Top 10 Reasons to Start Your Career with ASD
Jul 19, 2021
“The people in our organization are truly what make the company so special. We have an opportunity to bring in many people each year at the entry level and pretty quickly we can target who is going to be a great asset to our company. We work really hard and do a lot to make sure we keep the employees we see the most potential in. Our success as a whole comes largely from the time we put into finding the perfect people – we would be nothing without them.”-ASD Family-Member Owner, Kathy Kelley.
We know what you’re thinking: “Answering calls for funeral homes? What kind of job is this exactly? Am I going to be working around dead bodies?”
Working at ASD is a unique and rewarding experience. We are proud to be the only funeral home exclusive answering service in the nation. There is no other company out there that does exactly what we do, and we take pride in the unparalleled expertise of our Call Specialist team. To put it simply, ASD answers phone calls and handles other communications for funeral professionals when they cannot. So, no, you won’t be seeing any dead bodies (we hope this information brings relief instead of disappointment!) but you will have an opportunity to provide comfort and solace to those who have just experienced a devastating loss.
The Call Specialist position is, without a doubt, a job opportunity like no other. Your role is to act as an extension of the funeral homes who entrust their calls to ASD, gathering detailed message to pass along to the funeral home staff or providing information to callers with questions. You will be answering calls for funeral homes from all 50 states, in large cities, small rural towns, and everywhere in between.
ASD is the perfect place to begin your career, whether you know little to nothing about the funeral profession or have an interest in the world of mortuary science. ASD’s extensive training program covers all of the ins and outs of the funeral business, but one thing we cannot teach is an innate desire to want to help people. Historically, employees who naturally react to callers with empathy and are deeply driven to comfort others achieve the most success at ASD.
Creating an office environment where team members are passionate about their work, care about co-workers and want the company to succeed has remained a constant goal through ASD’s leadership. In the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, our company’s operations have changed dramatically, with the vast majority of our Call Specialists now answering calls remotely from their homes with the option to work in the office if desired. Despite the distance, we are deeply committed to seeking out as many occasions as possible to encourage staff interaction, facilitate collaboration and provide moments of fulfillment to our team.
If you are on the fence about joining our team or want to know more about how working at ASD can help you grow professionally, please read on for 10 great reasons to start your career with ASD.
1. ‘Making a Difference on a Daily Basis’
“I am human, right? So, I should have feelings. People pass away every day and they need people who have feelings, who have sympathy, that can console them and direct them in the right place during that difficult time,” says Operations Supervisor, Mike Maurer. “We're making a difference on a daily basis and people just don't quite understand that unless they've done it themselves.”
If you are looking for a position that offers you an opportunity to do meaningful work that can provide you with a feeling of personal fulfillment, the ASD Call Specialist position might be right for you. Many of our Call Specialists describe the intangible satisfaction they gain helping others through difficult moments in their lives. Having the ability to provide a moment of peace to a distraught widow or knowing how to reassure an angry grieving father – these experiences leave one with a feeling of having done important work that matters at the end of every shift.
“I think the most rewarding thing about ASD is knowing that you can try to bring comfort and trust to people that decide to use these funeral homes for their loved ones by using skills implemented by the extensive training we receive here at ASD,” says ASD Training Specialist, Rebecca Rushton. “It can really change a person’s mood during the call and help to settle their emotions when you know how to speak with a caller and know what they need to hear.”
2. Train and Work from Home
“Working remotely has many benefits. These benefits include no long stressful commutes, which means we are well rested and ready to start taking calls on time. We also have the flexibility to cover shifts 24 hours a day at the last minute if needed. This ensures there is plenty of coverage to handle every call that comes through in a timely and professional manner,” says Bilingual Advanced Call Specialist, Noemi Comacho. “Working remotely means you are in a quiet environment where you can give each caller your undivided attention. Weather is never an issue. Rain or snow...sleet or hail...we will handle every call without fail.”
ASD Call Specialists working from their homes.
