Sep 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 September:
At ASD, our Call Specialists are trained to ask follow-up questions when a caller sounds upset or distressed, but does not identify their need as urgent. This week our Call Specialist, Katie, answered a call from a gentleman named Joseph who said he had met with the funeral director earlier in the day. Joseph stated he had made prearrangements for his wife and just wanted to discuss urn choices. Katie gathered his contact information and then the gentleman stated he could be call back the following morning. By paying close attention to what Joseph did not say, Katie could hear tension in his voice. Her intuition led her to inquire, “I’m sorry to ask, has your wife just passed away, sir?” The caller then revealed that his wife had passed shortly several hours after he had met with the director. Katie is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner because her insight and awareness ensured the director was notified of this at-need call immediately
When contacting a funeral home, it is fairly common for family members to use speakerphone so that multiple relatives can make calls together and stay on the same page. This week our Training Specialist, Karen, answered a call from a gentleman who wanted the funeral home office hours. Karen provided the funeral home office hours and assured the caller that someone was always available. Suddenly, a female voice began speaking and stated that she needed the funeral director right away. Karen then inquired if someone had passed and the woman responded, “Yes, our mother just passed a short while ago.” When Karen asked for contact details, both callers began speaking at once. This continued to happen throughout the call, so Karen listened very carefully and read back information to ensure accuracy. Despite the sound issues created by speakerphone, Karen was able to rise to the occasion during this challenging call. She is our “Sensitive Save of the week” winner for her expert listening and communication skills.
Many funeral homes have a designated preneed counselor on call to assist families who have questions about prearrangements. This week our Call Specialist, Vanessa, took a call from a woman who wanted to know the funeral home’s website address. After relaying this information, the caller inquired if the funeral home had an online preplanning tool. Vanessa offered to get in contact with a preneed coordinator, but the caller stated she wanted to do the process online. Vanessa then explained that a director would be able to walk her through the process and answer all her questions. The woman then relayed her contact information, allowing Vanessa to notify the on-call preneed coordinator without any delay. Vanessa is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for recognizing the importance of this preneed call and persuading the caller to provide her contact information.
Many callers we speak to at ASD are unsure of what terms and phrases to use when they contact a funeral home for information. This week our Call Specialist, Christina, answered a call from a woman who stated that she needed to know about donations. Christina asked the woman if she was trying to make donations to a particular charity or organization. After a long pause, the woman stated, “I need to know, for my son. We are going to donate him and I just need to know if I need to call a funeral home or the university first.” Christina was able to infer from this that the woman’s son would be donated to science. After confirming this with the caller, she assured the woman that a director was on-call and available to answer these questions. She then obtained the caller’s contact information and notified the director immediately. Christina is our “Sensitive Save of the Week” winner for listening carefully and recognizing the urgency of this call.
Click here to read about August’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