Sep 26, 2014
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 as the “Sensitive Save” award winner 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” winners for the month of September:
When family members are estranged and a death occurs, it can make the funeral process much more complicated for everyone involved. This week our Call Specialist, Julie, answered a call from a woman who had just learned about her father’s passing. The woman was estranged from her father and lived in another state, but wanted to arrange a dignified burial for him. She was going down a list of funeral home phone numbers from a website. “I’m so confused. I’m trying to find a place that will cremate my dad but I’m so far away,” the caller stated. Julie immediately assured her that a funeral director would be able to walk her through every step of the process. After obtaining contact details, she asked the woman to leave her phone line open so the director could reach her without delay. Later that night, the funeral director contacted ASD to thank Julie. He said that the daughter decided to use his funeral home because of Julie’s compassionate assurances. She is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for ensuring the funeral home was able to serve this family in need.
Call Specialists at ASD are trained to understand how important patience is when speaking to funeral home callers. It is often when we listen without interruption that the true nature of a person’s reason for calling is revealed. This week our Call Specialist, Bill, answered a call from a gentleman who suffered from dementia. Most of the man’s statements were difficult to understand or incoherent, but Bill waited patiently until he had an opportunity to ask if someone had passed away. This prompted the gentleman to state that his wife had passed. Bill listened then as the man spoke for several minutes, interjecting only when there was a pause in order to obtain contact information. Then, another voice picked up the line. It turned out it was the son of the woman who passed. He was going to call the funeral home, but his father, who was suffering from dementia, saw the number and called first. The son was grateful to Bill for listening to his father and remaining on the line. Bill is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for exhibiting the patience and understanding that sets ASD apart from other answering services.
At ASD, our training policy is to never assume a funeral director was already notified of a passing unless a caller specifically says so or there is a record of a previous call. This week our Call Specialist, Nicole, demonstrated why this is so crucial. Nicole took a call from a gentleman who stated in a casual tone of voice, “My brother passed away and I guess you guys are going to come and get him. We have clothes for him, would it be okay to drop those off tomorrow?” Nicole immediately inquired if the director knew about his brother’s passing. The caller believed his sister in law reported it, but Nicole could not find any record of the call so she began to gather more details. The gentleman stated that he didn’t need an immediate call back and just wanted to know about the clothes, so Nicole assured him by saying the director was always available to speak to family members. It turns out that the gentleman’s sister in law had not yet called. Nicole is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for recognizing this first call and ensuring the director was notified without delay.
At ASD, patience and empathy are the most essential traits our Call Specialists must possess. This week our Call Specialist, Jasmine, handled a call that exemplified both of those qualities exceptionally. Jasmine answered a call from a woman whose brother was being taken off life support. The woman stated that she had already made prearrangements and her call wasn’t urgent, but she had several important updates she wanted the director to be aware of in regards to her brother’s location and condition. Jasmine listened patiently while the woman explained the situation and transcribed the detailed instructions the family needed relayed to the funeral home. She then gently assured the caller that a director was available to return her call shortly and confirm everything. Jasmine is this week’s “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for exhibiting the listening and sensitivity skills that set ASD apart from other answering services.
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