Alrighty, hello, Albert with Parting Pro here. Today, I’m going to talk about something that I think is affecting every funeral home right now, and that is being able to run more efficiently and add precious hours back into your day. So in this presentation I’m gonna walk through how you can add 10 hours back to your week while improving family satisfaction.
This is such an important idea because if you do it right, it will completely change the trajectory of your business, and also your quality of life.
So, I wanted to make a video really quickly since we’re at a very interesting period of time right now. I think a majority of funeral homes, historically, haven’t really put an emphasis into running more efficiency, but have been able to manage. However, a lot of our prospects and new customers have been feeling stretched really thin recently.
People are reporting that they are working non-stop, working 7 days a week with no breaks. The pandemic is causing a lot of changes to normal processes and it’s taking people time to adjust. More and more funeral directors and staff are being forced to quarantine and that creates a lot of gaps at work as well.
Sometimes families don’t want to come in anymore and can’t do things the normal way you usually do things. A lot of firms are getting so busy they actually had to turn families away for the first time - and that is never a good feeling
So because all these things are happening, I wanted to create a quick video and share my thoughts on this and how Parting Pro funeral homes have been navigating through it.
Since I’m making this video pretty quickly.. I just have a few text slides here and some old slides from before, so this will be somewhat of a stream of consciousness discussion.
I’ll start off by giving you a few examples of funeral homes that have been very successful with managing their time.
Lori from Bowman Funeral Directors was able to streamline the way she collects information and signatures from families by working with Parting Pro.
Making it much easier for the families and saving her staff about an hour and a half per case on paperwork and arrangements. This made a huge difference in not only how quickly they’re able to get information from the family back, but the quality of the services they offer because now they have a lot more time to focus on the needs of the family.
John from Scanlin Cremation and Burial has been able to scale up from 0 to 40 cases a month in a period of about 6-8 months. He’s currently able to serve over 40 families a month with himself as the only employee. Because he’s so efficient he’s able to keep expenses low and invest in other parts of the business, like marketing.
Bart from Philadelphia Cremation Society completely replaced his process of sending and receiving forms via email with Parting Pro, which allows for signature without any printing or downloading. He really likes the ability to see how far his families are with paperwork as they are doing it, which results in much better customer service he can provide. He estimates he saves literally a work week’s worth of time any given month. He has a quote here saying it’s been life changing, because he literally has an extra 50 hours he can spend on other parts of the business or his life.
So the question is how can you become even more efficient while improving family satisfaction. I think another way to ask this question could be… how can you make things easier for your families?
We should think about everything in the aspect of the family because if you can make things easier for them, things will naturally become easier for you… and the families will be happier
There will be less uncertainty, less questions to answer, you’ll get information back faster, documents signed faster, paid faster and so much more.
So when thinking about how to make things easier for your families, you can summarize into three simple steps...
First, funeral homes need to truly understand their consumers’ habits and how things are changing
They need to have a thorough understanding about the experience they’re currently giving to their families in all aspects
Finally, after they understand this, they need to leverage technology to their advantage rather than avoiding it
So lets start with the first one.. understanding families
So to understand your families, you need to keep an eye on how consumer habits are changing on a macro level. I dive in more detail on this in other videos, but I’ll summarize by saying:
Your families expect to have an online experience in every aspect of their lives now. That includes at the funeral home.
Every industry has gone through some sort of technological transition and the winners are always those who were able to adapt to their customer needs the fastest.
The funeral home is one of the last to be affected this solely, i believe, because of how late in someone's life they need to look for funeral services, but I am telling you: the transition has already begun and the average age of competency of people using technology/ and the internet is also going up.
So if you understand this… you’ll know that you need to act immediately.
I can definitively say that people pay attention to the experience you give them… and that includes the experience you give them when it’s not in person
Most funeral homes are either ignoring or underestimating the importance of the experience they give to their families when the family is not directly in front of them. And this is not good.
A lot of the funeral homes are seeing a change in the way their families interact with them. It might possibly be due to because technology and the internet has made things so easy and there are more shoppers or people looking for convenience, or maybe because people are moving around more so they're less brand loyal, people have less savings nowadays, they have different perspectives, different preferences from before.
