Funeral homes are increasingly finding themselves on the frontlines of the Coronavirus crisis. In order to maintain a high level of service, many firms are creating new funeral and memorial options such as live-streamed services for families affected by social distancing restrictions on large gatherings. Families may request these limited alternatives even after the pandemic ends, so understanding the current customer experience is crucial to the success of future marketing efforts for your funeral home.
Now more than ever, keeping track of client satisfaction levels should be a high priority for your business. Customer surveys can help you evaluate if arrangement and service adjustments are meeting expectations, and how well your staff is doing overall. Here are the Top 5 reasons why funeral homes should survey their families during this health crisis:
To Assess Customer Experience
The 2020 pandemic has fundamentally changed how funeral services are arranged, which means that the general customer experience will be very different compared to what funeral directors have seen in previous years. One of the best ways to understand what families are going through during this health crisis is to request feedback via user-friendly surveys. After all, if you really want to know what a customer is thinking you should simply ask them.
Many funeral homes use automatic survey tools to obtain responses from families, and some funeral directors openly ask for an honest review in person. With either method, the main objective should be to elicit descriptive comments and opinions that help improve customer service levels and build a loyal client base going forward.
To Source Ideas for Growth
Evaluating a family’s overall satisfaction with your funeral home is essential to understanding what works well vs. what doesn’t. To get an idea of which strategies are successful, consider using surveys to evaluate whether or not you are meeting customer expectations on a regular basis. Keep in mind that the COVID-19 crisis is causing some families to make rushed decisions and choose fewer services, and this unfortunate trend may continue even once the emergency tapers off. Funeral homes will need to be proactive in developing new and effective ways to reach families based on customer feedback, case mix and revenue projections.
To Analyze Gaps in Customer Knowledge
Customer surveys often reveal what people really think about your business. Their responses also provide crucial information regarding unseen gaps in consumer knowledge about the products and services your funeral home offers. For example, families who have lost a loved one to the coronavirus disease may ask for direct cremation only because they don’t know that they can hold a formal service before or after cremation. Professionally-written surveys can disclose key findings that inform the need for additional education and/or marketing to keep families current on their available options for saying a final goodbye.
To Improve Staff Training
Customer surveys can be customized to enhance staff training and improve performance. Survey responses offer insights into the arrangement conference and show exactly how much information families receive — these real-time results can help your staff focus on specific aspects of the funeral experience like financing, payment plans and empathy, and encourage them to reinforce these ideas with every family no matter the circumstances. This is especially important during the current health crisis when many families are under pressure to choose something (or anything) as quickly as possible. A well-trained arranger should be able to guide family members towards a decision that works well for everyone while still meeting sales performance targets.
To Refine Aftercare Programs
Funeral aftercare is just as important as pre-need or at-need care. Even during a pandemic when time and resources are very limited, funeral providers should make an effort to follow up with bereaved families to see how they are coping with their loss and to offer additional sympathy and care as necessary. Sending surveys after the service to ask for feedback can provide relevant information about overall satisfaction and average sales, and is also a great way to ask families to provide testimonials and/or reviews. Customer reviews are vital to your funeral home’s reputation and help establish a loyal community of future customers.
How to Use Customer Surveys
Evaluate your sales performance and stay connected with your families by using the Johnson Consulting Group Performance Tracker — an industry-leading survey tool that empowers funeral home owners to run a more profitable business and provide a better experience for their families. Please call us today to learn more.
Director of Technology
Lori joined Johnson Consulting Group in 2017, bringing experience in cemetery, funeral home, and pre-need sales management. Along with sales and operations management, Lori directed the development of two propriety cemetery and funeral home enterprise software systems. Lori began her career in 2001 as a Family Service Counselor for the Catholic Cemeteries in San Jose. She quickly moved into management and rose to Associate Director of three cemetery locations. In 2010, Lori furthered her career as General Manager of Holy Sepulchre Cemetery and Holy Angels Funeral and Cremation Center in Hayward, CA, where she also joined the Catholic Management Services leadership team. As Director of Administration and IT, Lori brought management expertise and software solutions to cemetery and funeral home clients. In 2015, Lori joined PlotBox as VP of Sales. Lori contributed to the development of a SaaS cemetery software program, and was principally responsible for introducing it to the US market. She is a frequent speaker at many state and regional industry events and an article contributor to many industry magazines. She is also a member of the ICCFA Sales and Marketing Committee, which plans and oversees the Annual World Wide Sales Conference each January. Lori balances her passion for helping clients prepare for the future with raising her three children, Catalina, JJ, and Lyla. She spends a lot of weekends at dance competitions and little league baseball tournaments.