People Skills that Build Trust with Your Families

Customer Service Funeral Industry News November 20, 2016

We believe that every funeral director should have the tools to succeed. With the help of our field-leading partners, we publish daily funeral industry news and provide free tools to help our readers advance their careers and grow their businesses. Our editorial focus on the future, covering impact-conscious funeral care, trends, tech, marketing, and exploring how today's funeral news affects your future.

People Skills that Build Trust with Your Families

Originally Published on OGR Blog

Have you ever thought that being in the funeral business would be a lot easier if it weren’t for the people?

But, the reality is that if you are in the funeral business, you are in the people business.

The skills we use to manage ourselves and to respond to other people and situations play a big role in the success of our businesses. With client families, the skill set can include empathy, language free of industry jargon, and active listening. These skills aid in effective two-way communication so both parties have the same understanding and, especially, the same expectations. Having strong people skills builds trust between you and the families you serve.

By following a few simple steps to develop stronger people skills, you can ensure your messages are understood by those you serve, you will give better customer service and you will inevitably get repeat and referral calls.


Healthy relationships are built on the pillars of trust and respect, but they don’t happen overnight.  To build healthy relationships, use rapport to create an environment of trust and respect. Build rapport during the arrangement conference or when you’re out in the community by

  • remembering names,
  • asking questions which probe into what people are feeling,
  • and discovering common interests or backgrounds.

The resulting healthy relationships will help families trust you more as they communicate their wishes.


The biggest mistake made in the communication process is presuming that your message was received and understood. Has this ever happened to you?  Did it result in confusion, hurt feelings, or potentially lost future referrals? To ensure your message is understood when meeting with a family,

  • Ask questions which are open-ended, meaning they cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”.
  • Ask questions that probe into the emotion someone might be feeling and the deeper meaning he/she might not be communicating.

For example, instead of asking

Is there anything else we can do for you before you leave? 


How else can we serve you to ensure you have the best experience possible?

By encouraging feedback you can be more assured your message was clearly received and the communication process has been successful.

Join us on Thursday Nov. 10, 2016 at 1 pm (Eastern Time) for an interactive webinar on people skills and discover that people skills are not a mystery to figure out. They are behaviors that can be learned, developed and repeated to better connect, get along and work with people. Click here to learn more.

Dr. Jim the People Skills Guy, will be taking your questions and showing how these no cost, environmentally friendly and renewable skills can be profitable for you and your business.

Check out his Funeral Professionals page at