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The Secret Sauce: How We Might Resurrect DeathCare

Article By: Alan Creedy

Is it possible that in some markets people no longer care?

In this series on Funeral Apologetics I have pointed out that our real problem is cowardice and have endeavored to share some techniques that might help the profession fight for itself.  Several very thoughtfulindividuals (whom I also admire) have suggested that, in their market at least, people simply don’t care anymore.   In their opinion, the best that can be hoped for is to do more volume on a shrinking sales average.  But, I would ask: “Is it that people don’t care? Or, is it that people don’t care the way we think they should care?”

I need to make clear that my optimism on this subject springs not from rose-colored glasses.

  • Are we becoming irrelevant?  Possibly
  • Are our margins shrinking? Yes
  • Are we losing ground with every passing day? Yes
  • Do we know what we need to do? No
  • Is there a single solution? No
  • Is there any solution? I believe so, if we fight for it.

But this is not to dismiss the reality that the struggles and challenges faced on a daily basis by our profession, which confronts an increasingly disengaged customer, are both real and acute.  I am not suggesting that impacting this trend will be easy or quick.  It took us 30 years of neglect to get here.  Why should we expect overnight success?  That is specifically why I continue to use a “Fight” metaphor.  Because being passive is not working!  And doing nothing is cowardice.

What we believe and why we believe it is critical to our hope and foundational to our solution.  If we believe that people see us as irrelevant without exploring what lies behind that phenomenon then it ultimately becomes reality.  If we believe no one cares then…ultimately…no one will care.  Not because they aren’t wired to care but because they never knew why they should do some of those irrelevant things that…oddly…happen so spontaneously in tragic public and celebrity deaths.

Click Here to Read Full Article: http://funeralhomeconsulting.org/best-practices/customer-engagement/the-secret-sauce-resurrecting-deathcare/

Alan Creedy

In addition to the weekly Creedy Commentary, I frequently contribute to industry trade journals and speak at trade conventions.Among my affiliations outside the DeathCare industry are The Center For Creative Leadership, The Performance Institute and Human Synergistics.
I believe in giving back and so was recently honored to serve as Chairman of the Funeral Service Foundation.

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  • BT Hathaway

    I just don’t buy the “neglect” line. There have been quality firms, working extraordinarily hard to serve people extraordinarily well and still people come back 10 years later and opt for a limited service centered around cremation.

    If it was primarily about service and the selling of those services, we would have seen some standout firms doing all the business and beating back cremation. 

    But that’s not the case. “Society, “zeitgeist” there are many words, but attitudes and needs shift and/or a new technology comes along and the old way “passes”. In the process margins shrink, an industry consolidates (and it’s not just funeral service) and it either finds another profitable equilibrium or it gets replaces by something else.

    The hard part to see with funeral service is where the stabilization point gets reached and what levels of staffing, what physical plant investments, what number of vendors will be supported in the years ahead.

    Less margin, fewer players. That’s economics and economics aren’t personal, it’s just the way the world works.

    There will be some smart operators who will continue to function well for many years to come. It’s just that the business will be different and no matter how well we “sell” out services and service options, we will still have to run our businesses on a productivity model that we haven’t had to worry about before.

    Staff hours per call will become an important measure for instance. Cost control, cost management (all things we know little about in this business) will all become increasingly important and a competitive advantage.

  • Tim O’Brien

    Alan, you continue to detail and explain in a way that the thinking, caring Professionals will take seriously and hopefully look inward to examine their beliefs and practices – which are their only hope for a viable business that continues into the future.

    I believe generational issues must be looked at seriously and that psychographics need to be separated from demographics – when this happens many beliefs and behavior patterns become clearer and easier to understand. Thanks for another article that made me think – tim 

     

  • Lewisfj

    This industry like no other has neglected its customer and continued to deliver what it wants and not what the customer wants.  What other industry serves its customers out of old outdated facilities and continues to do so or decades on end…..most never even updating the inside of the facility.  The customer does not know what they want, but they know what they don’t want.  A large bill and no value and regardless of how hard you work if you don’t deliver value you are going to become irrelevant and we are.  This industry will consolidate and downsize and the strong and those that can adapt will survive.  

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