A Year In Review: 2013 Milestones
Jan 02, 2014
The beginning of a new year is a time for making resolutions and setting goals for the year ahead. At ASD, our primary objective is always to find new ways to provide convenience and peace of mind to funeral professionals. We have several new features and ideas in development that we can’t wait to announce in 2014. As the business world evolves, so has ASD to create the most adaptable solutions and sustainable technology for funeral directors.
Here is a timeline of some of the major milestones our company reached in 2013:
January: ASD begins “Employee Spotlight” & “Favorite Pastime” blog series.
In January, we began two blog series to help us get to know the funeral directors we serve better and to help our clients get to know our staff. Our “Favorite Pastime” series spotlights a different funeral director every month with a unique hobby or talent. The “Employee Spotlight” is a profile on one of our Call Specialists, Assistant Supervisors or Supervisors about their experiences working at ASD as well as their own interests. Be sure to check our blog in the coming weeks for a round up of last year’s favorite pastimes and employee spotlights.
February: The Director Publishes “Never Miss A Call: A 10-Step Process to Bulletproofing Your Phone Lines”
The February issue of NFDA’s The Director magazine included an article from ASD Staff Writer, Jessica Fowler, on how funeral directors can develop a fool-proof communication strategy. The article explains in detail how call forwarding works, what options exist and what questions directors should ask their local phone company. Click here to read it on our blog.
March: Bluefin Payment Systems Joins ASD Rewards Program
In early March, ASD introduced our newest Rewards Partner, Bluefin Payment Systems. Bluefin Payment Systems is a leading provider of merchant account services to the funeral profession. Funeral professionals can take advantage of Bluefin's virtual terminal to process customer payments from any PC, tablet or smartphone. This allows ASD clients to process payments without ever tying up the funeral home’s phone line. Additionally, clients receive an exclusive discount on each transaction with Bluefin in the form of an ASD credit. To learn more, click here.
April: ASD Featured on New Product Showcase Wall at ICCFA Convention
At the ICCFA convention in Tampa, April 10-14, ASD had the honor of being featured on the New Product Showcase wall for our app, ASD Mobile for iPhone and Android. We also debuted a brand new booth at the ICCFA convention featuring our redesigned logo. Our new booth display and logo, featuring real ASD employees, reflects the evolution of our company and the commitment of our team members.
May: ASD Introduces myASD 4.0 & 2 New App Features
In May, ASD unveiled a powerful new web interface for clients. The newly enhanced web portal, myASD 4.0, allows clients to manage every aspect of their ASD account online. The site offers an expansion of features that were available through the old client website along with added user tools and options. Our Technology team was especially busy in May as this was the month we also introduced two new features to the ASD Mobile app. The interactive mapping feature helps directors navigate to addresses that are given to our Call Specialists over the phone instead of having to manually enter the location information into a GPS. The Copy Message Text tool, meanwhile, allows clients to copy and paste information from the ASD Mobile app into a text message, email or other application.
Early June: ASD Adds 2nd Primary Generator
In early June, ASD’s 2nd generator was installed. This was added to our array of backup energy systems. We now have two fully automatic redundant power generation systems each fully capable of supplying ASD's power needs. These systems are tested weekly to ensure they are ready when we need them. During Hurricane Sandy, a hospital was left without power because their only generator failed. ASD's redundant power system is just another example of our commitment to your funeral home.
Late June: ASD’s First Call Connect™ Feature Receives Patent from U.S. Patent Office
On Tuesday, June 18, the United States Patent Office issued ASD a patent for our First Call Connect® feature (Patent No. 8,467,515). First Call Connect® is the only answering service tool that allows funeral directors to serve clients in "real-time", regardless of location or time of day. We invented First Call Connect® so our clients could be available instantly to serve loved ones in their time of need.
July: Kates Boylston Publishes Results of ASD’s 2013 Funeral Telecommunications Survey
Over the Summer, ASD conducted research on the telecommunication trends and behaviors of the funeral service profession. The results of our survey were published last July in Kates Boylston Publication's 2013 Funeral Director's Guide to Statistics. The information gathered was based on feedback from more than 300 funeral professionals and provides a better understanding of how funeral homes use telecommunications to meet the needs of their business. Click here to read more.
August: ASD Mobile Featured on the Cover of the Funeral Business Advisor
The ASD Mobile app was spotlighted as the cover story of the July/August issue of the Funeral Business Advisor. The article, “Your Office At Your Fingertips: How the ASD Mobile App Enhances Funeral Home Communication” outlines the different features, tools and options available through our app. It details the many different ways our app can help directors manage their funeral communications while on the go.
