Text Messaging in the Funeral Business: 10 Innovative Solutions to Stay Ahead
Aug 25, 2023
Originally published as the cover story in the July/August 2023 issue of Funeral Business Solutions magazine, this article outlines 10 text messages hacks that can help funeral directors enhance their level of service and save time. Click here to read the article in the digital version of the magazine or on the PDF below.
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It’s hard to remember what life was like before text messaging. The colossal impact of SMS technology on our society and how we communicate cannot be overstated. Text-messaging has transformed everyday life in a multitude of ways, but perhaps the biggest is the speed and convenience in which we are able to transmit information to one another. The wide usage of text messaging has streamlined many processes and has greatly changed the landscape of how we interact with one another, including how businesses interact with customers.
Funeral professionals, in particular, have seen the benefits of integrating text messaging into their business strategies. Despite initial concerns about professionalism and the preferences of older generations, text messaging has become an essential tool for funeral homes, catering to the needs and expectations of families. In 2018, an AARP study found that 86 percent of Americans over the age of 50 regularly utilized text messaging. Compared to emails, text messages tend to be more effective. They have a 98% open rate compared to 20% in emails (SMS Comparison, 2022). Consumers are 4.5 percent more likely to respond (not just read) your text message than your emails.
Over the past two decades, ASD's in-house technical team has closely observed how text messaging has transformed funeral home communication. While phone calls remain crucial, text messaging has become a vital component of the customer service experience. ASD, recognizing the demand for technologies that meet this growing need, has developed specific text-messaging tools tailored for funeral professionals. These solutions not only save time but also provide greater flexibility for on-call funeral directors.
Here are 10 Text Messaging Hacks You Need to Know
1. Use Your Funeral Home’s Number as the Outgoing Caller ID When Sending and Receiving Text Messages
In the past, funeral professionals hesitated to use text messaging due to privacy concerns, the risk of misdirected information, and difficulty in accessing crucial data. However, ASD's MobileFH® Texting solves these issues comprehensively. This feature enables funeral homes to send and receive texts using their main business number, ensuring secure communication for sensitive information. It also maintains funeral directors' privacy by concealing their personal cell phone numbers while conducting business on the go.
Furthermore, the ASD Mobile app stores all messages, photos, and documents sent to the funeral home number, providing easy access for owners and managers to review. The benefits are abundant: it safeguards directors' privacy, allows retrieval of attachments and photos, minimizes the need for directors to respond during their time off, keeps a record of conversations, improves office organization, and offers staff oversight. Additionally, it prevents families from contacting a former employee who is no longer associated with the funeral home. Overall, MobileFH® Texting streamlines operations and vastly enhances communication for on-call funeral directors.
2. Send and Receive Text Messages Online Using the Funeral Home Number
While relaying information to families via text while on-the-go is certainly convenient for on-call directors, funeral home office staff must often use text messaging to converse with families as well. This is why ASD’s MobileFH® Texting is also available through a secure online portal. By allowing office staff to log in and send texts using the funeral home number, they can conveniently coordinate and confirm appointments, quickly respond to inquiries, and send thoughtful aftercare messages.
By using MobileFH® Texting online, funeral home office staff can significantly reduce the need for lengthy phone calls and overflowing email threads. This streamlined communication saves precious time and energy, allowing the team to prioritize exceptional service for their families. Moreover, accessing all text messages sent via ASD's mobile app on a computer keeps everyone synchronized, supporting administrative staff in tasks like insurance paperwork and obituary submissions. This efficient access to messages on a computer saves time and offers unparalleled convenience for funeral home administrative staff.
3. Text Families Important Resources Immediately Following Their First Call
The initial phone call to a funeral home can be overwhelming for a grieving family member. Offering immediate guidance through text messaging helps establish a connection and demonstrates care. ASD's NEXT STEP Text™ enables funeral homes to send important resources to families via text after their first call. The text can be initiated by an ASD Call Specialist after handling a first call for the funeral home or by a funeral home employee using the ASD Mobile app.
Funeral professionals can customize the text to include relevant information, such as a link to a resource page on the funeral home's website or a pre-written checklist tailored to their firm's services. This proactive approach enhances the customer experience and showcases a higher level of customer care. All replies to the NEXT STEP Text™ messages are conveniently logged within the app. This versatile solution enhances the overall experience for families and offers new opportunities for deathcare professionals.
