We all like to think that we provide high quality, unique services for our families.
But is that what someone will really experience when they walk in your door?
Georganne Bender and Rich Kizer are cultural anthropologists that specialize in consumer interests. One of the many aspects of their business has been blind shopping at funeral homes to understand how they engage with potential client families.
Blind shopping – what does it reveal?
How often do your employees greet everyone who walks in the door? How easy is your door to locate and enter through? Do staff immediately launch into a sales pitch, or do they take the time to get to learn about each family, the person they have lost, and what kind of service they would like?
Through years of blind shopping research, their results showed that people were often not greeted, employees often looked distracted or not visible when people walked in the door. Bender even once got stuck outside a building in the pouring rain because staff were not responding to the buzzer that the public had to use to unlock the door and enter the building! Even when staff were located, funeral home employees would often talk in generalities instead of working to get to know a potential family.
What else did Bender and Kizer find out? Keep reading to see some key insights for serving your families in 2020, below:
Your online presence: the first point of contact
Before potential families even visit your funeral home, they are going to look you up online. Just like the importance of positive in-person experiences, your funeral home website needs to be up-to-date and easy to use (among many other boxes to tick, like these). You might think that most of your families come to you from word-of-mouth, or most folks are older and not especially internet savvy. However, while both of these might have been true even a few years ago, today nearly everyone is online.
When a person walks into your funeral home, you might not know anything about them. However, they are likely to know a lot about you. They will have scoured your website, looked at online reviews, and compared you with your competitors. The only people walking into your funeral home are people that have been successfully wooed by your website. If you don’t have an attractive website and good reviews, very few people will even enter your building.
Read More: 5 Easy Ways To Enhance Your Funeral Home’s Online Presence
Your staff: the foundation of your funeral home’s experience
When it comes to in person customer service, take a closer look at your funeral home staff. Is someone always on their phone? Does someone often behave indifferently when talking to a client?
Evaluating employees and working to make improvements amongst your team can be tough. No one enjoys conversations about performance. However, having these conversations will improve your business over the long term. You might also notice an increase in client families, which can help to motivate your staff to continue improving and delivering WOW customer service.
Upgrading your funeral home website: your best investment yet
While your website should be simple and easy to use, you should also make it a one stop shop for any questions your clients might have. Do they also need information on grief counseling? Are they unsure what to ask people to wear to a service? If they can find this information on your website instead of having to search elsewhere, they are more likely to ultimately do business with your funeral home.
Does someone in-house have the ability to design, update, and maintain is successfully? If not it might be time to hire an outside firm to help manage things for you (like f1’s website platform, f1Connect).
Experience = the new economy
Even if you make changes to your website and improve customer service, there is still more work to be done. Funeral homes are now part of the ‘experience economy,’ where people are not just looking for services, but they also want to have a unique experience.
To truly leave a lasting impression for a family that will result in them recommending you to others, you have to go beyond what your competitors do. There will always be new things to focus on and innovate. Creating unique experiences for clients and staying up to date on the latest digital tools can be time consuming. However, over time you and your employees will become more comfortable with innovation and will see the results as you bring in more clients and see how the community is responding to you.
Playing catch up and why it matters
Overall, funeral homes have a lot of work to do to get up to speed in the modern marketplace. To stay relevant and competitive, you have to continue making improvements and keeping your fingers on the pulse of the ever-evolving client needs and interests.
Your clients are coming to you during one of the most difficult times in their lives and are hoping to entrust you with making the final arrangements for a loved one. For them, working with you is a far more high stakes conversation then almost any other business they will work with. So make sure you’re helping them in a way that leaves everyone feeling uplifted in the end.
Make sure your funeral home website has what it takes to be successful in 2020
Click here to contact funeralOne to learn about how our website success specialists can help you explore the possibilities of your website in order to bring success to your funeral home and your families.
How else are you seeing your client families shift in 2020? Tell us in the comments below!