Serving New Funeral Consumers: Embrace Technology
June 29, 2020
By Josh McQueen, Vice President of Product
Funeral consumers are changing, and they’re being influenced by shifts occurring within society. These “forces of change” range from the technological revolution to shifting religious views, and consumers have started to view funerals differently as a result. In fact, a study by McKee Wallwork + Co revealed that funeral consumer behaviors and preferences are different from generation to generation. Based on their answers, participants were divided into six different groups, and this article briefly outlines each type and includes information about growing and shrinking types.
So, how do you make your funeral home appealing to these new funeral consumers, especially the growing types: Solo Secularists and Click & Callers? So far, I’ve covered three ways: create focus and clarity, reclaim your identity, and plan custom experiences. In this final article, I will explain how embracing technology will enhance your collaboration.
A Step in the Right Direction
Not too long ago, Pizza Hut launched a new method for ordering its pizzas: shoes. You read that correctly. By simply pressing on the shoe tongue (remember Reebok Pumps?), your favorite pizza would automatically be ordered and your credit card on file would be charged. Social media went crazy for these limited-edition shoes, even though the whole endeavor was a marketing gimmick.
Most of the large pizza companies now have huge software development teams that have developed apps to let you order and track your delivery and even give you the ability to simply text a pizza emoji to automatically order your favorite pizza. While I don’t think you have to worry about shoes and emojis, the pizza business serves as a reminder that technology is no longer a “nice-to-have” luxury but is instead a necessity for your funeral home.
Use Technology to Collaborate
At Passare, we think that technology should primarily help you with one thing: collaboration. When you are successfully collaborating, you see that communication is unhindered and your processes are highly efficient. Here are four ways you can use technology to achieve collaboration:
1. Collaborate with your team
As we often say around here at Passare, “Funeral service is a team sport.” The days of one person doing everything involved in a funeral – from the first call, meeting with the family, filing paperwork, printing prayer cards, etc. – has come to an end. While there might be a single point of contact for the family, there are often multiple people in the background helping with a service. Your technology should make each of these individual processes simpler while also creating transparency for your entire team.
2. Connect your locations
You shouldn’t be driving from one location to another to find the information you need. Many funeral homes are still using outdated software that can only be accessed on a single computer or needing to pull a file from the cabinet. However, today’s technology allows you to digitize all that information so it can be accessed anytime you need it, anywhere you happen to be.
3. Communicate with your partners
How often are you writing or typing the same exact information to send to half a dozen different entities? Technology allows you to enter your information once and then send it to your website, memorial printer, assignment company, accountant, and any other partner or organization. And the fact that your data is guaranteed to be error-free once you enter it right the first time is priceless.
4. Care for your families
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but families don’t like the arrangement conference. To clarify, families don’t like sitting for 90 minutes and answering the funeral director’s questions, including “What was mom’s maiden name?” and “What was mom’s social security number?” When I say this to funeral directors, the most common response I get is, “But that’s how I learn about the family!” The only problem with that response is that it is all about what is most convenient for you. Not the family. So, what do you do? This is the question we’ve been tackling at Passare with our Collaboration Center.
Using Technology to Connect to Consumers
The new funeral consumer is wanting a more digital interaction with you and your business. The Collaboration Center is an online environment in which you can give the family the option to complete as much or as little of the arrangement process online as they want. Not every family wants to use technology, and that’s okay. The goal isn’t to force anyone to do something they don’t want to. It’s to give the Click & Callers and Solo Secularists the option to communicate with you in the way they prefer. This can only result in higher customer satisfaction and more referrals!