Choosing a funeral home is just one of many decisions to be made when you lose a loved one, but it may prove to be the most important. Industry insider Chris Yurko shares his experience following the recent death of his mother and appeals to funeral homes to utilize technology as a way to enhance the customer experience.
Most of us don’t know that much about funerals. We attend them as a way to say goodbye to a friend or a loved one, but when it comes to planning a funeral, we don’t know where to begin. I found myself in this situation a few months ago when my mother unexpectedly passed away.
My parents live in Connecticut; not in a small town, but a town with only one funeral home — a fact I had never given any thought until my mom died. My dad and I were completely dependent on that funeral home, relying on them to guide us through the process: reviewing burial/cremation choices, filing insurance claims, choosing the style of service, ordering flowers, writing announcements, identifying payment options, and arranging aftercare.
Unfortunately, outside of the viewing and the funeral service, we were on our own.
I say this not to disparage the funeral home we used; it is quite nice and is staffed by competent, caring professionals. It is the epitome of a traditional funeral home, with long-established practices and an equally long list of satisfied patrons. My intent, rather, is to highlight the value of modern conveniences that are preferred — and expected — by today’s younger generations, like me, who have grown up with technology, armed with smartphones, laptops and social media to communicate and receive information 24/7/365.
I must mention that I work for a payment processing company and that I specialize in serving the needs of the death care industry. During the past two years, I’ve attended every relevant trade show in the country. I’ve witnessed the technology available to funeral businesses, and seen the innovative ways it’s being utilized. Fear of change or lack of technology know-how shouldn’t keep you from making your funeral home business the best it can be. Ask yourself:
- Do you utilize social media as part of your service offering to give families a way to instantly let others know what happened, share funeral details and receive condolences?
- What types of payments do you accept? Crowdfunding, insurance assignment, credit cards, consumer financing products?
- Does your website have the features and functionalities to fulfill the services your customers need?
- Do you partner with video companies where families can send photos to be made into a commemorative tribute?
- Do you offer aftercare programs?
Taking care of families is the core focus of the funeral business. What better way to do that than to embrace an omnichannel and tech-forward platform that speaks to the mindset of millennials and allows families to celebrate the life of their loved one?
Chris Yurko is director of business development at First American Payment Systems, where he focuses on the death care industry sales vertical. For more information, contact him at [email protected] or visit the First American website.