3 Things That Should Drive Your Funeral Home (& Everything You Do)
Article by: Joe Joachim, FuneralOne
This month, the funeralOne team was in New Orleans for ICCFA 2016! Throughout the 4 days of this exciting funeral conference, some of the most innovative people in our profession gathered together to share their views on the future of funerals. Unable to make it to ICCFA 2016? You’re in luck – we’re sharing some of our favorite sessions of the conference so you can write the next chapter of funerals with us! Enjoy!
This past month for ICCFA 2016, I was approached to speak about any topic of my choosing that might be interesting and educational to those in the funeral profession. Now, I don’t usually do a lot of speaking events – not because I don’t enjoy them or think that they are beneficial – but because I like to spend the majority of my time and energy behind the scenes, pouring my heart and passion into the many solutions that funeralOne offers to your funeral home to help you better connect and serve your families.
See, I’m not your typical CEO. I’m notorious around our office for spending more time working on my laptop pulled up next to our designers, product managers or customer experience specialists than I am working in my own office. I live and breathe the work that I do, and the products and ideas that are being created in our office are what make me jump out of bed in the morning.
So when I sat down to think about the most important things that I have learned since I started in the funeral profession, it wasn’t technology or funeral service that popped into my head first. It was something much, much bigger than that.
It was a mindset that centered around three single drivers that have defined everything that funeralOne has done since Day 1. It’s these three things that I repeat to myself when I get stuck in a project, or when I find myself at a crossroads in our profession. And it’s these three things that I think will single-handedly separate those that find success in the funeral profession from those that that will get left behind because they refuse to adapt.
The 3 Guiding Principles That Rule All
When I first got started in the funeral profession nearly 14 years ago, everyone around me used to question why I got into this dark, creepy, gloomy career. But what others saw as a profession that would always be stuck in the traditional, cookie-cutter ways of the past, I saw as a challenge and an opportunity for something great. It was clear to me that today’s families were nothing like those of the past. What they valued, desired and needed had changed, and it continues to change year after year. So I asked myself, how could I meet that change? How could I give families the funeral service that they needed, rather than the one they wanted? In the end, it came down to three guiding principles that have come to define and guide everything we do at funeralOne… and that I think will change the way that you run your funeral home.
The single most important thing you can do for your business (and, I would argue, your life in general) is define your purpose. Without it, you are just wandering through life with no aim and no set goal that you want to achieve.
Purpose is the reason behind why something is done or created in the first place. The reason for which something exists. The reason why you get out of bed in the morning. Without purpose, you will never truly be able to understand what you are working towards, and what you should be doing in your business day-in and day-out. Your purpose should act as the guiding light that you are constantly shifting your focus towards. It defines the types of products your funeral home will sell, the kinds of services that you offer your families, and even the type of business you will become. Without purpose, you are simply walking along in the dark, hoping that by some miracle, you actually get where you want to go in life.
Once you define your purpose, the rest is just connecting the dots. You simply take a look at where you are now, compared to where you need to be to fulfill your purpose, and then follow the steps along the path that get you there.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is (possibly) by Henry Ford when he spoke of the innovation behind the automobile; “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Now, many argue whether or not Ford actually said this quote… but the meaning behind the words still stand. Sometimes to be a leader and an innovator in your profession, you can’t give people what they want. You need to give them what they need. When I first entered the funeral profession, this meant disrupting what both funeral directors and families thought of a traditional funeral, and inspiring them to think differently.
The truth is, in any profession, if you want to attract customers, you need to give them something that they will love. You need to challenge them to think differently. In the funeral profession, this meant inspiring people to think about funerals in a new way, and changing their perspective from focusing on the loss, to celebrating the life lived.
We did this through innovative funeral solutions that inspired both families and funeral professionals to tell a loved one’s story in a new way, whether it be online through an social memorial page or a beautiful Life Tribute memorial video. Both of these solutions inspired families to think differently about what a funeral service could look and feel like – a chance to celebrate and remember the amazing stories of a person’s life, rather than focusing on the loss.
So how can funeral professionals inspire today’s extra picky, highly-demanding families? Show them what their funeral service could look like, rather than telling them… or worse, waiting for them to come into your funeral home and ask. Your website is the single best tool for showcasing the value of your funeral home’s services and inspiring families to think outside the box… or in this case, outside the casket.
Pray Funeral Home (above) uses the f1Connect Explore The Possibilities tool to inspire families to think differently about how they might honor their loved one’s life. With images and stories of different funeral options that help families visualize everything from a patriotic veteran tribute to a deep blue sea dive, families will have no problem being inspired by the services that your funeral home offers.
Last, but not least, once you have designed your purpose and inspired the people around you, it’s time to enable your families to walk with you along your journey. How do you do this? By educating them on the value and meaning of the funeral services you offer. By doing this, you can create better funerals that today’s families will actively seek you out for, and you can give families an unexpected, magical, emotional experience that they can’t stop talking about.
Steal a page out of our playbook – in everything we do, we enable families by educating them better than anyone. Every one of our funeral solutions aims to reinvent what they think of even funeral education. We want to inspire them and give them a-ha moments at every turn. We want to make it easier than ever, not only to learn, but to actually find a solution to their challenges. We do this by educating families and inspiring them through the emotional, visual content on our websites, and guiding them through every step of the funeral process – opening their eyes, ears and minds to what is possible.
Your website needs to do the same. It needs to stop focusing on what your funeral home looks like, who the people are that work there, and how long you have been in business. Instead, it should focus on your families – how you are going above and beyond to bring their needs to life, and how your space can instantly transform into the ultimate healing experience for them. After all, your funeral home’s biggest challenge isn’t getting families to understand who you are… it’s getting them to understand what you do and enabling them to design a funeral service that they will love.
If you are ready to write the next chapter of funerals by finding your purpose, and inspiring and enabling your families, we want to help. funeralOne’s line of solutions was created with your families in mind, and our ultimate goal is help your families see the value in what you do.