Electronic Guest Registries: The Power of the iPad

December 9, 2012
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Guest Article Contributed by: Michael Kane, Expression Guest Registry™

Ever feel like technology is passing you by? You’re not alone. Many funeral directors have yet to realize how simple ideas (like electronic guest registries) and simple devices (like an iPad) can have powerful impacts on their business, their families and their future.

Thankfully, you don’t need to be a tech guru yourself. Bringing technology—and its many benefits—to your funeral home is really only a click, or a call, away.

One of the easiest ways to get started is to consider using electronic guest registries—one of the latest, greatest technologies created to aid funeral directors. Really just portable tablet kiosks, the devices are simple tools that allow funeral homes to serve their families and connect with the community and enhance their business all at once.

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These simple, portable and powerful tools won’t make coffee or shovel your walk, but they can manage many of the tasks that families and funeral homes find time consuming and tedious.

Several companies have recently introduced electronic kiosks; while each offer benefits, each also has slight differences.

Here are some of the factors to consider when selecting the one best for your business.

  • Ease of use. Most electronic registries are extremely user friendly, using touch-screen technology. But software can vary; do your homework before you buy—selecting one that you and your staff are most comfortable with. Remember, it will be you who are helping your families use the device.
  • Portability. Many kiosks are portable; look for one that can be easily moved for use at a funeral home, church, cemetery or other venue where a memorial service or burial is held. Is Wi-Fi required to run the kiosk? Or does it have offline mode?
  • Fee structure. Some companies offer their software free for use on your business’s iPad, charging clients a usage fee for whichever services you utilize (such as printing thank-you cards, etc.). Others charge a licensing fee—for use of the software for a period of time. Some companies offer various packages depending on the features desired.
  • Functionality. Consider what you want to accomplish with your kiosk.
    • Do you want to be able to accept credit card donations for memorials? (Some devices have this secure capability, providing an additional benefit to families).
    • Do you just want a device for individuals to electronically sign the guest book (and thereby generating a database of information)?
    • Do you want to be able to control your own printing, utilizing the database information gathered? Some systems allow you to do so, which enables you to provide products for the family immediately after the funeral.  Other systems, however, will do the printing for you and ship directly to the family, but charge based on the number of pieces.
  • Lead generation. The name and contact information stored at sign-in allows funeral homes to send personalized emails and newsletters and gather preneed leads to better serve the community and enhance business. It’s one way to increase your reach in the community and, subtlety, introduce your business to potential clients.
  • Technical support. When selecting an electronic guest registry, be sure to inquire about the availability of continuing technical support. Will the company have a representative readily available to troubleshoot? Or will you and your staff be on your own?

Being innovative with technology is simpler than you might think, and the investment of electronic guest registry is small in comparison to the benefits.

About the Author

Wisconsin funeral director Michael Kane is director of growth and development for Expression Guest Registry™, located in Green Bay, Wis. For more information, visit www.epitechleads.com.

CDFuneralNews

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