Funeral Industry: Even Funeral Homes Going Digital

August 24, 2009
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image The World Wide Web can be an invaluable source of consumer information. If so inclined, users can purchase a car, sell a house or even plan a funeral online. That’s right, plan a funeral. Technology has changed the ways of the funeral industry, making burial planning interactive. Trimble Funeral Home launched its first Web site in 2000 with obituaries and minimal information.

Fast forward eight years, and www.trimblefuneralhome.com is now a one-stop-shop for funeral planning.

?We can actually say we have three locations: one in Moline, one in Coal Valley and one on the Web,? company president Eric Trimble recently said.

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The interactive site provides grief support, chatrooms, tribute opportunities, burial choices, pricing, a product showroom and a media center where viewers can see videos on veterans’ benefits, casket personalization, cremation and church services, to name a few — all guided by a virtual host.

?Someone who has lost a child could go on the site and possibly talk with someone else who has lost a child, as well as an awful lot of other interactive ways people can get involved and get a lot of educational information,? Mr. Trimble said.

Mourners can leave condolences or light a virtual candle for the deceased. Trimble’s even is equipped to broadcast a visitation or funeral service via webcast if requested.

?Webcasting isn’t very popular right now, but that might change soon,” Mr. Trimble said. “We haven’t had requests for it, but we can do it.?

Keeping up with technology is as important in the funeral industry as in any other consumer-driven business, he said. Fifth-generation funeral director Reid Trimble handles most of the funeral home’s technology.

?We’ve always felt like, if there’s a technology out there that enables us to better serve our families, we should look into and take advantage of it if we can,? he said. ?What families want from their funeral home is changing, and we are embracing that change in order to offer everything families want.?

The Trimble family bought the funeral home in 1945. Times have changed tremendously, and they would be doing their clients a disservice if they didn’t change with them, the Trimbles agreed.

?Technology allows us to care for the larger community by providing information, choices, options and personalization of funerals — because a funeral isn’t just a funeral anymore,? Eric Trimble said.

?Yours is going to be different from mine. Mine is going to be different from his. And it should be that way,” Mr. Trimble said. “Now we have the ability to explain and show everything we do, give people choices and let them sit at home and study ahead of time.

?When people start thinking about funerals, they may not want to immediately just call the funeral home,.” he said. “But at two in the morning, when they can’t sleep, there it is; there’s our funeral home (on the Internet).?

Article and Photo By: Brandy Donaldson, bdonaldson@qconline.com, Quad-City Dispatch

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