In 2014, ASD began providing our staff with their own desktop computers so they could assist with calls from their homes in the event of a major snowstorm, hurricane or other event preventing them from reaching the office. As time went on and our systems became more advanced, we gradually increased the number of home users. When COVID hit, we were able to shift seamlessly to a fully remote office model, deploying home computers to our entire staff. Earlier this year, we expanded our company’s conference training capabilities to allow for an entirely remote training experience. This means you can now work for ASD as a Call Specialist without ever actually setting foot inside our office building.
While you are welcome to work in our office (located in Media, PA) or to adopt a hybrid schedule (after all, we do have break room massage chairs, exercise work stations and a gazebo garden with koi fish and a waterfall) we realize many people have welcomed remote work as the new normal. The ability to work safely from home offers a great deal of freedom, convenience and flexibility. Embracing a remote office model has also allowed ASD to expand our talent pool and hire staff outside of our local area. We want our employees to feel comfortable and secure in their work environment – wherever that may be.
3. Flexible Schedule Options
“I think the greatest thing about being a Call Specialist at ASD is you have such flexibility,” says Staffing Supervisor, TJ Hopson.“Working a full-time schedule or part-time, you're always able to get extra shifts, you're always able to give away your shifts, so it really gives you the opportunity to have extra time in your own life.”
Whether you’re a student, working parent, or side hustler, having flexibility in your work schedule can make a huge difference. Here at ASD, our staff appreciates having the option to pick up open shifts, trade shifts with co-workers or give away hours. So, if you need to save up for the holiday season or if you’re on a break from school, you can increase the number of hours you work with ease. Conversely, if you have a vacation coming up and you’d rather not use your paid time off, you can find coverage for your hours instead of using your vacation time. This system offers a great deal of flexibility while helping to facilitate interaction among our staff. Additionally, during times when ASD is short-staffed, we will offer open shifts at a higher, premium rate, allowing employees to greatly maximize their earning potential.
“Graduating from Penn State is a huge goal of mine, so I have greatly enjoyed the flexibility ASD has offered me since the beginning of my employment,” says Client Solutions Supervisor, Andrew Yavil. “Being able to find coverage, work at home, and swap shifts has been very beneficial to me being able to continue my education without putting anything on hold.”
4. Opportunity to expand your skill set
The ASD Call Specialist position is an entry-level job. While having previous call center or data entry experience can be beneficial, it is not a requirement. This is because ASD’s systems are very unique and specific to our company. You will learn how to utilize our specialized computer software designed in-house by our technology team. Don’t be too intimidated – our comprehensive training program will walk you through this process step-by-step. By the time you are taking calls independently, you will have developed all of the technical skill necessary to operate an intricate and highly advanced computer system. This is a fantastic bullet point to add to any resume!
Working as an ASD Call Specialist can also help you develop and refine your communication skills. You will inevitably become a more effective speaker and conversationalist. Beyond this – you will learn how to inject empathy into your future interactions with others, a skill more in demand today than ever before. Working at ASD will also teach you great deal about the funeral profession. It is a fascinating world—whether you have a serious interest in mortuary science or just a natural curiosity.
“One of the biggest things working at ASD has taught me is how being more patient, understanding, and compassionate can go so far for people going through tough times, even if they don’t know you personally,” says Client Solutions Supervisor, Andrew Yavil. “Before working at ASD, the funeral profession seemed somewhat mysterious and niche, but since working here I have now learned so much about it and how important their position and reputation is within communities. On top of learning about the funeral profession, I’m learning a lot about business and leading in general. Being able to finish business school as I’m advancing my career at ASD allows me to take aspects from school and apply them to the “real world”, and vice versa.”
5. Good work is greatly rewarded
There are a lot of different characteristics that make up a good employee. Every person has his or her own strengths to bring to the table. For this reason, ASD does not use a single award to recognize our staff, but several. We have a reward system in place that gives us multiple ways to recognize our Call Specialists for a job well done.
