Family satisfaction slipped across case type, technology became more important

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Scottsdale, AZ [ [January 2021]

Johnson Consulting Group has analyzed more than 100,000 sales records and 20,000 surveys for a specially commissioned, in-depth report on COVID-19’s impact on the funeral profession.

“COVID-19 has affected our world in so many different ways,” said Jake Johnson, president and CEO of Johnson Consulting Group. “And it’s affected the funeral profession in ways we need to make sense of as we navigate the future. This report helps us do that.”

The Performance Tracker Trends and Insights: 2020 COVID-19 Impact presents results received as of Sept. 30, 2020 from the 2020 Performance Tracker sales and family satisfaction survey. The analysis contextualizes the effects of COVID-19 pandemic within the funeral service profession and the ways clients are reacting to restrictions on funeral services.

Key findings include:

  • As the pandemic continued through the summer and into fall, families were less likely to recommend their funeral home to others, often citing a comparison such as “it wasn’t as good as previous experience” with a focus on or problem with costs, or the way services were handled as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.
      • Families indicated lower levels of satisfaction than in 2019 across every attribute for burials, most notably with the initial contact and with staff.
      • “Despite the circumstances” became a popular refrain as family satisfaction ratings fell in 2020.
      • In the second quarter of 2020, families reported much lower levels of satisfaction, in particular, for traditional at-need cremations.
      • Family satisfaction levels for pre-need, graveside or immediate burial arrangements, already lower in 2019 than traditional burials, dropped and remained well below previous ratings.
  • Families that were unable to have the services they wanted often opted for lower cost direct or immediate alternatives.
  • The average sale per case at $4,079 in April 2020 is 16 pecent lower than the $4,881 average in 2019.
  • In the 3rd quarter, families paid approximately $500 more for monuments, regardless of whether their service was a burial or cremation. Casket and cemetery sales were higher for both case types, as were alternative containers for burials.
  • Discounts in 2020 were lower overall than were reported in 2019; however, reported discount amounts increased as the year progressed.
  • The limitations of a provider’s technology became a point of dissatisfaction as a single negative experience with a single staff member or even one element not working as intended was often enough to generate a reaction: “Everything was perfect, except my experience with [some technology failure].”
      • Issues with technology, live streams, recordings, , displays and other features often added to an “already stressful experience of trying to coordinate a funeral during a pandemic.”

Lori Salberg, Director of Technology at Johnson Consulting Group’s sister company, J3Tech Solutions states, “COVID-19 presented particular challenges for businesses behind the technology curve. Technology, such as live streaming, was suddenly much more front and center, and limitations became much more glaring.”

The full report is published on the Johnson Consulting Group website as of January 11, 2021.


About Johnson Consulting Group

Johnson Consulting Group is committed to providing intelligent business solutions that meet business owners wherever they are in their business life cycle. Whether you want to grow your business and enterprise value or plan your exit strategy, JCG can assist. With over two decades of creating personalized partnerships and growing revenue with funeral and cemetery business owners, managers and staff, JCG has the expertise and dedication to assist funeral home and cemetery businesses grow in their current operations, start their succession planning, or take their business to market. For more information, visit to learn more.