The New Funeral Consumer: Click & Callers

By Josh McQueen, Vice President of Product

2020 has been a year of industry change, and consequently, consumers have changed as well. Over time, various factors have influenced society, and I reviewed four of these factors back in January. These “Forces of Change” included the technological revolution, dispersed families, society’s limited experience with death, and shifting religious views. With these societal shifts, you may be wondering: how has this affected consumers? In this article, I will reveal the traits and behaviors of the fastest-growing group of funeral consumers and offer tips on how to meet these new consumers’ expectations.

And the Survey Says…

In 2011, some of the largest funeral homes in the nation started noticing that the customers they were seeing were very different from previous generations. To find out what was going on in their markets, they hired McKee Wallwork + Co, a market research firm, to conduct the largest study ever performed on funeral consumer behaviors and preferences. McKee Wallwork + Co interviewed 3,000 individuals and asked them hundreds of questions to identify consumer preferences and trends.

The study revealed six distinct consumer types, or “personas,” that exist in the market today. The consumer types were the Pine-Boxers, Funeral Friends, Polite Farewells, Dead-Enders, Solo Secularists, and Click & Callers. The study also revealed that some consumer types were growing while others were declining in numbers. This week, we move onto the last segment of the funeral market and the one that is seeing the biggest growth: Click & Callers!

The Click & Callers at a Glance

Click-Caller-Circle-minClick & Callers represent the biggest shift in buying preferences. Like others, this segment identifies as non-denominational Christian and attends church very regularly. They have a respect for funeral homes but don’t necessarily want a funeral director’s help. Instead, they prefer a do-it-yourself approach in planning and use the internet to find their answers. Due to this approach, the funerals they organize tend to have many religious elements but are also highly customized. One Click & Caller summarized his expectations by saying, “Help me get the best value by doing it myself – creating a completely customized experience with personalized selections that best honor my loved one.”

The Click & Callers by the Numbers

Here are some statistics about this type gathered from the McKee Wallwork + Co study:

  • 52% of Click & Callers are female.

  • 98% of this group is under 65 years old.

  • 65% work full or part-time while 14% are homemakers.

  • The median income for this group is $65K.

  • A college degree is their highest level of education.

  • They can be found on the East and West Coasts but are rapidly growing throughout the nation.

The survey showed that Click & Callers have an overall positive attitude toward funerals. They are also highly educated and comfortable with technology. Like Funeral Friends, they want a traditional and customized planning experience. 50% said they prefer to make arrangements online or by phone, which marks a significant difference from the other types. 48% of Click & Callers noted that it was important for them to see the body, and this act would help them on their grief journey because 98% said that grieving is necessary. For the service, 78% stated that tradition and ceremony are important. Better yet, nearly 60% said they know a mortuary they trust.

The Click & Caller Consumer and You

Click & Callers prefer to explore, plan, and prepare digitally. Even though they are a do-it-yourself type, they may need solutions and ideas for customization along the way. You’re likely to encounter a Click & Caller online before you meet face to face, so, keep the following things in mind:

  • Start reaching out through social media, community awareness programs, and educational content to begin building a trusting relationship with Click & Callers early on.

  • Provide an online planning experience that allows these consumers to feel like they are taking an active role in customizing the service.

  • Make sure that your planning and communication options are convenient for those who prefer to collaborate online.

  • The grief journey is important to the Click & Caller; so, be sure to explain the grief resources you have available in your funeral home.

  • Don’t make the mistake of assuming that because a customer wants a digital buying experience, that they want a direct cremation. Remember that Click & Callers appreciate tradition, ceremony, viewing the body, and processing their grief through a healing and personalized service.

That’s it for Click & Callers! Earlier, I mentioned that some consumer types were growing, while others were declining, and I will be posting a follow-up article that will explain which types are on the rise. In the meantime, feel free to read the other articles in this series. See you then!

 

For more information about the six funeral consumer personas, including a further break down of each type, download our free eBook, The New Funeral Consumer.

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