- Consecutive On-Time Shift Bonuses: A monetary bonus you can earn simply for arriving on time for work at the beginning of your shift and when you return from your break. This system incentivizes good attendance habits which is crucial to our company’s success.
- Sensitive Save Award: A monetary bonus awarded to four ASD employees each week who do an exceptional job handling a difficult call with sensitivity and/or saving a new business opportunity for a funeral home.
- Superstar Award: This incremental monetary award is given to Call Specialists with a record of high performance. There are several benchmarks we use to determine this, including call scores, feedback from clients, professional attitude, attendance and eagerness to advance within ASD. Employees who earn this award are often promoted to higher positions in the future.
- Extra Mile Award: Established in 2017, this award allows ASD employees to nominate one another for a job well done. ASD Extra Mile Award Winners receive a special write up in our newsletter and a special Team ASD T-shirt.
6. Beneficial wellness programs
ASD is passionate about supporting our staff’s fitness goals and helping them to live a healthy lifestyle. We not only encourage our employees to take part in fitness activities – we incentivize it! When you work in our office building, you’ll gain access to our Treadmill and Recumbent Bike workstations. These uniquely engineered exercise stations allow you to exercise while working. In addition to the healthful benefits this offers, Call Specialists that take advantage of this office perk are actually paid more through our bonus system.
While the pandemic has led to a shift away from our staff working in the office, ASD remains committed to helping our Call Specialists meet their fitness goals. We teamed up with Planet Fitness to offer every one of our employees a free gym membership. Once you have been employed with ASD for 90-days you can take advantage of this awesome company benefit.
ASD Employees taking advantage of their Planet Fitness memberships.
7. Plan and save for your future
“I started with the company in 2009 and back then, tuition reimbursement really helped me stay in school. I was able to finish and graduate,” says Lead Creative Designer, Juan Silva. “Working as ASD’s graphic designer today allows me to contribute to ASD's already existing success by doing something I love.”
ASD has always been and continues to be an excellent place to work for college students. We understand students often have difficulties finding financial aid for college. By providing tuition reimbursement, ASD has been able to help countless employees achieve their academic goals. Many have used their education and increased skills to move up to higher positions at ASD. In addition, employees can also enroll in 401k program to save for their retirement with ASD matching contributions. We provide this benefit to every employee including those working part-time to encourage our staff to think of ASD as a place for a career, not just a job.
“Because I am putting myself through college, the tuition reimbursement ASD offers has been very helpful regarding my academic pursuits,” says Client Solutions Supervisor, Andrew Yavil.
8. Advancement opportunities
“Since joining ASD, I’ve always relished in taking on new roles and responsibilities. Going from Call Specialist work to training to assisting Supervision to teaching the classes, I was able to gain insights into each department,” says Client Solutions Specialist, Daniel Eckenrode. “As I grow with the company, it’s cool to know I will be able to take the knowledge I learn from each department to better assist the company I love.”
If you’re wondering whether ASD is the type of place where you can advance within the company, consider this: 93 percent of ASD employees were hired for an entry level position. ASD's policy of promoting from within creates excellent opportunities for our staff to grow. We reward proven talent, so it's no surprise many of our employees were hired as Call Specialists and have since found their careers at ASD.
“If you want to grow, this is the perfect place. It very much believes in people who believe in themselves,” says Operations Supervisor, Michael Maurer. “It’s a family-owned business that’s organically grown and there’s a lot of opportunity here.”
9. Gain a “second family”
“Through my time at ASD, I have most enjoyed the sense of camaraderie,” says Client Solutions Specialist, Daniel Eckenrode. “We have worked ourselves into a very odd niche that most people cannot quite understand. As such, a lot of us have grown to rely and confide in each other with some of the challenges we come across from day to day. It has built a nice community of everyone supporting each other, and it’s a great feeling to be a part of it."
