No More Excuses… These 9 Tools Will Bring You Funeral Success In 2017
Originally Posted on the funeralOne Blog
As soon as you enter the month of January, there is simply no escape from the topic of resolutions. Whether it’s defining personal goals for the upcoming year, or listing out the professional challenges that may be in the way of business success, it seems like everyone around us has a set plan for what they want to accomplish in 2017.
And as cliche as it may seem to some, the New Year really is one of the best opportunities we have to look back on our successes and failures of the previous year, and create a vision for where we want to be in the future. After all, mapping out our goals and vision for the fresh year ahead is the first and most basic step towards bettering ourselves and our business long-term. The next step is simply to execute… which, unfortunately, is where most people often fail.
Come January 1st, too many people often start running towards their huge goals without first formulating a solid plan of attack, and they end up burning themselves out trying to take on these massive goals all on their own. But if they just took a step back and researched what they were trying to accomplish, they would see that many tools already exist that help us tackle life’s most complex goals and resolutions.
To help ensure that your funeral home succeeds in the New Year, we have put together 9 of our most tried and tested funeral success tools that help support some of the our profession’s more important goals…
Organize For Success
There is only so much that a single person can remember to do each day. And when you think about all of the tasks that funeral directors constantly have piling up in their heads (catch up on emails, make an appointment for pick-up, call back a family, arrange a pre-planning meeting, so on and so forth), it’s a miracle that they’re able to get anything done at all.
This is where Trello comes in to save the day. This simple task management app allows you categorize, assign, manage and track all of the tasks that are floating around in your head. You can easily visualize what you have to do at any given time, see what tasks your team members are working on, and even keep a visual log of what large goals you are working on in 2017. The true beauty of Trello is that it can be completely customized to how you work.
2. Hemingway App
Doesn’t it always seem like writing and answering emails are the tasks that we try and squeeze into the rare free moments we have throughout the day? For instance, quickly writing out an email before a family comes in for a meeting, or trying to polish off one last question from a family before you go home for the night. But unfortunately, when emails become a task that is rushed or quickly executed, we open ourselves up to opportunities for error or even confusion.
Thankfully, Hemingway is the ultimate second pair of eyes when it comes to reviewing your writing for clarity and grammar. You can simply paste anything you have written — an email, a letter, a thank you card, a business pitch — into the app and it will make your writing as clear and bold as possible.
Each year, more and more of our day-to-day resources and tools live online. Emails, online banking, shopping, website management… you name it, and we access it online using a username and password. Over time, this leads to a lot of passwords to remember (especially if you are using unique passwords for each and every website you sign up for, like you should be).
Lastpass is a simple, yet secure password manager that syncs between all of your mobile devices — desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile phone, etc. — to store and protect all of your online passwords. All you have to do remember one master password that you use to log in to the LastPass software, and you will have access to your password manager, a random password generator (for when you need to create an extra secure password), and an auto form filler that will automatically enter your password into your most used webpages.
Educate Your Community
A lot of families look to funeral professionals as the go-to experts on everything death and grief related… and sometimes, this includes seeking out funeral pros for words of wisdom or comfort when they need it most. Your funeral home’s social media page is the perfect place to offer these words of support.
Canva is a simple-to-use app that allows you to put meaningful words on top of beautiful images. This could be a powerful quote about love and loss that you share to bring comfort to your online followers, or even a positive testimonial that you share from a previous family you have worked with. Canva has a number of beautiful images and templates that you can build off of, or you could even upload your own photos of your funeral home. Just make sure that you include your funeral home name or logo on each of the images you create, so families attribute these comforting images back to you.
5. Answer The Public
One of the best (and most cost efficient) tools that a funeral home has for educating their families is a blog. Not only does creating a funeral home blog help to make your website more discoverable, as it will come up when families search for common funeral terms or questions, but it also serves as a great platform for sharing the value of what your funeral home offers. But the most difficult part of managing any blog is coming up with fresh content ideas that your families and community will want to read about… What questions do they have? What information are they searching for? What products or services do they want to read more about?
If you find yourself struggling to come up with fresh, new content topics to write about on your funeral home blog, look no further than Answer The Public. This educational app pulls together all of the most common questions that users have, based on particular topics or keywords… essentially creating a long list of questions and topics that you can dive into deeper on your funeral home website. Simply search common keywords that relate to your funeral home (burial, cremation, funeral service, obituary, etc.) and you’ll never face writer’s block again.
Another great way to share educational content with the people visiting your funeral home website is to use infographics and charts. Just think about it if… it’s much easier to visualize cost comparisons, funeral statistics or funeral trends when you are able to see them in a simple, visual image or compared next to each other, side by side, rather than in long list of text.
Infogram is a wonderful tool that will allow you to create custom infographics, online charts and even interactive maps with your families. Simply input the custom data that you are looking to share, and pick which visual way in which you’d like to showcase the information. You can share these finished charts on your website, on social media websites, on your blog, or you can even print them out and display them in your funeral home.
Provide Value To Your Families
As a funeral professional, it’s sometimes hard to find inspiration for new ways of offering value or personalized services to your families… especially when you are surrounded by others who are so deeply trenched in the ways of tradition. But staying ahead of funeral trends and constantly offering families new and unique ways to celebrate their loved ones is what will ultimately separate those who succeed in this profession from those who fall behind. So it’s more important than ever to keep inspiration at the forefront of all that you do.
Pinterest is one of the best social media sites out there when it comes to finding new, inspiring, unique ways of doing things… whether it’s creating personalized memory stations at a funeral service, hosting a celebration of life event, or offering valuable grief support to families.
8. Survey Monkey
One of the best ways to improve the overall experience at your funeral home is to talk to the families who you have already served. What did they enjoy about working with your staff? Where did they feel that customer service could have been improved? What would they tell others about their experience at your funeral home?
One simple way to follow up with the families to learn about your strengths and weaknesses is with an online survey. Survey Monkey is one of the most widely used and simple ways to get real-time feedback from the families you serve, spot areas of improvement, and even see how you stack up compared to your competitors. You get to choose the questions that are asked, and you can monitor the results as soon as they come in.
Memorial videos are hands down one of the most valuable, meaningful products that funeral professionals can offer to families. Videos not only spark important conversations and memories among the guests who attend a funeral service, but they also serve as a lifelong highlight reel of a loved one’s most important, unforgettable moments that the family can take home with them once the service has ended. However, if you don’t know how to create these beautiful memorial videos in house, then this meaningful product can quickly become a pain to your schedule and your wallet.
Luckily, Life Tributes software aims to put all of the time-consuming, detailed, tedious aspects of creating a memorial video behind us once and for all. In 10 minutes or less, your funeral home can turn a loved one’s life collection of photos and videos into a emotional Hollywood-style video that can be played throughout the funeral service. No outsourcing. No professional level video skills required. Just quick, beautiful memorial videos… created by your funeral home team, every time.