The van which brought Frankie into the funeral home was now bringing her back home in her family’s request. People stood in the driveway to say their last goodbyes while keeping a physical distance. Frankie’s grandchildren held signs with love […]
The van which brought Frankie into the funeral home was now bringing her back home in her family’s request. People stood in the driveway to say their last goodbyes while keeping a physical distance. Frankie’s grandchildren held signs with love notes scribbled in mark, and the adults increased a last glass to her life. They shouted “We love you, Frankie!” Just if she could somehow hear through the van windows and purple-shrouded casket.
COVID-19 has disrupted even our most sacred rituals.
“The pandemic has affected almost all facets of life, and the manner in which people mourn their deceased loved ones is no exception,” stated Elizabeth Fournier, owner of Cornerstone Funeral Services in Boring, Oregon. “Families are open to options they never would have believed.”
Funerals are really more for the living than the deceased, giving an area for the community to grieve and honor the life span of the deceased. The pandemic, however, pushed families and companies from the death-care industry to rethink how they approach funerals when individuals were no longer able to gather en masse.
“When people typically think of a funeral home, they think of a large, brick-and-mortar facility; they think of a hearse; they think of a casket; they think of their burial, graveside service, the entire kit and kaboodle,” stated Eric Neuhaus, owner and manager of Green Cremation at Austin, Texas. “It’s a really physical experience.”
Some might feel that companies in the death-care industry might be one of the few to experience job security amidst the crisis, but the business isn’t immune to the challenges posed by the novel coronavirus.
Higher demand for funeral home and cremation services extended the turnaround time for stays, causing delays in services. Neuhaus estimated that for a couple of weeks in mid-July, the passing rate in Texas rose from 600-700 to 850-900 daily.
“[The spike in deaths] place an intense strain on the business and the operations of death care,” Neuhaus said. “Depending on where your funeral home or crematorium [was] found, you could see a 2-3x requirement for your services.”
An increasing death toll, compounded with social distancing, can pose logistical challenges to funeral homes and life insurance agencies hoping to build trust with clients.
This is where software comes in.
Maintaining customers’ evolving expectations and values
Neuhaus, that has been at the death-care sector for eight decades, is sure about one thing: Credibility and trust will always be the cornerstone of the business. What’s going to change, however, is the way these companies establish these values with clients.
“Historically, that has been done together: how long has the name been out front? How long has your physical funeral home been in town? Going ahead, with the world wide web, you’re gonna begin seeing a growing number of consumers foundation [trust and authenticity ] on electronic cues: How many reviews have you got? How trustworthy is your site?”
Eric Neuhaus, Green Cremation
Neuhaus operated online before COVID-19 hit and says his firm was well-positioned when the death-care business went electronic.
Here are a few of the values companies in this industry keep forefront to build trust in their new, paired together with classes about ways to use technology to stay ahead of evolving customer expectations on your market.
4 company values that can build brand trust in uncertain times (and the way that applications can help)
1. Simplicity: Tradition made simpler
Robert Falcon founded Affordable Burial and Cremation on the value of simplicity and the fact that not every household has tens of thousands of bucks to spare for a funeral.
“If you will need to spend $15,000 to bury your loved one, and it is not going to put your family in a financial burden, then by all means, do it if that is what is likely to make you feel great about burying your loved one,” Falcon said. “But most families do not have $5,000 to invest, and most households are scratching [by] right now.”
Cheap Burial and Cremation was completely online pre-COVID, and Falcon says simplifying the funeral planning process and replacing in-house structures helps him build credibility and trust with customers.
“Among the things we have learned going to online preparation is that it enables them to make decisions based on what they believe is best for them [without] with a salesperson prodding them together.”
Robert Falcon, Affordable Burial and Cremation
Using software helps to make this process easy for his organization, too. Falcon uses Osiris, a funeral house software solution, to handle online arrangements and payments.
Tech can help you streamline conventional processes. Consider your client’s typical journey purchasing a service or product in your industry. What can be removed or simplified to make for a better customer experience?
2. Transparency: Life is uncertain, working with your company should not be
Together with simplicity and affordability, Falcon also wished to make his company transparent about cost.
“We built our website with our clients in mind. We decided that if we are going to make things easy for families, we will need to create pricing really easy.”
Robert Falcon, Affordable Burial and Cremation
While funeral homes are required by U.S. legislation to disclose costs of services should you telephone or see one on site, funeral homes aren’t required to place that information on their site. But because simplicity frequently requires transparency, Falcon turned his site into a menu of services provided, including the cost of each.
This encourages customers to shop around for the choice which best fits their family’s needs.
“Consumer education is the backbone of our firm,” Falcon said. “We want families to compare, we need families to store.”
To establish trust, clients will need to feel as if you are being fair and transparent with them–nobody likes hidden costs and fees. Your organization’s website can be an effective platform through which you communicate and demonstrate that you are transparent by providing information (such as pricing).
3. Empathy: Go the extra mile to show you care
Elizabeth Fournier, owner of Cornerstone Funeral Services, considered the needs of her clients. She found that many families were suffering not only the loss of a loved one but the inability to say goodbye and take part in rituals that gave them comfort.
She offered families the choice for movie burials and live streamed services using Zoom, a video conferencing platform.
While offering this choice brought comfort to some households, Fournier wanted to do more to assist families”find some peace in saying goodbye.” She decided to transfer the deceased to people’s drives to hold viewings.
For households who have members with compromised immune systems or who are not able to leave their houses, this act of compassion enables them to safely experience the catharsis of the last farewell.
Software will help connect you with customers even if you must stay six feet apart. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes to think of what they require. Folks notice when companies anticipate their needs and act with compassion.
4. Cooperation: Help your clients understand their options
Ask yourself: Can consumers that aren’t acquainted with my business get easily overwhelmed trying to find a service?
Ty Stewart, CEO of Simply Life Insure, states that the answer to this question is yes, particularly at the start of the pandemic.
To deal with this, Stewart says his life insurance agency prioritizes content which explains life insurance to clients.
“We have doubled back on content creation helping clarify some of the most confusing or misunderstood facets of life insurance last six months. We place a renewed interest in making that content more empowering and educational at this time at a time when a great deal of people do not feel very in control of their lives.”
Ty Stewart, Only Life Insure
Because of this, the business is seeing a four to six per cent increase in site traffic in comparison to last year and relying on software to cultivate their content strategy. Buzzsumo, influencer marketing applications, helps Only Life Insure grow their content strategy by tracking competitors and keywords.
Subsequently, Google Analytics (web analytics applications ) tracks key metrics like traffic, pages viewed per visit, and top-viewed articles.
These software solutions help them understand what types of content consumers find most helpful.
Providing people with content describing the intricacies of your business can help them make an educated decision. By buying a content plan, you can create a community around your brand.
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