8 Funeral Pros Share Their Predictions For The Future Of FuneralsDecember 4th, 2015
You can’t talk about much in the funeral profession without hearing that word. The way that we connect with families is changing. The way that families think of funeral service is changing. And even our age-old business model is changing.
To some funeral professionals, the thought of change is scary, as is any notion of the unknown. But when the change you are talking about concerns the success of your business, it can be downright frightening to think of what the future may hold.
However, to other funeral professionals, nothing sparks more excitement, inspiration or innovation than the possibility of change. Especially if we get to be in the middle of these changes and shape the future of the profession ourselves ﹘ hopefully for the better.
That’s what our mission is here at funeralOne… to change what the world thinks of a funeral, and to help the future of funerals focus more on celebrating life and honoring the one’s we love most.
But change can mean many things to many different people… which is why we decided to find out for ourselves what funeral professionals think and hope the future of the funeral profession will look like. Here’s what eight NFDA attendees predicted the future of funerals will look like…
Mark Mannix, President of Cooperative Funeral Fund
“The future of the funeral industry depends largely on two aspects. One is public desire, and the ability of funeral professionals to educate [families] as to their options, so they might change that desire. I can tell you a story of a couple I met in Florida a year ago, and they asked me what I did. I am not a front-line funeral professional, I am a supplier to the industry and I manage money for pre-need contracts. But I told them what I did and they said, ‘Oh, we’re just going to go out in a cardboard box. It doesn’t make a difference.’ And my comment to them was, “You’re already dead. It’s not about what’s in it for you. It’s about the event that brings in your son from California who hasn’t seen his brother from New Jersey, and he hasn’t seen the sister in Maryland. It brings them together and it gives them the chance to grieve and to laugh about all the things they pulled over on you that you never knew about. It’s an event, not unlike a wedding or a graduation. It’s just a little more sober as to the cause and you’re already gone, so it’s not about what you want to spend on your funeral.”
Anne Marie St. George
“I see [the future of funerals including] a lot more involvement with families. I see them taking a bigger role in what needs to be done in the funeral. In the old days, they usually were looking to the funeral home for guidance. Now they know what they want when they come in, and they just want us to give them maybe more options, or think more outside the box. Something that’s not their ordinary grandfather’s funeral. They want something different. They want to honor the people they loved with something that is unique to that person.”
Mike Ma, President and Co-Founder of Coeio
“I think there is going to be more choice. I think people are going to want more control over particular choices of how they or their loved one go. And I think it’s going to be interesting how the industry responds to incorporating more choice into the decision journey and process … It’s about telling stories, and the end of life may be the greatest story to tell. Understanding how to propagate that and make that live on is a growing piece and it’s going to be a bigger piece of what everyone does here in the future.”
“I believe that the future of funerals will look more towards personalization. Were starting to see a dramatic change in cremation, but even more personalized things like the urns and even the casket. Things for your pets and things like that. The future definitely will feature more personalization in the funeral industry … Also, If you’re going to make it in this business, you have to concentrate on service, service, service. And understand that the service is definitely for the survivors.”
Jon O’Hara, Regional Development Director
“I think that we’re going to have to become better listeners. I think we’re going to really see the baby boomers change what the arrangement process is, what the end result is, and what that end product looks like in many different capacities as it relates to funeral service. They’re going to really change the way that we meet families. We’re going to see a lot of changes in the types of services and gatherings, versus visitations. I think we’re going to see terminology change dramatically, especially with this next generation. The folks that are going to be shopping for funeral homes in this next generation ﹘ like myself burying my parents ﹘ it’s going to be a different experience. Funeral homes better have accessibility on the web. And ultimately down the road, have the ability to buy and purchase and do all of those things from a digital space. I think if we continue to reinvest in that technology on that side of our profession, I think we’re going to be in a good spot.”
Sandra Chancellor, Funeral Director and Office Administrator at Chancellor Funeral Home
“I think that future of funerals is yet to be written. I don’t think we really know. It’s going to be what we make it. We have the chance to have all kinds of different celebrations… we can go to the past and have tradition. We can go to the future and have whatever the families want. We’re from the south, so we still have a lot of traditional services. But we are also seeing some of the new ideas coming up with cremation, and with different types of remembrances.”
Robert Durant, Partner at Heritage Coach Company
“Because we are seeing an increase in the baby boomers who are starting to age, I think we are going to see this business continue to grow and develop. As we get funeral directors who have a conscious effort to make sure the families are taken care of properly, to make sure people are comfortable when they come to the funeral home,and then people will be more comfortable with the ideas of funerals. We’ve seen a lot of TV shows come on now that have talked about funerals and different kinds of funerals, all kinds of different options for families, making them comfortable, whatsoever is comfortable for them, that is going to make people more comfortable having funeral, which will enhance our ability to have funerals…which is what we’re here for, right?”
John Eggers, Co-Owner, Funeral Director at Embalmer at Eggers Funeral Home
“I think the funeral industry looks bright. I think that we’ve just got to be willing to move and to mold our funeral homes into the right medium. That’s what funeralOne has done for us … I think funeralOne is the key to our future because they help us mold our funeral home into the media aspect, to where we need it. As to where we used to use paper advertising, and paper advertising worked [well], but the mode of paper advertising is fading away. And funeralOne has helped us to be able to go to the media, be able to be on Facebook. We generate our obituaries from funeralOne onto our Facebook. It has developed our whole funeral home around the media where people are looking to find answers in today’s society.”
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What do you think the future of funeral service will look like? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!