4. Share Obituary Information with Callers via Text
One of the most common reasons a person contacts a mortuary is to obtain funeral service information. More than ever, people appreciate having information conveniently at their fingertips. This led ASD to develop an Obit Texting feature to ensure callers who request service information can receive a helpful text with all of the details. The text message will be a link to the obituary leading the person directly to the funeral home’s website, creating opportunities for the mortuary to reach more people with their web content than they could previously. Visitors can explore other web pages and learn more about the funeral home. This can, in turn, increase the firm’s pre-need leads or secure new sales for flowers and condolence gifts.
5. Add a “Text Us” Option to Your Website
Enhance your funeral home website with a 'Text Us' button, enabling mobile users to send text messages. ASD Mobile will notify the on-call director, who can reply from the app using the funeral home number as the outgoing Caller ID. Introduced earlier this year, ASD’s cutting-edge Web Texting tool will strengthen funeral home communication channels and enhance customer service. This new solution is made possible through ASD’s integrations with the leading funeral home website companies and is currently being utilized by mutual clients of ASD and Tukios. The company expects to introduce this powerful functionality to more funeral homes in the upcoming months.
6. Respond to ASD Messages via Text or Push Notification
Whether on the road, with a family or in the middle of a memorial service, there are certain times when it is not only inconvenient, but impossible, for a funeral director to be interrupted with a phone call. This is why ASD’s systems are designed to allow clients to respond to messages from a mobile device without the need for a telephone call. Clients can set up a customizable delay for urgent messages that gives them a convenient window of time to respond before ASD follows up with a phone call.
7. Receive Follow Up Reminders on Outstanding Text Messages
ASD now offers a valuable feature to ensure timely notification for on-call funeral directors. When the funeral home's number receives a text message that hasn't been replied to, ASD's system can immediately alert the on-call director. This proactive notification system guarantees no important messages are overlooked or left unanswered. By promptly alerting the on-call director, ASD ensures urgent matters are addressed promptly, maintaining efficient communication and exceptional service for the funeral home and its clients. To enable this setting, tap on 'Configure My Push Settings' within the Settings area of the ASD Mobile app.
8. Text GPS Address and Floral Recommendations to Callers
Mobile technology has greatly reduced calls from lost visitors to funeral homes thanks to the advent of GPS navigation. More often these days, people call to confirm GPS addresses, so ASD sends text messages with address links for easy route viewing on navigation maps. Similarly, funeral homes often field calls related to florist recommendations. ASD can now offer to send a text message to callers who request this information with the funeral home’s recommended flower shop(s). Like Obit Texting, there is no effort required on behalf of the funeral home to take advantage of these solutions. Text messages are sent by ASD using the funeral home number as the Outgoing Caller ID, ensuring any replies are sent to the on-call director. These convenient texting features are offered to all ASD clients for no charge.
9. Send Your GPL To Shopper Callers via Text
ASD is actively developing a new technology for the ever-changing funeral consumer/shopper who expects an immediate price quote over the phone, completely customized to their needs. Funeral homes invest a great deal in marketing designed to persuade families to contact their funeral home after a death occurs. Yet, many are not fully prepared to step into that salesman-role at a moment’s notice and instead will often provide an immediate price without fully explaining the value their funeral home offers. Most families appreciate both personal service and having information at their fingertips. Having the ability to text them the funeral home’s General Price List while they are still on the phone with on-call director is a game-changing solution that will revolutionize how funeral homes handle these sensitive calls.
10. Use Text Messaging for Alerts in Funeral Home Building
One of the most interesting ways funeral homes have used ASD’s MobileFH® Texting is to create signs around their funeral home building encouraging visitors to text them regarding things need to be addressed. For example, if a box of tissues, dispenser of soap, or roll of toilet paper needs to be replenished, mourners can discreetly and conveniently make the funeral home staff aware of it. The staff can then respond promptly to maintain a well-stocked and comforting environment for visitors. BONUS HACK: You can add a QR code to signs that will automatically create a text message, allowing the person scanning the code to immediately alert the funeral home staff with just a quick tap on their phone.
There is no question text messaging has become a dominant form of communication in our society and can be instrumental in helping deathcare professionals forge lasting connections with families. By developing groundbreaking technology that helps funeral homes use text messaging to enhance their connections with families, ASD is pioneering a new wave of innovation across the funeral profession. If you are an ASD client interested in our text messaging tools, please call 800-868-9950 ext 5 or email email@example.com so we can help you take advantage of these new technologies. To learn more about ASD and all of our solutions for funeral communication, please call 800-868-9950 or email sale@myASD.com.
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