Tips for Delivering Great Funeral Service

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Everyone has their own ideas about giving and receiving great service, but funeral directors and staff are often expected to go above and beyond every time.

Each year, OGR awards three member firms with the Exemplary Service Award. Winners are chosen from comments received from families through the Family Contact Program. This year’s winners had a lot to say about the type of service they strive to provide and how they deliver great funeral service.

Their advice for being exemplary? See below.


Rodriguez Exemplary 1d Rodriguez Exemplary 1A  Rodriguez Exemplary 1B
                                                 James McQuade, Owner of Schuyler Hill Funeral Home, Bronx, NY

How do you know what a family wants if they don’t tell you? How does the family tell you if you don’t ask? Communication requires a delicate balance between both parties. Although funeral directors do this every day, many families are often new to the process. Families may think less of their experience if they feel out of the loop or confused by what is happening around them.

Takeaway: Inform families about funeral service procedures. Be transparent with your pricing. If a mistake is made, be straightforward with them and work together towards a solution. Double check the obituary for any errors and run it by the family again before sending it to print. Don’t be afraid to inform them of any potential mistakes; they will be grateful for your attention to detail in the end.



Rodriguez Exemplary 2d

Rodriguez Exemplary 2a   Rodriguez Exemplary 2b   Rodriguez Exemplary 1c

David Boone, President/Owner & Linda Holman, General Manager of Boone Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services— West Jefferson, NC

Every moment counts to a grieving family. Everyone wants their goodbye to their loved one to be as meaningful and perfect as possible. People often remember the negative before the positive, so making sure even the smallest detail is taken care of can keep you from providing an unpleasant memory of the service.

Takeaway: When every detail counts, even the smallest act of kindness can ease the greatest pain and will go a long way in making a lasting impression. Any gesture can make a difference, like offering a cup of tea or coffee to a tired family or walking a widow to her car after an arrangement conference. Follow Boone Funeral Home’s example and go above the call of duty to help out a family.



Rodriguez Exemplary 3c
Rodriguez Exemplary 3b  Rodriguez Exemplary 3a

Terry Plummer, Owner of Plummer Funeral Services, Inc. –Litchfield, IL

Flexibility is key. Each family wants to commemorate the passing of their loved one in a different way. Be prepared for traditional and nontraditional requests. Often times, keeping up with the changes in products and services can be trying, but families notice when someone is truly listening to them and doing their best to assist them in honoring their loved one.

Takeaway: Think on your toes! If you don’t offer something that a family truly wants, figure out a way to get it. Are they interested in biodegradable urns? Would they like to know more about green burial? Do they want the service webcast? If they ask for something you don’t have, tell them you will find it for them. If you go beyond meeting their needs, they will recognize your exemplary attempts.

By Denise Rodriguez,
Publications & Family
Contact Coordinator

Thank you to this year’s Exemplary Service Award winners and other funeral directors who go above and beyond every single day. We appreciate you. We know you work hard to make families’ lives easier. What other tips do you have for offering great service?


9 thoughts on “Tips for Delivering Great Funeral Service said:
    July 10, 2015 at 3:49 am

    Thank you for posting this story!


    Michael Robinson said:
    January 2, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Thanks for explaining to me that every moment counts to a grieving family. One thing that you said that was interesting was that you should make sure that the service is all about them so that they do not have any negative experiences while at the service. A friend of mine has been planning a service for his mother, and I think that this information would be really vital to him. Thanks again, and I will make sure that they find a service director who is really positive!

    Liked by 1 person

    kylewayne182 said:
    March 6, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    I like that you talked about finding a service that includes special moments from your loved one’s life. My dad is looking to make some funeral plans for his grandma but needs tips. I’ll be sure to talk to him about hiring a service that will show the highlights of his grandma’s life.

    Liked by 1 person

    Celestia Stratheimer said:
    April 10, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    It sure was nice when you said that in any relationship, communication is the key, so in case the family does not tell the funeral director about what they want, then it is a basic courtesy to ask them about it. I hope that the funeral home that we will get in touch with will do this. We are new to the funeral planning thing, so it will be very much appreciated if we can get the help of someone who does. Thank you for sharing.


      OGR Staff said:
      April 18, 2018 at 2:07 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Celestia! Communication is of utmost importance. Most funeral directors do a good job of getting to know the families they serve and asking important questions. We too hope your experience is the same.


    amaxwell888 said:
    May 18, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    It’s nice that you said that a funeral should focus on the bright side and make it a pleasant experience for everyone. I also like how you said that a funeral service should offer small acts of service to the grieving family. My parents are looking for a nice funeral package for my grandpa who just passed away.

    Liked by 1 person

    maxsayer1975 said:
    June 11, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Recently my family lost one of our dear aunts and so we are starting to look into funeral services. I really appreciated how this article talked about having clear communication and being straightforward with them and work together towards a solution. I agree that when working with any company it’s so important to be on the same page.


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