8 Mistakes to Avoid When Operating a Funeral Business (and What to Do Instead)
The Do’s and Don’ts of funerals can be a touchy topic to discuss. Not everyone wants to talk about death, especially when business and money come into the picture, but it’s an important part of your business. Whether you’re starting the journey to becoming a successful funeral director or you have years of experience under your belt, there is always room to learn.
There are a lot of emotions and stress levels for clients who are dealing with the loss of a family member or friend, making it easier to step on their toes and stumble into a mistake.
A Funeral Business' Health Depends on Your Clients
How you handle your clients will reflect on your business. Ultimately, your goal as a funeral director is to help clients leave feeling like their experience was hassle-free and they could truly focus on the grieving process.
It doesn’t matter if your funeral home is strapped for cash, if clients feel like they’re being rushed to sign paperwork and hand over a check, they’re going to leave with a bad taste in their mouth. With enough disgruntled clients, you’ll start noticing the tangible effects a bad reputation has on your business!
Unfortunately, there are many more obstacles that a funeral director will encounter than just hurting a client’s feelings or being a pushy salesman.
In this article, we discuss slip ups to avoid when operating a funeral business, and what to do instead:
Avoid This Mistake When Running a Funeral Home Business or Mortuary
Funeral planning isn’t easy for the family of the deceased, and it’s the funeral director’s job to facilitate an easy grieving period, and earn money while doing it. That’s a lot of pressure on a single person!
Avoid these 6 things, and you will be working with a head start that not many funeral directors get:
- Trying to Manage Too Many Social Platforms Your friends or consultant might tell you social media is the path to the future. While social media is making a big impact, connecting more people and making them more aware of local brands and companies in their area, burning yourself out on too many social platforms is not the way to go.
Of course, you can’t just create a profile and call it quits. You need to spend time posting on these accounts to keep your business in people’s minds to keep your brand name as something they remember when they need it.
If you fall behind on frequent posting, it’s time to prune how many social media platforms you try managing at once. (1) If you burn yourself out on all of them, you’re going to see even less audience
engagement and growth as your posting rate drops. An inactive account is considered worse than no account at all.
Choose one or two social media platforms whose demographics are most likely to use your services. For most funeral homes, that’s Facebook and Twitter. Focus on those, and as your team grows, you can always hand the responsibility off to one of your managers.
- Not Responding to Online Complaints and Poor Reviews
Reviews have become the lifeblood of a business’s reputation. More and more people are looking to their phones to find services near them. If your funeral home comes highly recommended by previous clients, then you’ll have clients lining up at your door.
“A member of a client family who had a bad experience with their loved one’s service, whether it was your fault or not, can easily jump on your Facebook page and leave an angry post or comment. Everyone on the Internet can see their complaint, and these negative interactions can have an impact on your brand.”
– Sarah Loghry, Marketer
Be sure to check all your social media channels for reviews and respond promptly to all of them. It doesn’t matter if the review or comment is a positive or negative response, you should reward them for going out of their way to provide feedback. Respond with a well-thought, detailed reply. Negative reviews should be aimed at resolving the problem as fast and as painlessly as possible for the client, while positive reviews should be encouraging and thankful.
“It doesn’t matter if your funeral home is strapped for cash, if clients feel like they’re being rushed to sign
paperwork and hand over a check, they’re going to leave with a bad taste in their mouth. With enough
disgruntled clients, you’ll start noticing the tangible effects a bad reputation has on your business!”
Your online reputation is something clients will remember for a long time.
- Undervaluing Your Worth
As a funeral director, you touch every part of the business. Your time is valuable, and you should price it accordingly. Funeral directors who price their time higher tend to stop wasting time on things that could be handled by other staff members or helpers.
This also applies outside of internal operations: If a client wants to speak directly with you, then it’s important to give them your time. By pricing your time, you can also put a price tag on how long you can reasonably commit to spending with that client and plan the conversation accordingly.
- Making More Work to Save Money
Especially when you are first starting in the funeral business, it can be tempting to cut costs at every corner, trying to stretch your dollar and increase your profits.
But working hard to save a couple of extra dollars can detract from the tools that can make your life easier, saving you money and time.
This could be the frivolous-sounding things such as flower trays that help you carry multiple vases of flowers around, versus carrying flowers one vase at a time. It could also mean opting for software specifically designed for funeral services, versus all-purpose tools.
On the flip side, it’s still important to stay frugal. Only need the mediocre body lift? Then opt for that over the upgraded one that costs more but won’t save you any time.
Take the time to think about what you need out of your funeral parlor, and where it’s okay to cut costs.
- Not Willing to Learn from Your Mistakes
Learning from your goofs can be one of the most rewarding experiences as a funeral director. Take it in stride and stay humble. (2) It’s impossible to know everything, and every slip up is an opportunity for growth.
“Not only have these missteps taught me, but they’ve also allowed me to grow as a person and a business owner. I’m sure that I’ll make my share of mistakes in the future, and I look forward to the insight that the next five years of running my funeral home will bring.”
– Kristan McNames, Funeral Director
If you’ve made a mistake by upsetting a client, reach out to them, and sincerely apologize. Let them know that it was out of place and that you did not intend to offend them. It could mean the difference between a bad review and a glowing one!
- Don’t Let Pettiness Get to You
As a funeral director, you see people at one of the most vulnerable times in their lives, where emotions and tensions are running high. Of course, the subject of money and death don’t mix well, but it’s your job as a funeral director to make it work.
People often get petty about small things. Small errors in your advertising could set one person off, while others might find it humorous and move on. Other times, a mistake was made during a funeral service and the client is rightfully upset.
No matter the reason, pettiness has a way of getting under everyone’s skin. How you outwardly respond to pettiness can say a lot about your business and can affect your business’s reputation. You get to choose whether that response is positive or not.
At the end of the day, we all bring a little bit of the day home with us. Don’t let a customer’s petty words or actions affect your home life. Respond and leave the interaction alone. You’ll thank yourself later.
A Funeral Helps People Grieve Family Death:
Ready to Take the Next Step?
Becoming a funeral home director allows you to work with people in a vulnerable time, helping them work through the grief of losing a loved family member. You can be the difference between creating the space for someone to let their loved family member go and start on the road to healing from grief – or cause the grief process to become uncomfortable and harried.
Let 4BSF guide your way through the funeral industry. We specialize in funeral home financing, helping you buy and sell your funeral parlor when it’s time, and answer questions along the way. Give 4BSF a call today and discuss how we can help you.
- Homesteaders Life Company homesteaderslife.com/blog/4-big-funeral-home-social-media-mistakes-and-how-to-fix-them
- Funeral One Blog https://blog.funeralone.com/grow-your-business/mistakes-funeral-home/
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