Can you think of a person in your funeral home who your families and the rest of your staff members know they can rely on no matter what? For many firms, this person is the funeral home office manager.
I worked as a funeral home office manager for several years before joining Homesteaders, and one of the most rewarding aspects of my job was knowing that I was valued and depended upon during difficult times. Serving families brought a sense of fulfillment that few jobs can match.
Working as a funeral home office manager may be incredibly rewarding, but the job does require certain personal and professional qualities. Because so many people trust the office manager to find solutions under tight schedules and challenging circumstances, the person you hire for this position has to be able to meet constantly changing job requirements. Here are just a few of the qualifications to look for when you want to add a successful office manager to your funeral home staff:
1. Excellent Customer Service Skills
The families you serve are experiencing a wide range of emotions and may also bring a wide range of family dynamics. Funeral professionals work with every type of person, so it’s important to find an office manager who can maintain a high level of professionalism in any situation.
2. Team-Focused Attitude
Funeral home staff members must be able to work well together. It takes a lot of work to plan and orchestrate a funeral or memorial service, so being flexible and willing to assist colleagues is a key qualification for an office manager. Funeral directors may be working on very little sleep, so the office manager needs to be understanding of the demands placed on them and be ready to help make their jobs easier.
3. Strong Administrative Abilities
Administrative skills are important for any office management position, but they’re critical when working at a funeral home. Funeral directors rely on their office managers to handle paperwork, phone calls and general day-to-day business items so they can focus on the families they are serving.
4. Problem-Solving Skills
Because funeral homes serve many different types of people, they’re likely to encounter a wide range of special requests or creative ideas. Office managers must be open to these “outside the box” scenarios and do their very best to make them happen. These are the types of services that make the experience memorable for your client families and help differentiate your funeral home. One common phrase at the firm where I worked was, “If it’s mentionable by a family, then it’s manageable by the funeral home.”
5. Comfortable with Technology
An office manager needs to be able to effectively use the various types of technology required to operate a successful funeral home business. As more and more funeral homes use social media as a marketing tool, this person can play an important role in ensuring the funeral home maintains an active (and up-to-date) online presence.
One final note on what it takes for a person to be successful as a funeral home office manager: It’s important to be empathetic, not sympathetic. Many people assume that working at a funeral home requires you to mourn alongside families, but what families really need is a professional who can provide compassionate, efficient service. When a funeral home office manager does his or her job well, families will appreciate that everything went smoothly and that all of the details were taken care of for them.