pull up your phone’s “Today’s View” and scroll down to ‘Edit’ to add the widget there as well (this area is viewable even when your phone is locked). On Android phones, this process is even easier. Simply tap and hold on any space on the home screen, tap ‘widgets’, find ASD Mobile and drag it to where you would like it to appear on your home screen.
Among the array of solutions that most funeral directors are unaware of, the ASD Mobile widget stands out as a hidden gem, even surprising our own staff with its existence. Though lesser-known, its value is undeniable, particularly for those managing multiple ASD accounts. We’ve received feedback from funeral directors who consider it their favorite feature, underscoring the notion that diligent exploration of our mobile solutions can uncover useful features even we may not have fully realized yet.
3. MobileFH® Texting Online
While communicating with families via text while on-the-go is certainly convenient for on-call directors, funeral home office staff must often use text messaging to communicate with families as well. This led ASD’s technical team to add our MobileFH® Texting solution to ASD’s secure online Web Portal. However, many of our clients do not know this tool is available for their staff to use online and have yet to consider all the benefits this solution offers. By allowing your office staff to log into the ASD account and send texts using your funeral home number, they can conveniently coordinate and confirm appointments, quickly respond to inquiries, and send thoughtful aftercare messages. This tool holds immense potential that has yet to be explored.
By leveraging this powerful texting feature, you’ll significantly reduce the need for lengthy phone calls and overflowing email threads. Streamlining communication channels saves valuable time and energy, allowing your team to focus on providing exceptional service to those who matter most: your families. In addition, your funeral home office staff will be able to access all of the text messages sent via ASD’s mobile app from their computer, keeping everyone on the same page. For funeral home administrative staff who may be using this information to fill out insurance policy paperwork or submit obituaries, having access to these messages on a computer can save time and provide a great deal of convenience.
4. Call History Tool
Have you ever received a message from ASD and experienced that nagging feeling of familiarity, wondering when and why you’ve spoken to that person before? Fortunately, ASD Mobile offers a solution that can swiftly eliminate those questions. When you access a message, keep an eye out for a red number displayed next to ‘Call History.’ This indicates that ASD has previously handled a call from the same phone number on behalf of your funeral home. By tapping on this feature, you gain access to a comprehensive call history dating back up to 10 years for that particular phone number.
ASD’s Call History Tool provides you with a valuable reference point to recall previous interactions with specific individuals. This can be particularly helpful in situations where you need to quickly retrieve vital information about a client or discuss their previous inquiries. By having access to a detailed call history, you can offer a more personalized and efficient service, making clients feel valued and understood.
5. First Call Customization Options
To put together this blog, we reached out to our Client Solutions Team to identify some of the more common client dilemmas and how ASD is able to resolve them. Unsurprisingly, most of these concerns are centered around the handling of calls related to the notification of a new death. First calls hold immense significance for any funeral home, and clients often desire a specific approach when it comes to handling these delicate interactions. From the information gathered to the scripts utilized by our Call Specialists, we give funeral directors a variety of ways to tailor their first call preferences to meet their individual needs. However, many of our clients do not realize all of the different ways we can cater to their requirements.
For instance, did you know that ASD can ask callers who are reporting a death different questions depending on whether they are a family member, nurse, clergy member, coroner or police official? We also have the ability to patch only specific types of first calls to the on-call or to provide specific instructions to callers based on the information they provide. You can log on to the ASD Mobile app or myASD web portal and click on the “Account Information” tab to review your funeral home’s current first call questions and contacting preferences. Please don’t hesitate to contact our Client Solutions Team at 800-868-9950 ext 5 or solutions@myASD.com if you would like to make an update.
6. Helpers Tool
In almost every blog post highlighting our features, the ASD Helpers Tool is prominently discussed. We can’t emphasize enough the invaluable convenience this tool brings to our clients, Call Specialists, and funeral home callers. By furnishing ASD with details about local cemeteries, churches, florists, hotels, medical facilities, and other commonly requested establishments, you can empower our answering service to better assist your callers, resulting in enhanced customer service and fewer calls you need to follow up on. With the ASD Helpers Tool, we ensure seamless support for all involved parties.
7. NEXT STEP Text™
In the traditional funeral profession, it takes time for new innovations to gain acceptance. We recall instances where funeral directors, at conventions, praised our app, only to realize they had bookmarked our website on their phone instead of using ASD Mobile. With rapid technological advancements and the multitude of responsibilities funeral directors handle, they may not always be aware of the latest breakthroughs. That’s why we’re dedicated to spreading the word about game-changing solutions like our NEXT STEP Text™.
