Live From ICCFA 2014: Creating The The Ultimate Customer Experience


The funeralOne team is having a blast here in Vegas at ICCFA 2014! Today, we were lucky enough to listen in on Scott Deming’s keynote presentation: “Creating The Ultimate Customer Experience”.

With more than 20 years of experience in marketing and communications, Scott has a lot of insight to offer funeral professionals who are interested in learning how to offer an experience for families that’s as memorable as it is unique and professional. With the Baby Boomers on their way, it’s a hot topic in the funeral profession right now, and one that we’re super passionate about.

With that said, let’s dive into some of the key takeaways we learned during Scott’s keynote presentation:

Products don’t create loyalty, brands do

To make this point clear, Scott uses one of the most beloved coffee brands in the world, Starbucks, as an example. He encourages us to think about why we wait in line for 20 minutes to buy a $4 cup of coffee. It’s not because we just want coffee, it’s because we want people to KNOW that we are drinking coffee from Starbucks. For many consumers, the Starbucks brand says “I’m smart and I appreciate the finer things in life”.

Think about that when it comes to your funeral home’s brand. What does it say about a person when they choose your funeral home? Are they rich, poor, spiritual, unique, or creative? It’s important to think about what your brand says about your customers. This causes you to think about your brand from a different perspective, and Scott suggests that it’s always beneficial to see your brand in the eyes of someone else. 

Use your brand to create a belief system

Every experience you’ve had in your life has shaped your foundational belief system, whether you want to believe it or not. That means that you have the ability to create a belief system based on your families’ experiences with your brand. For example, if you truly value celebrating life in a unique way – and you make it a foundation of your brand – your customers will adopt that belief system and will be unwilling to part with it.

Take Google, for example. Their belief system is that a user experience should be easy, simple and intuitive. By successfully integrating their beliefs into their brand, their customers now have the same belief system… and many wouldn’t be caught dead using another search engine because they refuse to part with those beliefs. Think about what beliefs your funeral home has that set you apart, and find ways to integrate them into your brand. By doing that, you’ll not only gain customer loyalty, but you’ll also gain customers who truly value your brand.

Turn customers into Evangelists

To make this point, Scott tells us a story about when the car company, Saturn, first launched. During the early years of their business, they used to hold a picnic every summer for their customers. 35,000 people from all over the country would drive to this picnic (in their Saturn of course) just to be a part of this picnic. Some people even got engaged or married at this picnic. By focusing on customer relationships through bringing people together at this picnic, Saturn built a cult-like following. Saturn can teach us that it’s not about what you sell, it’s about how you sell it. Once you focus on that at your funeral home, everything else will fall into place.

Value ALWAYS beats out price

Through a super fun exercise, Scott delivered a very powerful message, and it’s that value will ALWAYS (and we mean always) beat out price. This is an interesting point to make, especially in funeral service, since many funeral businesses focus on being the low-cost provider in their area. Scott challenges that school of thought by giving us examples of how brands have focused on relationships with customers takes price out of the equation. He says “customers are buying on value and trust, not price.”

What does your funeral home’s brand say about you?

During the presentation, Scott challenged the audience to ask “What do people think of when they see or hear your funeral home’s name?” Now, it’s our turn to  ask yourself the same question. It’s this question that will force you to think about the elements that make up your funeral home’s brand. Scott suggests that once you’ve got these elements down, create an “elevator pitch” to describe your brand in the most simple, concise way.

 We really enjoyed Scott’s keynote presentation at ICCFA, and we hope everyone else did too! 

Tell us in the comments below, what was your favorite part about Scott’s keynote presentation?

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