A few years ago, my husband and I returned home from a trip to discover an unpleasant surprise: It had rained nearly the entire time we were out of town, and our decades-old roof had begun to leak. While we were fortunate that we didn’t experience significant water damage, it was time to invest in a new roof before a small problem became a big one.
We researched roofing companies and were happy to find an option that provided an excellent experience from start to finish. The company’s staff members answered our questions thoroughly, displayed perfectionism in their work and even beat the estimated completion timeline. With all of those things in mind, I enthusiastically recommended their services when a friend was looking for a roofing contractor. I was eager to share my opinion and followed up with the friend after her roof project to make sure she was also happy with the company. Through my recommendation, the company earned another satisfied customer and her subsequent referrals likely generated even more business.
The importance of providing services that others will recommend simply cannot be understated. This is why funeral professionals should take note of what people who have prearranged think about the service, and what they are saying about their experiences to others.
To learn more about how client families perceive their decision to prearrange, we conducted a study of more than 1,200 Homesteaders policy owners in 2015. Their responses underscore the value of your preneed program as a service that can earn more business through word-of-mouth referrals.
“How satisfied are you with your decision to prearrange your funeral?”
Our 2015 survey results show that every policy owner indicated satisfaction with their decision to prearrange their funeral. In fact, nearly all of them (96%) selected one of the top two categories: “completely satisfied” and “very satisfied.”
We conducted a similar study in 2013, in which we asked policy owners to provide qualitative responses about their experiences with prearranging. Their comments included:
- “I think everyone should do it so it doesn’t fall on someone else.”
- “After you get it done you have a little peace of mind that nobody will have to take care of that for you.”
- “I think it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”
When your funeral home offers a service that can produce such high levels of satisfaction among those you serve, how will it affect your funeral home’s market share? The benefits are likely more far-reaching than you might expect. Client families’ satisfaction is the first step in earning brand advocates, which leads to our next 2015 survey question:
“How do you feel about recommending prearrangement to someone else?”
This question is a key follow-up to learning more about the value of advance funeral planning for client families. It’s one thing to feel you’ve made a good decision, but referrals take an even greater degree of confidence in a company’s products or services. When a person makes a recommendation, they’re putting their credibility with friends and family members on the line.
Our study reveals that 96% of policy owners would at least consider recommending prearranging. Notably, 40% of the respondents had already recommended advance funeral planning to someone after making their own arrangements.
Immediacy is a key factor in client recommendations. When people have a particularly positive or negative experience with an organization, they want to share it right away – for evidence of this, you only have to turn to the popularity of online review websites.
After a person has prearranged, be sure they know how much your firm values and appreciates client recommendations. And because even the best experiences can fade from clients’ minds over time, continue the conversation about advance funeral planning through ongoing communications. By fostering long-term relationships with the satisfied customers you’ve earned through your preneed program, your firm will be well-positioned to gain even more business.