online tools

How ‘Google for Jobs’ May Help Funeral Service

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may help funeral serviceWhere do you, as a funeral home owner, go to find good help? With baby boomers approaching retirement age, you’ll soon have job openings available, but you may find it hard to convince potential job candidates to work for you. Funeral service isn’t exactly sexy and without the right knowledge of all the rewards your funeral home can offer them, exposure to hazardous chemicals and long hours, for example, may cause potential employees to overlook the opportunity to make a difference in families’ lives by creating memorable funeral service experiences for those in grief.  Read the rest of this entry »

2016 Trends that Shaped Funeral Service–Part I

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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 »

10 Things I’ve Learned from Working with Funeral Directors

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Here’s a typical conversation that I have when I’m out with friends, meeting new people.

“What do you do?” asks someone who doesn’t really care but feels obligated to engage me in conversation.

“I work for a trade association that works with independently owned funeral homes. I’m a meeting planner.” I respond to cut to the chase.

“Oh! So you plan funerals? Do you embalm bodies?” returns the individual who now has a stronger interest in hearing what I have to say and obviously wasn’t listening.

“No. But I know quite a few people who do. Why? Do you need a discount on an urn?”

The asker typically turns pale and isn’t sure where to go from there.

So goes many a conversation at cocktail parties and other events when I have the opportunity to interact with anyone who doesn’t work in funeral service. It’s made me stop and think about what funeral directors face when they share their story with others.

Since I joined OGR’s staff four years ago, I’ve learned quite a bit about funeral service professionals and have found that they have a pretty challenging job. They work long, irregular hours around strange smells, extreme emotions, and lots of paperwork. They respond to phone calls in the middle of the night, often miss holidays with their families, and care for dead bodies. They maintain composure and professionalism in the midst of family conflict, inclement weather, and national tragedies. A lot of what they do is behind the scenes, unseen and unheard.  Read the rest of this entry »

Grieving Online – No Apologies Needed

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Everyone has those Facebook friends who overshare every aspect of their lives – from what they had for breakfast that morning to their thoughts on last night’s political debate. It’s easy to grow weary of those who overshare.

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There’s an etiquette that’s slowly developed around being a good online friend (read more 14 Do’s and Don’ts; Essential Facebook Etiquette) and approaching online interactions with care, but the lines are still blurred when someone has experienced loss.  Read the rest of this entry »

Online Funeral Arrangements: Start Planning Now

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1Are 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 »

How Funeral Professionals Can Make Their Businesses Thrive

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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.

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1. Develop a growth mindset. Read the rest of this entry »

Dealing with Negative Online Reviews for Funeral Homes

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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.

badreviews2Before 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 »