Providing excellent customer service is a cornerstone of funeral home businesses. In the three-plus years I’ve worked at Homesteaders, I have yet to interview or speak with a funeral professional that hasn’t told me stories about going above and beyond for families. Here is a collection of some of my favorite stories over the last few years.
Haller Funeral Home
Matthew and Michael Haller of Haller Funeral Home have a passion for serving their community. A great example of the commitment to customer service was when they hosted a funeral for a local boy who loved monster trucks. “There is a man about 15 miles north of Chillicothe who builds the frames and chassis for most of the monster trucks you see on TV,” said Matthew. “Michael called him to see if he would be willing to bring one of his monster trucks down for the visitation. He agreed without a second thought and refused any form of payment. It was very touching for the family and friends of this little boy to see a monster truck like the ones he loved so dearly in the front yard of the funeral home. His parents also handed out little toy cars to everyone who attended.”
Provide Therapy Animals
Lankford Funeral Home and Crematory
Working with therapy animals in a funeral home can be beneficial for client families and increase your customer service experience. Cheryl Lankford, owner of Lankford Funeral Home and Crematory, sees that every day in her dog Charley. “Charley is a big part of our business,” she explains. “He lets families hold him when they come in, but if I’m talking to a family or group, I can watch him and tell who is in need of more compassion or some one-on-one time because he will go lay underneath that person’s chair. Most times, he’ll lay under the table or in the middle of the room, but in those cases, he goes to that one person who is in the most need.”
Keep the Kids in Mind
Boultinghouse Funeral Home
Evan Thayer, owner of Boultinghouse Funeral Home, works tirelessly to make the funeral experience easier for everyone in their community, especially children. Boultinghouse Funeral Home offers a special children’s room where kids can go for a break during services. “Four to six-hour visitations are especially strenuous for a four or five-year-old,” noted Evan, who has two young children of his own. He knows that funerals can be intimidating for them. “They don’t know what to expect when you’re attending the funeral for a close relative, especially a mother or father,” he acknowledged. “That’s why I wear a Mickey Mouse watch every day. When you see those little guys, you can show them your watch and say, ‘well, who in the world is this guy?’ The fog surrounding them lifts, and they’ll smile.”
Serenity Funeral Home
Kansas City, MO
It’s not always easy for families to meet during “regular business hours,” which is why Michael Adkins, owner of Serenity Funeral Home, focuses on flexibility. “Our families are thankful for our attention to detail and our flexibility when it comes to scheduling. Many businesses only offer three days of bereavement leave, and that’s not enough to do everything they need.” Michael and his staff often work evening and weekend hours to accommodate families’ schedule limitations. The youthfulness of the staff helps to create one-of-a-kind services for them. “I always tell my staff that they will never work the same service twice,” he said. “We believe in hosting unique services. No service is the same, and we don’t have a standard service."
Create Memorable Services
Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home
Dale City, VA
Michael Turch, VP/Managing Partner of Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home, has a strong philosophy on unique services. “When we started transitioning into creating unique ceremonies, one of my favorites was when we had a bear in the funeral home,” he said. “I met with a family of avid hunters and they had a stuffed bear they wanted to bring in. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it wasn’t the seven-foot tall bear with his teeth and claws out that they brought in.” To this day, members of his community still comment on the funeral service with the giant taxidermized bear, even though it took place more than 18 years ago. “People don’t always remember the number of gauges on the casket, but they do remember the bear. It was my first truly unique service, and that’s why it’s so memorable to me.”
Whether you’ve worked in funeral service for your entire career or you just started your own funeral home business, focusing on customer service is important. Share with us your own stories of providing excellent service in the comments.