Electronic Guest Books: Lead Generator or Business Shredder?

February 10, 2014
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Article from: Kevin Montroy, Frontrunner Professional

There is a lot of hype these days about electronic guest books and most of the hype, of course, is coming from the technology companies producing them.

As the CEO of a technology company, this latest fad serves to remind me that when it comes to technology, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. And, as more and more funeral homes seek to be the ‘leading’ funeral home in their communities, being on the front line gives them a greater chance of being shot.

The electronic guest book program shows just how technology can go wrong and how these developers are out of touch with the market they are serving. As the former owner of a funeral home for 22 years, I learned just how long line-ups can be to sign the guest book. Combine that with guests’ ages, vast computer illiteracy, and their often-frail fingers, the presentation of an electronic guestbook can be intimidating, to say the least.

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As guests struggle with the crash course in tablet technology, they are also being asked to enter their contact information including an email address, address and zip code. On the surface, this is all done to generate personalized thank you cards for the family while the 20-50 people standing in line behind them are wondering “what the hell is going on??.”

Is this how funeral directors see themselves as leaders? Is this a true service to families? Do funeral homes really think they will gain new business this way? Today, less than 40% of those reaching out to support the family during their time of need are actually present to sign the guest book.

The advent of the newest stylus pen is even more troublesome. What these companies fail to tell you is that the typical stylus must first learn and study a user’s handwriting characteristics before accuracy is achieved. Most reports suggest that after a week or two, the accuracy will greatly improve. This doesn’t help calm visitors waiting in line to sign the guest book and the last time I checked, funeral businesses don’t do well with inaccuracies.

Setting all of this aside, many desperate funeral homes buy into the biggest feature these companies promote – Lead Generation! While this electronic information gathering is intended to create a database of contact information, the reality is that it can cause substantial damage to your credibility.

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