Successful funeral professionals recognize that the funeral service is not the end. Your relationship with families begins when you start the planning process and extends beyond the conclusion of the memorial and burial services. For some families, this relationship may only last a few weeks, while other families may benefit from aftercare for months or even years. Providing support during this critical time can endear families to your firm and help to grow your funeral home business. Here are just a few of the ways that a strong program can benefit your firm while offering remarkable service to your families.
1. Building brand loyalty.
In today’s competitive market, it’s important to offer services that set you apart and help build loyalty to your firm. One way to do that is to exceed your customer’s expectations before, during and after the funeral service. Offering aftercare resources and programs demonstrates your continuing commitment to their wellbeing, helps build brand loyalty and keeps your firm top-of-mind. Naturally, people that have a positive experience with your funeral home are more likely to recommend you to their friends and family, and these third-party endorsements carry much more influence than advertising messages.
2. Staying connected.
Offering aftercare services provides a way to stay connected with the families you’ve served. Whether you have an active program with staff dedicated to grief support and community outreach or simply provide information about grief support and resources on your website, it’s important to reinforce that connection with your firm. Begin by simply sending a personal letter or handwritten note a few weeks after the memorial service letting family members know it was an honor to serve their loved one’s needs. Provide a link to your website with information about your support programs so family and friends can access the resources when they are ready. Invite families you’ve served in the last year to attend memorial ceremonies throughout the year, but especially during the holidays. Finally, consider hosting grief support meetings and/or provide a grief support library at your funeral home.
3. Offering support to everyone you serve.
Whether you help someone preplan a funeral or serve a family after the death of a loved one, there’s an opportunity to provide assistance to everyone who has an experience with your funeral home. Because we believe aftercare is for everyone, Homesteaders has developed Families in Transition®, a quarterly newsletter program. It is filled with thoughtful, relevant information and is mailed to select family members following either a funeral preplanning experience (preneed) or the loss of a loved one (at-need). Program eligibility requirements apply; contact your account executive to learn if this newsletter is right for your firm.
4. Providing a continuum of care.
Consider aftercare services as a continuum of the end-of-life care your firm already provides. Ideally your relationship with a family begins when you help them preplan and prefund a funeral and extends through the memorial service and interment. Providing support programs is a natural extension of the relationship you’ve formed with these families and helps to strengthen that bond, creating satisfied customers willing to share their experiences with others.