Introduced last August, ASD’s NEXT STEP Text™ allows funeral homes to offer important resources to families via text message immediately following their first call. When handling a first call from a family member, ASD can now offer to send the caller a text message from the mortuary that includes the next steps they can expect in the funeral planning process. The message is sent directly from the funeral home’s main business phone number and any replies from the family to it are logged within the ASD Mobile app for the on-call funeral director.
We created this pre-written checklist that can be used as the text link and includes the funeral home’s name and website address. However, we invite our clients to customize the text with a link to a specific resource page on their funeral home’s website. Please don’t hesitate to contact our Client Solutions Team at 800-868-9950 ext 5 or solutions@myASD.com if you would like to update the link URL used with your funeral home’s NEXT STEP Text™ communications.
8. Web Form WatchDog™
Like our NEXT STEP Text™, Web Form WatchDog™ is one of our newer solutions that many of our clients are still learning about. Most funeral home websites have a ‘Contact Us’ form instructing visitors to leave their information and reason for contacting. Funeral professionals would frequently overlook these messages because they were often sent to a single, generic email address that was not monitored 24/7. ASD developed Web Form WatchDog™ to help funeral professionals become more responsive to submitted web forms.
9. Spelling Verification Options
At ASD, we know that little things can make a big difference when it comes to how funeral directors evaluate our answering service. Unlike most companies, we actually like the fact that our clients are so particular because it has given us the opportunity to separate from the herd by creating highly specialized solutions no other answering service can offer. To put it simply, different funeral homes require different things from ASD and we have made it our mission fully cater to those differences.
Take for instance our spelling customization options. While some funeral homes require ASD to be extremely accurate in the spellings of caller’s names because they use this vital information on death certificates, others prefer to reconfirm that information with callers themselves. There is a good argument to be made for both methods, which is why we have implemented several different modes into our system. Clients can choose to have ASD Call Specialists ask callers to verify the spellings of their names, to verify all letters with a phonetic alphabet spelling (A as in apple, etc), or to not ask for any spelling confirmation. This may seem like a small solution, but it is very meaningful to many of our clients who have a strong preference. We invite you to contact us anytime to let us know if you would like us to change how we handle spelling verification for your funeral home.
10. Message Notes
Funeral directors often face communication challenges when sharing on-call duties, particularly when determining who should respond to a new message. For instance, if a death is reported and the first person listed as on-call is not the director who set up arrangements with the family, the funeral home may want to deviate from their schedule to ensure the family can talk to the director they know personally. ASD addressed this issue by introducing Message Notes on our website and mobile app. Directors can now leave notes under messages, eliminating the need for additional phone calls. The system tracks multiple responses and links every employee to a centralized communication center, promoting seamless information sharing and enhancing internal office communication.
11. Deep Archive Search Tool
Funeral professionals often face challenges in staying organized and effectively following up on important calls, resulting in missed business opportunities. With ASD Mobile and myASD.com, directors have access to a helpful Message Archive Search Tool that allows them to find old messages, call recordings and dispatch logs. This oft-overlooked feature empowers directors by providing easy access to past messages, call recordings, and dispatch logs. By utilizing the Message Archive Search Tool, ASD clients can effortlessly locate specific messages by searching for names, phone numbers, or any other details from the call.
This comprehensive search capability allows directors to efficiently sift through all messages or narrow down their search to specific call types, such as preneed or price shopper calls. As a result, funeral directors save precious time while simultaneously fostering business growth, as they can effectively track their most important messages and ensure that every opportunity is maximized. This tool proves especially beneficial when staff members are working remotely or outside the office, lacking access to physical records. With ASD’s Deep Archive Search Tool at your disposal, you can easily retrieve vital information from previous calls, enabling efficient organization, seamless follow-up, and unparalleled customer service.
At ASD, we understand the crucial role we play in influencing the opinions of the families our clients serve. Funeral homes trust us with their reputation every time we handle a call on their behalf, and we take this responsibility with the utmost seriousness. This is why we strongly encourage you to make regular use of CareTracker™, as it provides a platform for you to provide valuable feedback about our performance. Whether we have exceeded your expectations or fallen short, we genuinely value your input. CareTracker™ enables you to easily and conveniently share your thoughts on any call we handle for you in just a few seconds, whether through our app or website.
Are there any other hidden gems we missed on our list of answering service solutions for funeral homes? What is your favorite ASD feature? Share in the comments below.
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