So it’s important to acknowledge that this is happening so you can actually do something about it.
Ok so that’s step 1. Step 2 is where You’ll want to really think about the process you currently give your families.
So it’s a bit difficult to explain what I mean by this… but maybe you should think about comparing your process not to other funeral homes, but maybe to other business that your families may frequent nowadays.
So a very easy example is…I don’t know how many times someone has told me that they’ll email paperwork to the family, have the download it and then print it out, fill it in, sign it, and then scan and email it back.
And they describe that process as VERY EASY. And I guess if you compare this to how things were done 10 years ago… it can be considered easy..
But if you compared this to a modern businesses in 2021… this is definitely NOT EASY.
It might not sound like a big deal… but because of this process, this funeral home is creating a lot of extra work for itself. So for example, because of the extra steps, it takes them longer to get paperwork back and this may hold up other operations, depending on what the paperwork is.
It’s more difficult to give directions on documents you’re printing out… this leads uncertainty and leads to more phone calls and questions This might also lead to more mistakes… which will lead to more corrections..
Because it’s on paper, the corrections take more steps to fix… which then takes more time from the funeral director and then in turn, more time for the family. There’s also an issue with organizing and checking all the paperwork and emails, so it eats up more time for funeral director because it adds extra steps for them.
And then when families have questions, funeral directors can’t see anything and have to guess what the family is talking about which creates longer unnecessary conversations and lower satisfaction
And you can probably go down rabbit hole forever… but the idea is… if you multiply this by the amount of times you need paperwork signed… then it adds a lot of extra time and expenses to the funeral home that are pretty unnecessary.
Now you may want to got through this exercise with pretty much everything:
How you answer price shoppers calls…how you give families the opportunity to look at merchandise or additional services… how you collect payment… how you generate and get contracts signed… how you communicate with each other and how that affects your customer service.
So there’s a ton of things to consider.. But you can see how it all starts with small details that compound.
So it’s really important to really understand these things from the family's perspective.
A lot of people tell me things like “Oh my families can already do everything online, but they don’t want to”
“Oh we have our GPL on our website that they can download.”
“Oh we have fillable PDF’s they can download”
“Oh we have pictures of caskets somewhere on our website they can look at.”
And then when we dig into it.. It’s not actually really set up very well to be helpful to the family. And the families don’t use it because it’s poorly designed and the funeral home isn’t really thinking about from the family point of view in lens that I was just describing.
And this will bleed over into your revenues… it’ll bleed into how it affects your time.
So I’d say when you’re doing this exercise, make sure you are very detailed and always look through from the lens of your families.
Ok so now after you’ve done your homework and really understand what’s going on on a macro level and you see everything from the point of your families..
I’d invite you to begin thinking about using technology to your advantage.
And what I mean by this, is I mean that if you understand your customers and what they want, you’re going to want to be able to give it them in a way that is easy…. according to them.
And you can apply this a hundred different ways in your business.. But just a random example:
A lot of people tell me that they don’t put their prices on their website because they’re scared that people won’t understand them or it will scare them away.
So they just want to have families need to call them so they have a chance to give them their pitch.
And that logic actually does makes perfect sense… so it’s like hey you got to call for this information.. And once you call I got this information pitch that I need to give you that will increase the chances of doing business with me.
So on the surface.. It’s like you’re getting more chances to talk to people…
However… I think I could make the argument that by doing this, there’s going to be some number of people that go to your website, don’t find the information they’re looking for and then move on.
This segment of people, you never even get the chance to talk to or explain the value of your services…
So maybe the problem isn’t whether or not you show pricing or certain information… but actually how you show it and how you show the value of your services in the easiest way possible for the family to understand.
And you can get really creative at this… for example. I made a video last year… that has over 300 hours of view time… so i essentially saved 300 hours over the last year from this video.
If you’re effective at this… now you’ll have more families calling that are more informed, better fit for your services, and you can have much more productive conversations.
So this case actually doing the opposite will provide you with better results…
And this is just one really specific example.. But you can apply this to almost every aspect of your business..
Great. So hope this helps… if you’d like to do a quick strategy session with your funeral home… feel free to take our quiz on the website and we’ll be in touch!