How To Build Trust Into Your Funeral Home’s Family Experience


How do you think families would describe your funeral home’s family experience?

Is your funeral home welcoming, friendly, intimidating, detail-oriented, or none of the above?

This is an important question to ask yourself. Because like it or not, your funeral home’s family experience is the most important element of your business. In fact, I think it has the potential to either make or break your business. So, it’s important that you know what kind of experience your families have from the moment they walk in your door.

With that said, if I walked into your funeral home right now, what would your family experience say about you? Let’s take a look:


What a good family experience looks like

From the second they walk in the door, the families should feel like you are likable, genuine, and attentive to their needs… without being overbearing. They should feel a profound respect and sympathy from you for their loss. And, they would get the sense that you truly care, not only about the funeral, but about the experience of everyone at the memorial service itself. In short, that you saw them as human beings, and that you gave them the gift of empathy in your business.


What a terrible family experience looks like

From the get-go, the family would get a certain sense that you just wanted to sell to them. They would see that you don’t truly care about their needs, and that you’d prefer to just give them the usual cookie -cutter experience you would provide for any other family. They might feel like you’re trying to scam them with overpriced caskets. In short, they would feel like a number – just another anonymous face who only meant dollar signs to you.

I think you know which experience you’d rather provide your families.

The good news is that there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure that your family experience is highly positive and emotionally enriching, as opposed to apathetic and money-driven.

And the better news is that once you start acting on these steps, your trust levels with client families will increase. And that increased trust will result in new business for you, as these families recommend other families to you based on their high-quality experience.


How to build trust into your family experience

One of my favorite reads is “The Speed of Trust”, by Stephen M. R. Covey. In the book, Stephen shares four components to building trust, and these pillars of trust are directly applicable to your funeral home experience. The four pillars are integrity, intent, capabilities, and results.


If you communicate honestly and there is minimal gap between what you say and do, then you’ll be building pillars of trust that will lead to a positive family experience. What does your funeral home stand for? What are your values? When you communicate a clear sense of certainty to your families, along with a commitment to telling the truth to them, then they will respect you. This will build significant trust for your business with client families.


This refers to your motive or agenda. Covey finds that the best way to build credibility through intent is with “mutual benefit.” There is nothing wrong with making a profit, but you want to make sure the family feels that you care about their funeral service just as much as you care about your own business.


What solutions do you offer to your client families? As you know, funeral homes that operate on a very traditional model are losing revenue as families move away from high-priced caskets. Demonstrate to families that you have their needs in mind by offering solutions that are truly catered to their needs – things like tribute videos and social memorial websites.


How did the funeral service actually go? What was the quality of your tribute video, prayer card or guest book?  The end result is to create an experience built around genuine emotional connections for your families. When you do this, families will see not only integrity, positive intent, and capabilities, but your ability to implement your offerings in a way that makes their experience as meaningful as possible.


Final thoughts

If you can put these four principles into practice, then you will build trust with your families. That trust will spill over into all areas of your business. And your families will thank you for it.

Do you focus on building trust in your funeral home business? What are some specific ways you have been able to build trust and credibility with your clients? Let us know in the comments below.

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