The Top 3 Best Planning Center Tips for Online Collaboration
February 15, 2021
Although the compassionate service you show families might not have changed in the past year, the way you serve families likely did change. From socially distanced arrangements to staff working remotely, the disruptions in the funeral process were numerous and unexpected. That’s why we worked harder than ever to make online collaboration easier between funeral directors, other staff members, and families with our Planning Center.
A question we’ve received from funeral professionals is, “What are funeral homes doing effectively to use the Planning Center with families?” Well, I’ve compiled the three best tips and have outlined them below.
Tip #1: Practice Your Planning Center Presentation
Think back to the first time you held an arrangement conference. My guess is that you had a few practice runs before working directly with a family. I highly encourage you to practice your Planning Center presentation ahead of time, making sure that your presentation is selling the value of what you and the Planning Center have to offer. If you share it as “something they can use if they want to,” families will not use it. However, they will be much more inclined to try it out if you express how they can use it to review important information, share documents, experience convenience, and connect with you. Just like the value of a funeral, you’ll need to sell the value of using the Planning Center as an online collaboration tool and how it will benefit the family.
Fun Fact: One funeral home devoted an entire day to role playing this scenario with their staff to make sure everyone was comfortable explaining the Planning Center to a family! Don’t have a whole day to practice? Start by sharing ideas and role playing during a staff meeting.
Tip #2: Involve the Family Any Way You Can
Involving the family in the process, as one funeral director put it, “helps the family feel as though they have a little bit of control in an uncontrollable situation.” Below are a few ideas to make the planning process an interactive one:
- Upload prayer cards or memorial folders so the family can view them and make suggestions before final printing.
- Encourage families to upload meaningful photos of the loved one.
- Use the obituary editor feature to show changes to the obituary in real time. This is one of the most liked features for funeral directors collaborating with families.
While those were merely three examples, there are numerous ways you could incorporate the Planning Center into your online collaboration processes to connect with more families.
Top #3: Utilize the Planning Center Questions to Customize the Funeral Experience
Under the Plan section of the Planning Center, there is a list of basic questions to help families begin thinking about what they would like to see during their loved one’s service. If they have never planned a service before, the questions provide guidance and help the family think of ideas, so encourage the family to start there. After taking some time to process the questions, the family will be more prepared to talk about service preferences during the arrangement conference. The family’s answers to the questions give you the opportunity to personalize and prepare for the arrangement conference ahead of time with merchandise and unique ideas.
Use the Planning Center Today
I hope you have received some valuable information and a range of ideas to try in your funeral home. The Planning Center is a truly powerful tool that allows you to reach out and interact with your families in a collaborative way, both online and in person. Try it with your families today!
By Chris Gomez, Director of Product Marketing
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