5 Mistakes Great Funeral Directors Avoid

September 08, 2015 Funeral Directors by Danielle Burmeister

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The best funeral professionals bring value to their communities, offer exceptional service and treat deceased loved ones with dignity and respect. They serve as a positive reminder of the value of funeral service and ensure that their staff embodies their mission and goals. Great funeral directors also avoid these five common mistakes – ensuring that they are meeting the needs of their client families with efficiency and expertise. 

Providing Poor Service

Funeral professionals help families through a time that is often filled with a high level of emotion and stress. Providing exceptional service is one of the best ways to give comfort to these families. Simple things – like opening doors for people who come in for a visitation, making sure there is a pot of fresh coffee waiting when a family stops in to make arrangements and having a parking attendant on-hand to help before services – can go a long way to endearing your firm to these families.

The most successful funeral professionals focus their energy on providing invaluable service to their client families. This extra effort is meaningful for families while simultaneously promoting goodwill that could lead to word-of-mouth referrals

Neglecting their Community

The busy, unpredictable nature of funeral service can make it challenging to form lasting relationships and commitments in your local community. The best funeral directors understand, though, that their client families like to do business with people they know and trust. One of the best ways to foster that trust is to find ways to be active in your community through networking groups, volunteer services and civic organizations.

These relationships can help secure future business for your firm while simultaneously educating you about the wants and needs of your community and making it easier to offer products and services that are in high demand.

Overlooking the Importance of Aftercare

As funeral professionals, your relationship with client families often begins when you start the planning process and extends through the conclusion of memorial and/or interment services. For at-need families, this relationship may last only a few days or weeks, but their grieving process may take several months or even years. Accommodating these families’ needs through thoughtful, accessible aftercare is essential.

Great funeral professionals don’t neglect this portion of their service offerings. In fact, the most successful firms are often those that have a thoughtful way to connect with families far after the time of need.

Fostering Animosity with their Competitors

In communities with more than one funeral service provider, it can be easy to feel that the nature of competitive markets requires a certain amount of animosity or, at the very least, hesitancy to form relationships with other funeral providers. The best funeral directors avoid the common “us vs. them” mentality and instead build relationships with competing firms which serve the best interests of the families in their communities and promote the value of funeral service.

Working together to host an annual breakfast for pastors in your community, co-sponsoring seminars for local mortuary students and organizing lunch and learns for local hospice staff are all great ways to educate your community without hurting your business or interfering with your own service offerings. As an added bonus, these relationships with “competing” funeral directors may come in handy when you need additional support for your staff.

Underselling the Value of their Services

Funeral professionals provide an essential service in their communities, one that can bring comfort and assistance at a time that is often fraught with sadness and stress. Unfortunately, many funeral professionals end up underselling their services as they work to stay competitive in their respective markets, sometimes avoiding any discussion of service add-ons out of fear that additional cost could be unattractive to their client families.

The best funeral directors are able to package their services in ways that demonstrate their value to client families. These funeral professionals are skilled at offering products and services that creatively meet the needs of these families while still respecting the constraints of their budgets.

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