Why “Ordinary” Funerals Can Kill Your Business (And What To Do About It)


In a recent NFDA survey, 1 out of 5 participants said the last funeral service they attended was “routine; it could have been anyone in the casket.”

If that describes a recent funeral or visitation you’ve arranged, you might ask, “Why is that a bad thing?”

Because today, people want more from funeral services. They want ceremonies made more personal. And if you’re not helping them celebrate the unique life lived, you’re not meeting their needs.


What Families Want from Your Funeral Services

It’s widely accepted by funeral firms across the country that families are moving away from more formal, traditional funeral services, and moving towards personalized, unique funeral services. In fact, 72%, of funeral directors have seen a significant increase in personalized funerals over the past five years (Oracle Poll Research).  It seems cookie cutter services are becoming a thing of the past.

There’s more proof of these changes. According to the NFDA, 71% of families do not want a “traditional funeral,” while 62% of those wanting a funeral service preferred some form of personalization.

No doubt, you’ve witnessed this change. And I hate to tell you this, but if your funeral services are “routine” you might find yourself faced with a lack of business. You’ve got to do things differently, just to survive, let alone thrive.


It’s Not about High-End Merchandising, Either

If you think selling more merchandise will save your business, you’re wrong. Funeral directors around the country say most customers today are selecting only what they see as “affordable.” So, forget the fancy caskets, vaults and urns. Most people just won’t pay for them.

personalized funerals

And since the Better Business Bureau continually advises consumers to ask lots of questions and consider several providers before buying funeral services, you’re basically operating in a climate of distrust and skepticism. But you can get around that by focusing on creating memorable, meaningful, healing experiences for your families. You’ll find when you focus on that, consumer defenses are lowered, and a growing awareness of, (and appreciation for) the value of your services is created.


Four Paths to Personalization

With this demand for greater meaning and value in the services you provide, where should you turn to satisfy the expectations of your families? You can now turn to technology to find a personalization software solution that offers you more than just one way to add a personal touch to your services. But, with so many software options available today, which one should you choose?

To maximize your personalization capabilities, here are a few offerings you want to look for in your personalization software:


Tribute Videos

When a tribute video is the focal point of a visitation or funeral service, those in attendance focus on positive memories, rather than the sadness of the loss. When you create a video tribute for families, you’re helping them celebrate, honor and remember the life of their loved one. In other words, you’ve gone above and beyond what they expected of a funeral.

Your software has to be easy-to-use with a variety of elegant themes and beautiful musical selections, and allow anyone (even those with no film production knowledge and very few computer skills) to create Hollywood-quality tribute videos (like the one below), in-house.


Personalized Printing

Personalization software should make it easy for you to provide funeral service guests with professional-looking, fully-customizable prayer, memorial and thank you cards, memorial folders and/or bookmarks.  In this way, you’ll add flair and elegance to the overall experience for client families and their friends.

The software you select should make it easy to pay tribute to anyone’s passions and interests, with an almost unlimited selection of themes. And your software should help you perform this “magic” in-house, using only your computer, color printer, and the personalization software.


Live Webcasting and Service Recordings

Today, families and friends are often separated by great distances. In response, many successful funeral firms have offered their families webcasting services. In some areas of the country, up to 95% of families are using webcasting to bring everyone together.


David Techner, Funeral Director at Ira Kaufman Chapel, in Southfield, Michigan, said  “We have had such an incredible response from people who lose friends and can’t travel because they have a spouse that’s not well, but they can still watch the funeral.” Webcasting is really all about giving people the opportunity to participate, no matter how far away they are from the service location.


A Tribute Book

It’s easy to see that after a funeral service, a typical registry book has very little value to the family. By offering your families a more personalized memorial book, you’re helping them continue to celebrate the life lived, while still providing a record of the guests in attendance.


It may seem a daunting task to create such a unique tribute for each of your families, but the right personalization software can make it a breeze. With a computer, scanner, printer and 15 minutes of your time, you should be able produce a fully-customized, photo-laden collection of memories, which families will cherish for years to come. Your software should make it easy for you to offer them more than an average, run-of-the-mill register book. Affordably.


Four Things to Look for in Personalization Software

When deciding which personalization software is right for your firm, make sure to take it for a test drive. You shouldn’t have to be a computer wizard or have to spend a lot of time or money in production.  The software you select must be:

– Easy-to-Use: Who’s really got the time for trial-and-error? Not you, that’s for sure. The software you choose needs to be push-button easy.

– Hassle-Free: Let’s be honest. Sometimes you need tech support and you need it now. Whether it’s 3:00 a.m. or 4:00 in the afternoon, you should be able to connect with a knowledgeable technical support person who can solve your problem. That’s a hassle-free guarantee. But not every personalization software provider has that kind of epic support, so make sure to find one who does.

– Low in Production Cost: What about the cost and availability of supplies, like DVDs, labels, cases, and paper products? That’s really important – you’ve got to keep production costs low.

 – An In-House Solution: With the right personalization software, it is now possible to easily and affordably create quality personalized products, in-house.  In using all-inclusive personalization software, you can easily help families honor the unique life lived, and create healing experiences that add significant value to the services you provide.


The #1 Benefit of Personalization?

Here’s the bottom line: your families are changing with the times, and it’s your responsibility to adapt and meet their needs. What that means is clear: give them a variety of personalization options to choose from. Realizing this should lead you to choose a personalization software suite with all the solutions your families are looking for: tribute videos, print collateral, webcasting – you know, the works.

When personalization is used as part of a meaningful reflection of someone’s life, your firm provides a service that will never be forgotten. You will have shown your client families that you understand what they are looking for: an outstanding celebration of life, instead of an ordinary, dull, run-of -the mill funeral.

Let’s not forget that the impact you make through a consistent focus on personalization is your biggest opportunity for future business. Recognizing that, and acting on it, can make all the difference in the survival of your funeral home.


Start Offering Personalized Services At Your Firm

Offering personalized services at your funeral home has never been easier. Get a 30-Day free trial of funeralOne’s Life Tributes All-In-One Personalization Software by clicking here or calling 800-798-2575, ext. 5.


Joe Joachim


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  1. Funeral Blog. The official blog for the funeral & cemetery professions. » Blog Archive 9 Jaw-Dropping Statistics on Funeral Personalization Revealed

    […] It’s a clear signal that funeral homes need to personalize services to give client families what they want. It could even be the USP that differentiates your funeral home from the competition. If you’re experiencing a slump in growth or revenue, is it because you’re not giving your families what they’re looking for? If that’s the case, it’s time to start incorporating real personalization (beyond just a pretty casket) into your services… or else. […]