ASD’s Employee Appreciation Food Truck BBQ Held June 2021
ASD is a family-owned and no matter how much the company has grown over the years, it has never lost that feeling of a small, tight-knit family. Our workplace culture is like nowhere else. So many friendships, relationships…heck, even marriages began inside our building! Those that come to work here often decide to make ASD their long-term career; largely due to the many different ways we work to support our staff and help them to reach their full potential. The unique nature of the job itself also seems to naturally encourage staff to bond over shared experiences.
In addition, we also hold many Team ASD events including athletic competitions, awareness walks, volunteer days and office contests for our employees and their families. While most of these beloved traditions were sadly cancelled in 2020, we are so happy we can start bringing everyone together again. By fostering opportunities for collaboration and keeping everyone in good spirits with our numerous “only-at-ASD” job perks, we have built a strong sense of community in our company.
“I was in a really bad car accident and I had to learn how to walk again. Knowing that I had a job to come back to, the security, the love, the care, the concern was amazing. It made me feel like I had a second family,” says Operations Supervisor, Margarita Santiago. “I really love what I do and the people I work with and for. Being able to grow with the company and to see all the changes and new advances throughout the years has been so exciting. It’s been really amazing to see, and I’ve been proud to be a part of it.”
10. Other awesome and unique job perks
As we mentioned above, our workplace culture here at ASD is unique and so are many of the workplace perks we offer to our staff. Below are just a few of the more interesting ways we have endeavored to create a welcoming environment for Team ASD:
Gazebo Garden and Koi Fishpond: Featuring a picnic table, stocked Koi fishpond and waterfall, this inviting outdoor space has become a favorite spot for ASD staff to relax and unwind while on break or before their shift. Our employees appreciate having an outdoor space where they can hang out and enjoy some sunshine. We also enjoy spending time with the shiny Koi fish who everyone takes turns feeding.
Virtual Slideshow: ASD has created a new, 21st century version of the office photo board by allowing our staff to add photos to their ownVirtual Slideshow. Up to 500 photos can be uploaded and our staff need only text the photo to a phone number to get it added to their own custom slide show.
Break room massage chairs: In 2019, ASD finished work on a brand-new breakroom for our staff. Featuring modern design touches, natural light, and awesome amenities like our new massage chairs, the spacious new room offers our staff a relaxing place to enjoy their work break.
There are a lot of places to work and we’re glad you’re considering ASD for your future employment. If you’ve read this far and are wondering what steps you need to take to be considered for our Call Specialist position, please visit our Career page for more information. Thank you for taking the time to learn about the benefits and rewards of working at ASD. To summarize, we’ll let our employees do the talking:
“I've been working at ASD for almost 2 years now. It's the best place I've ever worked. I feel included and valued by every level of the company. They really try to foster a family feeling for all of their workers, and I have always felt that I am a welcomed and loved member of the ASD family.”- Antonia Montague, Advanced Call Specialist.
“For me, the most rewarding part about working at ASD is that I haven't only developed a relationship with my coworkers, but I have gained a second family. I also feel privileged to have helped console so many families in my time here. I’ve had the opportunity to work in three different departments at ASD; I started as a call specialist, then after 9 years I had the experience to work as a New Client Specialist with our Sales team for 3 years, and most recently was given the opportunity to join the ASD Client Solutions Team. It’s been a great adventure so far!”-Sue Fritz, Client Solutions Specialist.
“I’ve been working at ASD just shy of 3 years and feel valued. Standards are set high for employees, as to make us strive to provide the best possible service to our clients and the families they serve. Supervisors and managers pay attention to our day to day work and are constantly providing advice, training and operational and technical updates to help staff with efficiency. We are shown appreciation with opportunities to give back to the community, with nice tokens of thanks and acknowledgement about challenging workdays, especially through the COVID 19 Pandemic. I’m a happy part of the ASD team.”-Harriet Hennigan, Advanced Call Specialist.
17 Ways ASD Promotes a Supportive Company Culture
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