In many people’s minds, 2016 will be remembered as the year celebrities dropped like flies. According to Legacy.com, the number of celebrity deaths was comparable to previous years, but three factors made it appear that celebrities were dying in droves: 1) a higher-than-average number of those who died were either A-list or legendary stars; 2) many musicians died who had extremely loyal fan bases; and 3) the average age of celebrities who died this year was about 10 years younger than usual.
Aside from celebrity deaths, growing pains continued to reach every aspect of funeral service. During the last 12 months we saw some outrageous trends, some of which have already used up their 15 minutes of fame. Other news stories highlighted shifts in public preferences that merit our continued attention, even if these changes seem undignified to some traditionalists.
Part I of this blog will examine five topics which drew national, and sometimes international, attention to funeral service in ways that are relevant to serving families in the near future. Next week, Part II will examine five more topics. Read the rest of this entry »
Are families ready to make funeral arrangements online? Funeral professionals often look at me like I’m crazy when I ask that question. They say, “Families will never forego personal connections when they plan something as important and as sensitive as making funeral arrangements.” Just like the national cremation rate would never exceed 50 percent, right? Read the rest of this entry »
Do you ever feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish all you need to or like you’re treading water and barely keeping up with your competitors? For small business owners, scheduling time for success makes all the difference according to Clay Clark, founder of Thrive15. Clay has built several successful companies over the past 15 years and plans to launch more using time-tested strategies. His keynote at OGR’s Annual Conference & Supplier Showcase highlighted six of these strategies, which will help funeral service professionals increase the gross revenue of their businesses by ten percent this year.
1. Develop a growth mindset. Read the rest of this entry »
This week’s guest post is by Robin Heppell of Funeral Futurist, a funeral home consulting business. Robin presented at OGR’s Fall Forum on the hazards of the Internet and how online reviews can benefit and harm your firm. This week’s post* delves more extensively into this topic. Read below for Robin’s tips for handling negative online reviews.
How did you feel when you saw your first negative online review? Mad, irritated, concerned?
I have had a couple of clients who found themselves in this position. After talking through it, we put a plan together to make the most out of the situation.
Before we talk about the plan, I want to debunk some bad advice. Some people say not to respond to negative reviews because those reviews will be the first ones people see when they visit your Yelp or Google page. The problem with this strategy is that people are going to find poor reviews anyway, and if left unanswered, the complaint has more power.
I recommend responding to every negative review – but you can’t just blurt something out – you have to make sure that you have a methodical plan.
Here is my 3 step plan for dealing with negative reviews. Read the rest of this entry »
Lately I’ve been feeling a bit like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The Dr. Jekyll side of me wants to stick with tried and true ways to serve OGR members. My Mr. Hyde side is itching to try all sorts of crazy new ideas. Mr. Hyde is scary and unpredictable. Turns out his approach may be necessary for OGR and its members’ long-term survival because an even scarier and more unpredictable foe is about to hit funeral service: disruptive competitors.
Although disruptive competitors are making headlines these days, they’re not new. What’s new is that technology is enabling their numbers to explode. Southwest Airlines is an “old-school” disruptor that made a name for itself by offering inexpensive, no-frills service on underserved routes. More recently, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have cut into taxi companies’ market shares. Air BnB is threatening hotels connecting people who have rooms, apartments or houses to rent temporarily with those who are looking for places to stay temporarily.
What makes an innovator so disruptive? Read the rest of this entry »