5 Years Into The Future Of Funeral Service
Article By: Lajos Szabo of FuneralOne
Five years into the future? I’m lucky if I can predict what I am doing next week!! That being said, enjoy these prognostications! My first one is that many of you will wonder if I had to look up that 5 syllable word!
In no particular order, here is what I’m predicting the funeral profession will look like in 5 years:
• Cremation Rate: The national cremation rate will hit 57%. No surprise there but I don’t see this trend changing until the industry starts addressing some of the underlying issues brought on by the shift in demographics and pricing strategies. And this requires change, something we have not been very good at. But we’ll dig into this in more detail in a later blog post.
• Online Funeral Arrangements: 25% of all funeral arrangements will occur online and many funeral professionals will discover that this scary proposition delivers more education and value more easily than when dealing with an actual human at the funeral home. There is a belief out there that quality funeral service requires human contact. This will be challenged and new learning will occur.
• New Business Model: A new business model will emerge that turns the conventional wisdom of funeral service on its head. It will attack the four major costs of the industry—people, facilities, advertising and cost of goods—and dispel the common thinking that these things “are what they are”, and there is nothing we can do about them.
• Publicly Owned Companies: There will be two less publicly owned companies. Time will push people into a corner and grow we must!
• New Major Player: There will be a brand new major player in the industry, possibly not related to the funeral profession, that will approach the challenges of funeral service from a different perspective. I know, I know this has been predicted or feared for some time but I believe their less conventional way of doing things will appeal to the critical mass of Baby Boomer decision makers, creating larger and more attractive opportunities.
• Cost Sensitivity: 70% of the industry will head down the cost sensitive path. I am not sure if we will hit rock bottom but there will still be a large opportunity for firms who believe in supporting the emotional needs of those touched by death.
• Pre-Need: Pre-Need will go through a major shift. The current business model is struggling and as a result appears to be working at odds with the funeral industry. This friction will come to a head, smart business minds within the funeral profession will focus on it and new powerful solutions will emerge.
• Victors of the Future: To the victors go the spoils. The victors of the future will be champions of change and not afraid of risks. In fact, their battle cry will be something along the lines of “Fail faster!!”
For the most part we don’t know what we don’t know, particularly about the future! And I am sure I have demonstrated that point effectively. But take a look around. The challenges we see all around us are the seeds of future opportunities. Risk, Learn, Grow! And in five years we’ll see how we did!
Want more insight on a certain prediction? Leave a comment to let us know!
About the Author: Lajos Szabo, a licensed funeral director in Ohio and Architect by training, has been involved in funeral service since 1988. His portfolio of work includes, PMP Rooms, Cut Caskets, Meaningful Memories, Funeral of the Future research and several US patents specific to our industry. Recently, Mr. Szabo partnered with the Schoedinger organization to create a virtual funeral home business model named Funeral Choices. Subsequently, he served as Chief Strategy Officer for Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Service, a 2,500 call 14 rooftop firm in Central Ohio. There, he was responsible for realigning this 150 year old firm to more effectively respond to the changing funeral service consumer. His role included refining company infrastructures, implementing information systems, resource allocation, MourningStar arrangement implementation, website development, social media integration and initiatives impacting the creation of healing experiences for those touched by death. Currently, Mr. Szabo has joined funeralOne as President of Funeral Operations where he will use his industry perspective to provide organizational leadership and develop several key projects in pursuit of his personal mission; changing funeral service to more effectively meet the needs of people touched by death.