September: ASD Vice President and Family-Member Owner, Kevin Czachor, presents Webinar to OGR Members
On Thursday, September 26, ASD Vice President and Family Member Owner, Kevin Czachor, hosted a webinar for members of the International Order of the Golden Rule. The webinar focused on how directors can utilize the latest advancements in cell phone and Internet tools to grow their business.
Early October: ASD’s Exercise Workstations Featured on Fox29 News Segment
On October 1st, FOX 29 news ran a segment featuring ASD's Exercise Workstations. Fox29 News Anchor, Joyce Evans, interviewed two of ASD's owners and our Call Specialists about how these stations provide an energy boost to the office. Watch the video to see our treadmill and recumbent bike stations in action and get a glimpse of what life is like during a typical day at ASD.
ASD Receives 2nd Patent for Solicitor Shield Feature
The U.S. Patent Office awarded ASD an official patent in October for our automatic Solicitor Shield™ system! On an average day, ASD is automatically blocking 3,500 phone calls from unwanted, automated solicitors. The Solicitor Shield™ feature was invented in house to ensure robocallers do not hinder our ability to answer calls promptly. This is the second patent ASD has received this year! Solicitor Shield™ is registered under Patent No. 8,548,149.
Late October: ASD Hosts Innovation Appreciation Celebration event at the NFDA Convention
In 2012, ASD was recognized with the 2012 Innovation Award for our Smartphone app, ASD Mobile, and this year we wanted to thank everyone who helped us spread the word about the benefits of our app. As a special thank you, ASD hosted the Innovation Appreciation Celebration on October 21st, a cocktail party where funeral directors could relax and unwind after the expo hours ended. It was a wonderful evening and we truly enjoyed catching up with old friends and meeting new ones in such a fun setting.
November: ASD Updates FuneralSync 3.0 Software and Website Integration Program
In November, ASD enhanced our FuneralSync API to allow for integration with every funeral software management company and website provider. ASD's FuneralSync feature allows you to reduce data entry tasks by syncing your systems with ASD. By providing these companies with access to ASD’s API, our clients benefit from using the most flexible integration tool available to funeral professionals. Click here to learn more.
December: ASD Donates $1,000 to Spastic Paraplegic Foundation as Part of Company’s “Exercise for a Cause” Program
ASD employees met a company-wide goal in December of exercising for 1,000 hours on the company’s unique Treadmill and Recumbent bike workstations. As part of ASD’s “Exercise for a Cause” program, $1000 was donated by ASD to the Spastic Paraplegia Foundation. This cause is very close to the hearts of everyone at ASD. Family-Member Owner, Kathy Kelley’s son, Shane Kelley, suffers from the disease and the company is hopeful the foundation will discover a cure one day soon. Employees who use our treadmill and recumbent bike stations benefit from both exercise and the knowledge that they are contributing to an important cause. Click here to learn more.
2013 By Number
Last Year, ASD...
Handled 356,335 First Calls, representing 2.5 billion dollars in potential revenue for our clients
Assisted with more than 14% of all deaths reported in the U.S.
Handled 13,467 calls on our busiest day of the year (December 23rd)
Attended 25 conventions
Received 2 patents
Received 3,279 downloads of ASD Mobile for iTunes
Received 3,121 downloads of ASD Mobile for Android
Enabled Push Notification Alerts for 5,587 ASD Mobile Users
Received more than 29 Five Star Reviews for the ASD Mobile app (97 Total Five Star Reviews since app first launched in 2011)
Recorded an average of 275 downloads per month of the ASD Mobile app
Hired over 25 Employees who have since graduated from our 6-Month training Program
Provided more than $36,000 in Rewards Credits and Discounts to ASD clients ($83,000 total to date since our Reward Program began in 2011)
Shipped 7 boxes of food, clothing and supplies to funeral homes in Oklahoma affected by tornadoes
Donated 55 gifts to the Children's Choice Adoption Program
Donated more than $3,000 to the 4 charities selected this year for ASD’s “Exercise for a Cause Program,” including the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, American Cancer Society, Delaware County SPCA and Spastic Paraplegia Foundation
Provided countless hours of family time to our clients as we help with answering their callers' needs.
2014 will be the year ASD provides a heightened level of service through new efficiencies. We have some incredible enhancements on the horizon so be on the look out for some exciting news from ASD this year! What features would you like to see in 2014? Leave us a comment and let us know how we can help make 2014 a great year for your funeral home.
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