Consumer-Driven Trends Affecting Funeral Services

August 26, 2009
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image With 50 years in the business, Mike Morrison has seen trends come and go in the funeral home industry. Some are for better and some are for worse, but a lot of what I’m seeing now has to do with people and what they want,” said Morrison, who is a funeral director and owner of Morrison Funeral Home that has locations in Cherokee, Florence and Tuscumbia.

Technology, especially as it adds convenience with the right touch of reverence, is the driving force behind the changes that are taking place at today’s funerals, he said. It’s not unusual, for instance, to attend a service that includes a photo montage of the deceased’s life that’s set to music, to purchase a DVD of the service to watch later or even to offer your condolences through an online guestbook when you’re unable to attend in person.

John Reed, president of the National Funeral Directors Association, said funeral homes nationwide are being more progressive and moving toward incorporating more of these elements into their services, especially as baby boomers are seeking ways to personalize these events.

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But, like Morrison, Reed said he remembers when something as ubiquitous as music took on a vital role at funeral services.

“The only technology (funeral homes) would have would be a reel-to-reel recorder, maybe an organ and, if they were lucky, an electric adding machine,” Reed said. “Some firms in some places would have more, but this you would find consistently. As times moved forward, we’ve seen eight-tracks, cassettes, compact disks, and now, music systems have taken over that include all sorts of sound products.”

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Photo By: Daniel Giles/TimesDaily

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