3 Pet Peeves Families Have About Funerals… And How Funeral Pros Can Fix ThemFebruary 22nd, 2017
There’s no point in trying to rationalize it or sugar coat it… no one likes having to attend the funeral service of someone they know and love.
Even as funerals get closer to becoming a one-of-a-kind celebration of life, at the end of the day, a funeral marks the end of a loved one’s life… and that’s something that is difficult and upsetting for anyone to endure.
But while funeral professionals may not be able to alter the feelings of grief that accompany funerals, what they can do is work to eliminate the negative biases, assumptions and pet-peeves that many families have formed about funerals in the past. Even little things, such as giving the ambiance of your funeral home a face-lift or helping guide families through what is appropriate, can make all the difference between a forgettable experience and a valuable one.
To help you get started, here are three pet-peeves that many families have about funerals, and how you, as a funeral professional, can work past them to deliver a comforting, healing experience during one of the difficult moments of a person’s life.
1. “Funeral homes are so uncomfortable… it makes the experience that much more depressing.”
When most funeral professionals hear that families crave “comfort” in a funeral home, they think about how many couches they have set up in each room, or what type of comforting snacks they serve throughout the visitation. But feeling comfortable is about so much more than comfortable chairs and comforting food.
When families talk about craving comfort from a funeral home, they are talking about wanting an environment that feels like home. It should make them feel at ease, while at the same time fading completely into the background. It should feel familiar, while also complimenting the overall life celebration. In fact, the best funeral decor is something that doesn’t make families feel any strong feelings at all… it simply acts as the perfect stage for their loved one’s life story.
How to overcome this pet peeve: Take a good hard look at the ambiance that your funeral home gives off and make the necessary changes. Are your rooms comforting by today’s design standards, or were they comforting 20, 30, 40 years ago? Do your families feel like they are stepping into their loved one’s space, or does it look like their loved one was placed among a bunch of stale funeral decor? Comfort is the ultimate key.
2. “Nothing’s transparent… I feel like I’m getting scammed!”
As many of us saw first-hand in the recent NPR article on Funeral Pricing Transparency, many families still feel as though funeral directors are completely unclear (and even scammy) when it comes to the pricing of their funeral products and services. But just because you may be following the FTC’s rules by publishing your prices on your website, that doesn’t mean that you’re being clear. (We’re looking at you, funeral homes who publish pricing in a downloadable PDF or in super tiny text somewhere hidden away on your website.)
Today’s families don’t just want to see costs… they want to compare. They want to know what the difference is between your a la carte options and your full-blown funeral packages. They want to clearly be able to see what it is going to cost them to go to you vs. John Smith Funeral Home down the street. And they want to know without ever having to call… that’s what pricing clarity means in today’s day and age.
How to overcome this pet peeve: Don’t hide away from your funeral home’s pricing. Make your prices easy to find on your website and showcase the value of each of the options that you offer. Compare the different packages available, and clearly explain the benefits of going with the more costly option.
Take a look at O’Connor Mortuary’s pricing table (above) that is showcased on their f1Connect website. By listing each of their burial service pricing plans, they are allowing families to learn about all of their options, and even compare which plan might be best for them. They do the same for their cremation pricing plans, as well. No confusion necessary.
To learn about how you can get educational pages, like the pricing comparison table above, on your funeral home website, click here to talk to one of our website success specialists.
3. “It’s a whole different world… how are you supposed to know what’s appropriate?”
Part of the reason that many people find funerals uncomfortable and uninviting is because they are unfamiliar territory. Think about it… most people that walk into a funeral home don’t fully understand what’s appropriate, what’s normal or what is expected of them, so they go into panic mode when they find themselves trying to make any kind of decision. What should I wear? Is it inappropriate to laugh? What should I send to show my support? What do I say to the family of the deceased?
But families shouldn’t have to attend an unfortunate amount of funerals before they have an understanding of what is and isn’t appropriate at a funeral. They should be able to look to the funeral professionals in their community (or, at the very least, their websites) as educational resources for all things funeral.
How to overcome this pet peeve: Don’t leave your families second-guessing whether or not they will be comfortable when they walk into your funeral home. Provide them with the answers to the questions they are asking right on your website. A Frequently Asked Question page is the perfect place to answer questions about funeral etiquette, sympathy gifts, cemetery rules and more. Sharing this information online will not only make you the go-to resource in town, but it will also ensure that every person coming to your funeral home is as comfortable and prepared as possible.
Do YOU have any common pet-peeves after working in the funeral profession? Tell us your thoughts from the other side of the table, and we may share your feedback in an upcoming blog!