Walkey Posey from Posey Funeral Directors and Mel Pennington, Mayor of Hartsville South Carolina presented an interesting workshop at NFDA this year titled "Re-defining Service in a Technology-Driven World."
Although it was full of valuable information for funeral professionals of any size firm, here are 9 main points you can take away from their presentation:
Pay attention to the 73%
There's only a 9% chance you're going to serve the same family in the same year, but a 73% chance you're going to serve one of your funeral guests in the same year of the family. Why aren't we thinking about those people? How do we change the experience for those 73%?
Always ask "would you do this for your child's wedding?"
Would you put 21 old rusty chairs and 2 outdated tents in your child's wedding? No. What about bottled water with the chapel's logo your child's getting married at? Probably not. Try upgrading something as little as serving water in a pitcher with lemon and limes. Think about how every detail of your ceremonies creates a user experience.
Tell your vendors what you need
Do your vendors not provide the software, caskets, chairs, tents and tribute videos you need to impress families? If they don't, tell them! If you don't succeed, they won't either, so don't be afraid to tell them what you're missing.
Become a master of the 5 senses
When you walk into a funeral home, what do you usually smell? Probably stale flowers, chemicals, and dead people. Don't cheapen your value by not providing a comforting experience. Think about everything from the music you play, to the refreshments you serve, to the lighting in your funeral home.
Show off your facility
Do you have a chapel that fits 300 people? Tell them about it! Don't assume they know everything you offer, and don't think they're going to want to take advantage of your facilities if they don't know what you have in them.
Think about it... what if we could give families an iPad with all the resources they need to upload photos, put in their information, search your prices, etc. instead of just a gold-embossed folder with a Xerox copy of your GPL?
Add low-cost benefits to your service
There are many small details you can add to your service for a small price that are important. What about the presentation of the ceremony? What about the way you present your flowers? What about the way the boutonnieres are placed on the casket? Ask "what is this service going to look like to the public?"
Stop thinking about price
And start thinking about the value of your service. Don't allow yourself to be cheapened. If you lower your prices and don't worry about anything else, why should families choose your home? If families know you provide a valuable service, they're willing to pay the extra money it is to get that service.
Redefine your service
With 3 things: passion, peripherals and performance. Take that one funeral experience to a different level. Otherwise, we'll be consumed by low-cost providers and roadside crematories. Consumers of today are more demanding, and it's time we met their needs.