Dead Ringers Wants to Know: Have You Called YOU Lately? 

Funeral Industry News June 15, 2020
Orange phone Dead Ringers

Dead Ringers Wants to Know: Have You Called YOU Lately? 

Despite the availability of texts and online chat, voice phone calls still make up more than 60% of our mobile device usage. Many people simply prefer to talk to a human, especially in sensitive situations — like inquiring about funeral planning. A funeral home may receive 10 to 100 phone calls a day depending on size, location, and services offered. This begs the question: Do you know how your team members are answering the phone on behalf of your business? If not, Dead Ringers can help you find out. 

Keep bad phone etiquette from killing your business 

Dead Ringers is a unique company whose goal is to measure and improve your customers’ experiences before, during, and after making contact by phone. Poul Lemasters, Esq. founded the company in 2015 as death care’s first and only fully complete deathcare mystery shop provider. 

What does ‘fully complete’ mean? Up until Dead Ringers, phone shopping for deathcare was subjective, and the focus was primarily funeral homes and cremation. But there is more to deathcare than cremation. 

“Poul realized this was a place within the [death care] profession that was missing,” explains Nicki Wiedeman, Dead Ringers Training Facilitator. “Nothing was being done to objectively measure what was happening on phone calls; let alone websites and social media. There was so much missing from the picture – even basic phone etiquette to get a director on the line was missing.” 

Thousands of phone calls later, Wiedeman and her team have talked to a lot of funeral home and cemetery personnel. They’ve heard the good and the bad, and have made it their mission to help owners and managers transform the latter into the former. 

Have you called YOU lately? 

Far more than a team of “secret shoppers,” Dead Ringers offers a detailed analysis of their calls as well as constructive feedback. The company also provides ongoing monitoring services and comprehensive phone training for individuals and teams. Wiedeman believes learning and practicing excellent phone etiquette is crucial to creating the best first impression. 

“Business phone conversations are more important than ever,” says Wiedeman, especially for funeral homes and cemeteries. “We do a wonderful job handling families, but that doesn’t link up with how we treat them on the phone. My first question when I’m talking to a funeral home business owner or managers is always, ‘Have you called YOU lately?” 

Wiedeman explains that most people truly believe they and their teams are doing a great job. However, when she plays the recorded conversations her callers have had with their staff, most are very surprised by what they hear. 

“I have had folks scream, ‘This is not the – insert your funeral home or cemetery name here – way!” she says. “As we walk through the process of listening to those calls, many of them simply say, ‘We need help.’”

How Dead Ringers delivers 

There are many reasons your firm’s phone etiquette might be sub-par. The person answering the phone may be in a hurry or having a bad day. They might be difficult to understand because of a low voice or thick accent. Or maybe they aren’t familiar enough with your pricing or policies to answer the questions the caller poses. 

Often, they were simply never taught what they should say and how to say it well. Wiedeman reveals that of the professionals she’s surveyed, only 5% have been trained on phone etiquette. Another possibility is lack of training in an office’s phone technology. 

“When we consult with leadership we always ask about their phone systems,” Wiedeman says. “Companies invest thousands of dollars in phone systems, but people struggle with the equipment. They try to transfer and the call goes into the ether, or they have to put the caller on hold to track someone down.” 

The analysis Dead Ringers provides for every call quickly uncovers any and all of these issues. In fact, Wiedeman and her team have developed a technique for grading each call. As the call is dissected, the reviewer assigns a score of 0 to 10 in each of 10 key areas, from initial answer to closing of the call. It also incorporates other aspects of the business that impact the call, such as call follow-up, website functionality, and your usage of social media. The end result is an objective score that is replicable. Dead Ringers provides a baseline so that a business can see where they are strong – and weak – and then decide what they want to fix. When it’s done, we can measure the business again and see what’s working. 

Continuous improvement 

Although every call has the potential to achieve a perfect score of 100, Wiedeman says the average score for a first call is around 40. After Dead Ringers training, though, subsequent calls score at least 15 points higher overall. 

Dead Ringers offers remote training in addition to onsite interactive training programs to help your team improve their phone skills. Many owners and managers, Wiedeman explains, will start with one call and analysis session. For only $49, Dead Ringers will call your funeral home or cemetery once to ask standard questions about your services, including pricing. They will record the call, conduct a thorough evaluation, and meet with you to share the results and offer tips for improvement. 

Every Dead Ringers client will also have access to Dead Ringers HQ. HQ is a custom dashboard which details every point upon which the call was graded so you can see what areas most impacted the call’s score. A monthly maintenance package, which includes several calls every month, will help you monitor your team’s progress over time. You’ll be able to access recordings and scores from every Dead Ringers call on your HQ dashboard. 

It’s still a mystery 

To ensure an authentic experience, Dead Ringers designates its callers based on the client’s geographic area, demographics, and the primary language spoken in the area. Wiedeman explains that accents, words used, and familiarity with local landmarks or towns often protects the caller’s true identity and purpose. 

Since its founding, Dead Ringers has begun to serve professions outside of death care. 

“Death care was our start and is still the base of what we do,” says Weideman. “But we now also serve small parallel companies which don’t have a large call center.” 

For many funeral homes and cemeteries, one call from Dead Ringers is all it takes to understand the importance of proper phone etiquette. Wiedeman is more than ready to demonstrate that fact with your team. 

“We just want to spread the joy of good customer service,” she says. 

To talk to Dead Ringers about their services and schedule your first call, visit or email Nicki Wiedeman at