It’s been more than seven years since my husband and I purchased our first home together, but I can still easily remember the experience we had with our realtor. She skillfully guided us through the unfamiliar territory of real estate transactions and helped us feel confident in our purchase. She went out of her way to accommodate our requests, answer questions and ensure everything went smoothly. In the months following our home purchase, we were quick to recommend her services to anyone who mentioned they were in the market for a house.
Even memories of exceptional service can fade over time, lost among more pressing day-to-day concerns. But each year, we continue to receive a newsletter update and a new calendar in the mail from our realtor. These simple reminders bring the memories of our first home purchase to the forefront. We appreciate that she still extends this gesture, and it often results in a few extra recommendations over the course of the months that follow the mailing.
For the same reasons, families who prearrange with your funeral home will appreciate an ongoing relationship with you. In turn, your firm will also benefit from the boost in customer loyalty and increased referrals. Here are a few simple ways you can continue the relationship with families who have prearranged with your funeral home.
Offer aftercare services
Any person who has an experience with funeral planning can feel grief – even if they’re planning ahead for their own funeral. In addition to considering what will happen after they die, they may also be thinking of the family members and friends they’ve lost. Reassure those who prearrange that their emotions are valid and inform them of the aftercare services that your firm offers to help support them. Homesteaders’ Families in Transition® aftercare newsletter, which is available in a preneed version, is an excellent resource for your families. Program eligibility requirements apply; contact your account executive to learn if this newsletter is right for your firm.
Ask for feedback and referrals
After a person prearranges with your funeral home, ask them to complete a survey about their experience. If a person received exceptional service, the survey will provide a reminder of why they’re satisfied with their decision to prearrange. The survey can also provide an opportunity for you to collect information about ways you can improve the program. This is also an opportunity to let client families know you’d appreciate their recommendations to friends and family members.
Tell them what's new
An excellent way to show families that you care is to keep them informed of the latest news at your funeral home. Through a simple print or email newsletter, you can share information about your volunteer efforts, community contributions and staff achievements. You can also provide a calendar of upcoming events and even include (with permission) testimonials from some of the families you’ve recently served.
Invite them to community memorial events
When asked why they decided to make advance funeral plans when they did, respondents to a 2015 survey of Homesteaders policy owners reported that their top reason was that a family member or friend had died recently. Because your clients who prearranged may be grieving the loss of a loved one, be sure to include them in invitations to any community memorial events you host. The gesture may be appreciated more than you know and will help ensure families know your services continue after the funeral.
Extend a social invitation
Is your funeral home active on social media? If so, don’t wait for your client families to find your pages by chance. Be sure to mention that you’d appreciate their “likes” and “follows” and let them know why it’s worth their time to engage with your funeral home on social media: by doing so, they’ll stay informed of community events that might interest them or other people they know.
Let them know you're thinking of them
Personal communications can go a long way toward continuing a connection with families who have prearranged. Even a simple holiday card can serve as a reminder of a positive experience and generate a few referrals. There’s another practical reason to continue the conversation after the preneed policy purchase: ensuring information is up-to-date. Check in with your preneed client families periodically, asking them to review their plans and let you know if they have any changes or additions.
Ongoing communications with families who have prearranged don’t have to be elaborate or costly to be effective. A simple touch now and then, whether it’s through a mailing, an email or a quick phone call, can help keep your firm top-of-mind and reinforce with your client families that prearranging was a good thing to do.