Better Serving Families Who Choose Cremation

June 30, 2015 Cremation by Alyssa McNab

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The news has been everywhere: 
the 2014 NFDA Cremation and Burial Report indicates that the rate of cremation is projected to surpass that of burial this year. To best meet the needs of a family who chooses cremation as a disposition method, you have to understand why they’ve selected cremation. If you ask meaningful questions during the initial information-gathering conversation, you may be surprised by what you discover about the real reasons families choose cremation.

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Source: 2014 NFDA Cremation and Burial Report

The Reasons People Choose Cremation

Perhaps most importantly, don’t assume that price is the primary (or only) reason for their choice – our research suggests otherwise. Although concerns about cost and decreased household discretionary income can be factors in a family’s decision to choose cremation, they’re not the only ones. In fact, a 2013 survey of Homesteaders policy owners showed that less than half of those who choose cremation do so because of price.

Other reasons included:

  •          Others in my family have been cremated (20%)
  •          Environmentally friendly (12%)
  •          Dislike the idea of being buried (10%)
  •          Personal preference (7%)
  •          Family lives far away (3%)
  •          Other (5%)

This is just a broad overview of the potential reasons why your families choose cremation – imagine how much more information you could gather by asking simple discovery questions about their memorial service preferences. Learning about your customers’ motivations for choosing cremation is also an important way to serve your families by helping them consider how they truly want to memorialize their loved ones or what they want for their own advance funeral plans.

Explaining Cremation Options

Funeral homes also have an opportunity to distinguish themselves by proactively educating their communities about cremation options and the relationship between disposition and a memorial service. According to the same NFDA report cited earlier, more than 58% of consumers associate cremation with a memorial service, and just over 15% of consumers associate a traditional funeral ceremony prior to cremation.

Don’t take for granted that families in the communities you serve know about the memorial services that are available if they choose cremation. As the cremation rate increases, so do your opportunities to help educate them about the importance of memorialization in conjunction with this disposition method – and why your funeral home is the best choice to provide those services.

The Bottom Line

Remember that you need to provide (and explain) all possible service options to families interested in cremation. They will be equipped to make more satisfying choices when they know what is available. Satisfied families feel they have received high-value services for the price they paid, and, in turn, they’ll be more likely to recommend your firm to others.


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