5 Things A Funeral Director Should Never Say

Customer Service Death Discussions Funeral Industry News March 5, 2015
Ryan Thogmartin

Ryan Thogmartin is the Founder and CEO of DISRUPT Media, a Funeral Home Marketing Company specializing in social media. Ryan is also a deathcare entrepreneur who has launched; DeathCareJobs.com, PriceMyFuneral.com and Funeral Nation TV.

5 Things A Funeral Director Should Never Say

In todays world of limitations, funeral homes should do everything possible to remove the limits on the services they provide to families they serve. Why? Because funeral directors are professionals who should focus on the needs of the grieving family, and not trouble them by discussing the difficulties they encounter by providing exceptional service when it is needed most.

During the 10 years I spent working for a Wilbert burial vault franchise I heard funeral directors say this all to often –‘Let’s carry on the conversation back at the funeral home, the vault man needs to do his job.’ I hated hearing this. I thought to myself how rude it was for the funeral director to hurry a family along when they we burying a loved one. The funeral director was there to serve the families needs, not his own.

Here are five things a funeral director should never say to a family:

1. The visitation is over. It’s time for everyone to leave.

Visitation times are scheduled to provide a basic time frame for the gathering, but families often find that they want to continue visiting with their guests for an hour or more after the visitation is scheduled to end. This should be encouraged by the staff.

2. We can’t have your service on that day, we’ve already got two services going on. 

Funeral services are scheduled for the convenience of the family, and although the funeral home may need to hire additional vehicles or staff for additional services on the same day, the wishes of the family should be accommodated.

3. I’m sorry, but I can’t meet with you today because it’s a holiday, or because we only work from 9 to 5, or I can’t drive out to your house to meet with you.

Meet with families when and where it is convenient for them, whether this means meeting after hours or at whatever location meets the needs of the family.

4. Because of the number of guests expected, there will be an additional staff charge.

Large funerals require additional staff and equipment to run smoothly, but a family should not be punished for it.

5. There will be a fee for transporting your flowers to nursing homes around town/to your home after the service/to church for the service. 

The funeral home should move flowers from the chapel, to church, to the graveside, to the family home, and to nursing homes and hospice at the request and for the convenience of the family without additional charge.

There will be an additional charge for transporting your loved one from the place of death because: Their size requires additional staff and equipment/It’s Christmas morning/We will have to make additional trips because the family decided that they needed more time.

Death takes place at any time, and the transport of the deceased can be complicated by many factors including time and location. You or someone on your staff should be available when the family calls. The long hours you work should never be a topic of conversation with a family. You may have been up all night working, you may have another arrangement to make soon, or you may spend extra hours past a scheduled service or visitation, but when meeting with a family, your focus should be on their needs, not yours.