The Missing Puzzle Piece In Your Funeral Home’s Success
Originally Posted on the funeralOne Blog
Have you ever noticed how today’s funeral profession has a striking similarity to jigsaw puzzles?
No, we haven’t gone crazy. Just hear us out…
When you are putting together a jigsaw puzzle, you’re focused on one thing and one thing only – that picture-perfect vision on the front of the box that you are working to recreate. You start out with a foggy roadmap of how you are going to get there… a couple of small pieces that fit together here and there. But more often than not, you are faced with large gaps and unique pieces that you have to find a way to fit together to help get you closer to that ultimate picture of success.
Now, in the world of the funeral profession, those little pieces represent many things: Your funeral staff, the products you sell, your funeral home’s values and beliefs, the services that you provide families, you name it.
And sure, you may have a large percentage of the puzzle complete — a big chunk of pieces that fit together comfortably on the left (the classic products that you have always offered), a small group of put-together pieces on the right (your trusted, long-time funeral staff), and one last bright, unique group of pieces sitting right in the middle (today’s changing funeral market). But the rest of the pieces? They’re scattered around the table with no clear shortcut of how they will help the rest of the picture fit together… and there’s no “perfect fit” puzzle piece in site that looks to be the magic answer.
This, ladies and gentleman, is the biggest challenge in today’s changing funeral landscape.
The Missing Piece In Today’s Funeral Puzzle
The biggest problem with this whole “jigsaw puzzle” funeral metaphor is the way that many funeral professionals view the missing piece. Too often, they are looking for an answer to the puzzle that is the perfect “fit” with their current business. For example, another funeral director that is a clone of the traditional, seasoned staff that they have employed for decades. Or new service options that are as conservative and reserved as the rest of their packages. But therein lies the problem.
“Fit” does not mean finding an answer (or a missing puzzle piece) that is the exact same as your current staff, or the products and services that you currently offer. Think of that real life jigsaw puzzle again… the perfect fitting piece is one that is unique and different, one that contributes something that is otherwise missing, but also one that meshes together with the rest of the picture. It supports the rest of the pieces in every way, but it offers something that was not there before. That’s what makes it so valuable.
If funeral professionals want to work towards that ultimate picture of success in the ever-changing funeral landscape, they need to broaden their sights to what that missing piece looks like for the families they serve.
Is there a gap missing in your staff, or in the products and services that you offer families to give them a better funeral experience? Maybe it’s a mix of both? There’s only one way to find out…
How To Fill The Gaps In The Puzzle
The only way to create a picture of funeral success that lasts ten, twenty or fifty years from now is to identify the gaps that you are currently missing and work to fill those gaps with the perfect fit.
How To Fill Employment Gaps
Every profession has its own unique qualifications… but the role of a funeral professional is constantly changing, adapting and growing by the second. Experience in things like event planning, customer service, tech support and more are now becoming just as important as embalming and pre-need skills. Here are four steps that will help you map out what skills you need from your funeral staff and how to hire the people that are the perfect fit for you:
1. Make a list of all of the different skills and experience that today’s families expect your funeral home to have, or are beginning to request more frequently from you. (For example, experience as a funeral celebrant, speaking multiple languages, creating custom printing materials for services, etc.)
2. Identify whether or not these skills and experiences can be taken on by your current staff members. Any gaps that your current staff cannot fill may need to be hired in.
3. Assess how well new staff roles will fit in with the overall picture of your funeral success. Do you need to hire multiple candidates to fill one or two unrelated positions, or can you find one well-rounded candidate to bridge the gap between the areas that you are missing?
4. For any remaining gaps, assess whether or not you should hire to fill small holes, invest the time and money into developing the skills needed to fill holes in your current employees, or look to an outside service to help bridge gaps.
How To Fill Service Gaps
If you do an assessment of your current employees and potential hire candidates and still find that you cannot fill all of the service gaps that your families are requesting, not all is lost. Luckily, there are many outside resources that will work closely with your funeral home to create and offer the services that your families dream of, or will even take on 100% of the work for you. Here are a few different ways you can fill service gaps at your funeral home:
1. Take the time to invest in or take on these services yourself. You may be surprised just how much value many of them provide. For example, getting trained as a funeral celebrant can have an obvious long-term investment for your funeral home’s success, and all it takes is a few classes and training in the short-term.
2. Partner with an outside funeral company to create meaningful, beautiful services and products together. You no longer have to own a printing company or a movie studio in order to offer the unique, valuable memorial products that your families are asking for. (And you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg shipping them off to a third-party service either.) With software like Life Tributes, you can bring revolutionary funeral tech products like funeral webcasting, personalized printing software and tribute video software right into your funeral home… all without the headache and time-suck that these technologies often bring full-service companies.
3. Ask your families what else they would like to see your funeral home offer. After all, they are the ones that know best about what the future success of funeral service is going to look like… because they are going to be the ones designing and creating it! Look for new ways to to provide exceptional service to your families and go above and beyond with the products and services you offer. Your families will thank you, and the success of your funeral home will show it.
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