September 17th, 2018
Featured in the Funeral Business Advisor: September- October 2018
By: Deanna Dydynski, marketing & public relations manager
Technology can be daunting for some generations. Some find it expensive and confusing, and others would prefer, “not to reinvent the wheel.” However, with a potential of four generations working under one roof, and more tech-savvy families coming to your funeral home, it is essential to improve how your funeral home/cemetery utilizes technology.
Introducing new technologies to your business can improve speed, efficiency and employee productivity. Technology can also give you a competitive edge over the funeral home down the street and can save you money in the long run. Technology is continually evolving, and it can be challenging deciding what implementations should be made to improve your funeral home/cemetery. Here are three times you should say, “TECH YES!” to technology upgrades.
Unfortunately, several funeral homes and cemeteries across the nation still do not have websites. Even though you may have an established funeral home/cemetery that has been successful through word-of-mouth marketing and community loyalty, there are several reasons why your business needs a website. A recent study by BIA Advisory Services indicated 97% of consumers look online first to find local businesses (2018). If you do not have an online presence, you essentially do not exist, and are missing an entire market of potential business. Consumers are searching online for solutions, comparing prices and general information on businesses and their services. A website is running 24 hours and 365 days a year, so that 32-year-old millennial who is searching online for funeral homes at 2 a.m., is going to see your funeral home as a potential place of service for his father. Having a website not only establishes credibility but also lets the world know your funeral home/cemetery exists!
Now, it is one thing to have a website and another to have a really great website. Because the majority of consumer’s first impression of your funeral home/cemetery will be online, it is critical you make a great first impression for your brand. I have seen funeral homes with the most beautiful establishment, the most professional and caring staff, along with innovative service options, have THE WORST websites. Your brand is everything, from your staff’s attire, your funeral home’s foliage and interior design, to the marketing materials and definitely your website. If a consumer clicks on your website and it is slow to load, looks outdated, is not easy to navigate, has poor image quality and design layout, is not mobile-friendly or provides zero information on your service offerings, they are moving on to the next funeral home.
The days of “set it and forget it” on your website are over. Now more than ever, the funeral profession is changing, family’s preferences are changing, and your business should be changing and evolving along with these. Your website should be consistently updated with fresh content and images on your services and offerings. Invest in quality images of your staff and funeral home, hire a freelance content writer if needed, but be sure to create a professional and accurate impression of your brand through your website.
As a small business owner, you probably think you cannot afford a professional website but the reality is you cannot afford not to have one. When you breakdown the costs of advertising or promotional materials and compare them to the cost of having a professional website; long-term having a website is one of the most cost-effective ways to continually market your funeral home/cemetery. So, say, “TECH YES!” to updating your 10-year-old website.
2.Remote Working Tools
Millennials are currently the largest living generation and have been transforming the workplace for the past decade. In today’s modern world, technology has made the range of communication almost limitless with the internet, cloud storage and mobile devices. With an increasing number of millennials joining your staff, they are expecting you, their employers to not only invest in technologies to make their jobs easier, but also to make their jobs remote accessible.
As funeral directors, you have around-the-clock obligations and you are not always at the funeral home. You may be performing removals at midnight, making house calls on weekends, or attending community events to network and market your funeral home/cemetery. Business operations are changing and 43% of the US workforce worked remotely in 2016 and 77% of those, found they were more productive. Overall, remote employees reported they felt more valued and happier with their employer. Multiple studies including those from Forbes and Stanford University found research proving working remotely is the most desired flexible work option people want in a job (2018). As an owner, providing your employees the opportunity to work remotely can decrease overhead costs tremendously and according to research improve your employee’s happiness.
Family preferences are changing from less traditional funeral services, so if your funeral home is adapting then your staff may be working remotely to plan funerals at a family’s home or scheduling pre-need appointments at Starbucks for the 29-year-old who finds your funeral home intimidating. Imagine if your staff could attend community events and show potential families all the services your funeral home offers while collecting contact information on their iPad. Additionally, consider that families may want to utilize your services but not at your funeral home. Your funeral directors may need a wireless Bluetooth speaker to travel with them offsite to play music. Investing in remote technologies such as laptops, tablets, cell phones, and remote communication tools for your staff to work offsite and to stay connected is going to be essential for the well-being of your employees and the success of your business.
Your employees are your greatest asset, having happier employees leads to greater retention and team morale. If your staff feels the need to connect with families outside of the funeral home, say, “TECH YES!” to the technological tools that can help them get the job done.
3. Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)
Customer relationship management software helps businesses build stronger relationships with customers. It can boost conversation and helps you track data coming from multiple communication channels such as, phone calls, website visits and social media interactions.
As funeral professionals it can be difficult to stay in touch with potential families or generate new business, because marketing funeral services and death care is challenging. However, investing in technologies designed to be engaging, personalized, and trackable can help you not only keep in touch with families you have served but also help you to reach new families. CRM’s are valuable because they help you keep track of what is working! Investing in this technology for your funeral home will allow you to see who has clicked on your website, where they are clicking, how they got there, if they interacted with you on social media, if they read your email and beyond! Large companies rely on CRM software but there are CRM software companies that specialize for small businesses. If you are wanting to reach new families and keep in touch with your current customer base, invest in this technology and you will see how beneficial it is for your funeral home/cemetery.
Technology is changing our everyday lives and it can improve your funeral home/cemetery if you allow it to. Encourage your staff to embrace technology and provide training, especially to those it may intimidate. Ultimately your business will remain stagnant if you do not start saying, “TECH YES!” to new technologies.