Unlike decades past, a satisfied customer doesn’t necessarily mean a returning customer. In today’s round-the-clock marketing and media climate, people are constantly inundated with promises of bigger and better things. Even satisfied customers feel an immense pressure to turn their backs on businesses that have served them well. In this climate of fierce competition, businesses have to think beyond satisfaction to ensure their customers won’t be lured away by the “next great thing.”
Out of sight, out of mind
It is hard to resist the magnetic draw of a good or service that is purportedly improved and, therefore, superior, especially when those selling know us almost better than we know ourselves. Due to the random timing of needed services, clients may go long stretches between connecting with the funeral business. Families may only need your services a few times each decade, yet their allegiances are being tested and redirected on a daily basis through online and other advertising. In a rapidly-changing, technology-driven culture, long-term loyalty is difficult to establish, even more difficult to maintain, and may not be tied to customer satisfaction.
Working hard for the wow
The funeral services business has a longstanding reputation for being attentive and trustworthy, so good service is assumed. Although this seems like a positive at first glance, it can actually make it much more challenging for businesses to stand out. When good service is the lowest common denominator, you have to work even harder for that wow factor by going above and beyond other service providers. Although technology can assist in this process by more easily finding and targeting a certain audience, every business has access to this same advantage. You can’t just wow a little; you really have to work to stay ahead of the wow curve.
UX (User eXperience) reigns
Funerals were once fairly timeless, but even death has not remained untouched by the age of technology. Life is now more efficient and more fleeting, leading to psychological changes in our society. These new emotional values are being reflected in both the way we live and the way we manage the end of life. Cremation over burial, simplicity over extravagance, celebration over sorrow. Our culture is now much more about the experience of living, and even dying, than about the material objects involved. Even when the “user” is deceased, as a culture we are mostly concerned with the production quality of their send-off than the adornment of their casket. In a TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook world, user experience is key in life and even the afterlife.
Beyond customer satisfaction
How do you succeed when you know customer satisfaction isn’t enough? There is no perfect formula, but there are guidelines.
- Accept the current state of business affairs. Knowing and accepting that customer satisfaction isn’t enough is the first step in working beyond that limitation.
- Stay close to your client base and potential client base locally. It is harder to ignore or forget a business that is an active, contributing member of the community.
- Stay close to your client base and potential client base online. In addition to contributing in person, contribute on social media. Be present and be known so that yours is the name that comes to mind when funeral services are needed.
- Be innovative. If simple celebration is the norm, embrace it. Make your options and pricing straightforward and accessible. Don’t be afraid to answer cultural changes with new, interesting business offerings.
- Understand the value of creative services. The meaning once found in picking out the right flowers and casket is now found in picking out the right photos, music, messaging, and celebration medium. Be a single-source provider of the creative elements necessary to produce just the right modern-day celebration of life.
People’s needs and wants are not what they used to be, so funeral services can’t be what they used to be. It is not enough to have a satisfied family, because the world is moving fast and the next time they need your business their needs and wants will be different. Keep moving, keep adapting, and keep providing the right funeral services in the right way.
Contact the JCG team today to learn how Johnson Consulting Group can help you plan your future.