customer service

5 Steps for Responding to Negative Reviews

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Picture2Before online review sites and the Internet, how did families share what they thought about your funeral home with others? Maybe they chatted in the parking lot after a funeral service or at the grocery store while shopping or on the phone. If a family was unhappy with their experience, you, as a funeral service professional, might not have known about it until months later. You might not have even been given the opportunity to respond because you never heard about the complaint.

Enter online review sites: a forum for customers to share their positive and negative experiences with a much broader audience. These sites — think Google Business, Facebook, Yelp — now provide businesses like funeral homes with the opportunity to join the conversation.  Anyone searching for a funeral home in your area may find your website, but they will also see your Google business listing and how the public has rated your funeral home (learn more about Google My Business). They may also see an obituary post on Facebook, visit your Facebook page and read there what families think about your funeral home (your business is most likely on Facebook, whether you like it or not – see lie #3 in this post).

While negative reviews can be intimidating, they can actually be positive for you in the long run. If you respond appropriately, a negative review can demonstrate to a grieving family why you’re a place they’d want to take their loved one.

So how do you accomplish this? How should you respond to negative online reviews? Check out these five suggestions for responding in a professional and caring manner.  Read the rest of this entry »

Prepare Your Funeral Home for Summer

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1As summer nears, it’s time to ready your business for the months to come and make sure you have everything ready when it’s time to serve a family. Here are some simple reminders that will hopefully be of use to you and your staff and help you prepare for summer.  Read the rest of this entry »

Providing Grief Info: It’s Not Just Aftercare

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This article originally appeared in the 2017 spring issue of OGR’s Independent magazine.

I am always encouraged when I see funeral homes providing their families and communities with high-quality information about grief and loss. I believe that providing grief information is a critical way for funeral homes to distinguish themselves from their competitors. Unfortunately, some funeral professionals only think of grief information as a part of aftercare. Instead, I would encourage you to view providing grief information as a way to market your expertise, build relationships, and engender trust even before a pre-need or at-need situation. I have outlined several ways that grief information can help set you apart as a funeral home that provides exceptional care to bereaved families.  Read the rest of this entry »

What It Means to be a Golden Rule Funeral Home

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For nearly 90 years, the Order of the Golden Rule (OGR) has embarked on a mission to seek out and identify outstanding funeral homes around the world. Our members are independent, locally owned and operated firms dedicated to providing exceptional service to their client families. We call them Golden Rule Funeral Homes.

Not just any firm can join OGR. Those seeking membership go through a carefully developed screening process to assure both OGR and the public that member firms are of the highest quality.

To be a part of this prestigious group means a firm has distinguished itself in the following ways: Read the rest of this entry »

People Skills that Build Trust with Your Families

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people-skills-that-build-trust-with-your-familiesHave you ever thought that being in the funeral business would be a lot easier if it weren’t for the people?

But, the reality is that if you are in the funeral business, you are in the people business.

The skills we use to manage ourselves and to respond to other people and situations play a big role in the success of our businesses. With client families, the skill set can include empathy, language free of industry jargon, and active listening. These skills aid in effective two-way communication so both parties have the same understanding and, especially, the same expectations. Having strong people skills builds trust between you and the families you serve.

By following a few simple steps to develop stronger people skills, you can ensure your messages are understood by those you serve, you will give better customer service and you will inevitably get repeat and referral calls. Read the rest of this entry »

Silence the Stigma: Coping With Suicide

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September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Death from suicide provides a unique set of complications for the affected family, their friends, and the funeral service professionals who serve them. Offering comfort to the bereaved also becomes a bit more difficult. What should a friend or funeral director say? Is there anything to avoid mentioning? If you’ve lost a loved one to suicide, how should you respond?

Here are some tips for coping with the loss of a loved one to suicide and comforting the family of a suicide victim. Read the rest of this entry »

Suicide – A Funeral Director Speaks Out

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As a funeral director for over 30 years, I have been fortunate to help thousands of families through one of the darkest times in their lives. With September being National Suicide Prevention Month, I wanted to share a personal story with you on how suicide has touched the lives of my family.

It was a beautiful evening and I was sitting at the top of the Marriott Marquis in New York City at a cocktail party when my phone started to ring. It was my mother informing me my stepbrother had taken his life. In that moment, I knew I would have to put on a brave face since I was in a very public place. I equated it to the way President Bush must have felt when he was sitting in a classroom full of children when he was informed about 9/11. It was truly one of those heart-stopping moments. Read the rest of this entry »