When asked about industries that focus on customer services, the usual answers would be financial, hospitality and retail services. The death care industry – which includes burial, cremation and funeral home services – isn’t usually associated with customer service.
However, customer service in the death care industry is more critical. Practitioners in this industry don’t just handle the affairs of a person who has passed away. They also need to care for the emotional needs of the loved ones left behind.
Customers Have Changed
Three death care industry players, interviewed for a 2017 essay published in Forbes, said customer service is essential in the industry because they meet their customers in a time of grieving. The level of care they provide, the appearance and demeanour of the staff and other factors make the customers feel special and understood during an intense time in their lives.
Despite their moment of grieving, today’s customers are better educated and want value for their money. In the same way that they research online for the best restaurants or clothing retailers, they search for death care service options and compare prices and features.
On their end, death care practitioners used to operate on the assumption that all customers want the same kind of funeral or interment service. Today, there is an emphasis on personalisation. Not all families want to celebrate the life of their loved one the way others do. Some prefer the traditional casket burial, while others prefer cremation. How your business caters to those personalised needs spells the difference between a positive and negative customer experience.
Providing Excellent Customer Service
Whether you’re a funeral director in London or a cemetery planner in Portobello, providing excellent service to your customers ensures comfort and care in their time of grieving. Here are two main strategies that will help you enhance your service:
1. Improve communications
You want to be open and transparent to your prospective customers. Make sure that your website and promotional materials contain all the information they need, such as:
- List of services and prices
- The funeral process
- Funeral locations
- Reception and wake venues
- Options for coffins, shrouds and funeral flowers
- Mode of funeral transport
Also, create a formal process of communicating important information to the family. Give them options so they can talk to you in a method most convenient to them.
2. Educate your customers
Apart from being transparent about the funeral services you offer, make sure that you explain these services clearly. Your customers might not know the difference among services, or they might not be aware of the latest techniques to celebrate the life of a loved one.
Gather commonly asked questions and create an FAQ page on your website. Define the services on the site or while you’re discussing them in person. Teach them how they can get more value from your service and why they must choose your service over a competitor’s. The more your customers perceive you as an expert, the more likely they’ll choose you.
As a death care practitioner, your focus may be to take care of the deceased, but you add more value to your service by paying attention to the needs of the surviving loved ones as well. The deceased will no longer feel your care and compassion, but their family and friends will remember it forever.