Embracing Technology Any Where,
Any Time and at Any Age

Each of us has our own very personal reasons for becoming a funeral service professional. For me, it was my love of ritual. My anthropological training allowed me to spend decades studying the multitude of cultural rituals surrounding death. This love turned my strictly academic career into funeral service where I could work with families to create meaningful funeral and memorial services. Add to that my recent certification as a grief counselor and I think it’s easy to see where my heart lies.

at computerIt’s also easy to see that my heart does not lie with the seemingly mundane tasks of case management! Chances are you feel much the same as I do. We came to this profession as a way of expressing our desire to care for others not because we wanted to get buried in the minutia of case management (pun intended). Yet, how many times during the week do you find yourself stuck in your office, feeling overwhelmed by your management and operational responsibilities?

Fortunately, today’s technology can free you from the shackles of your office chair and allow you the mobility needed to serve today’s families.

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Password Strategies and How to Keep Your Data Secure

security1Most everyone by now has heard of Heartbleed and we all recognize that’s it’s not a good thing. But for many of us, we don’t have a clue about what it is and what we should be doing about it. Even when Heartbleed became the top news story, there were conflicting reports on what the average person should do to protect their personal information that is stored online.

It doesn’t help that when you ask a more technically-inclined person to explain this worldwide phenomenon, they tend to roll their eyes at you when you stare blankly at their answer. And, if you look at all the tech websites and blogs out there, their cartoon depictions that were created to explain everything to us ‘dummies’, make me feel even dumber!

So, I’ve gone to the programmers at FrontRunner and asked them to explain this so everyone understands. Thankfully, they are patient and keep the eye-rolling to a minimum or they at least wait until I’ve left the room.

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Sympathy Stores: Hip or Hype?

symp flowers

You have undoubtedly been hit up at one time or another by the hype of promised profits through the use of sympathy stores and other online selling tools. Before you put your firm’s reputation on the line, there are a few things that you need to know.

 

 

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Have You Googled Yourself Lately?
Your Reputation is on the Line

ORM2Once upon a time, just for fun, all of us would search our own names in Google just to see how we ranked. The act of ego-surfing was done on the sly so we didn’t come across as  caring whether we could find anything about ourselves in the first few pages of the rankings.

Today, not taking the time to Google ourselves and our companies is simply irresponsible. Controlling what searchers find and claiming your business name on the major search engines is part of an effective online reputation management (ORM) plan and makes perfect business sense.

So where should you begin? The first step is actually knowing how your firm looks online when families are searching for you. This is the initial stage of your ORM Plan. Yes, this takes more than a few minutes and can be quite extensive but the following steps can help get you started to assess your current online reputation and determine what needs to be done to improve your online presence.

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Computers are stupid!

My name is Mark Miatello. You pronounce it just how it looks.  Mark.  No, I mean Miatello. Mee-ah-tell-oh. Pretty simple.

supportI’ve been with FrontRunner Professional going on four years and it was decided that I should share some of my accumulated wisdom with you so that’s why you’re reading this.

When it comes to our software, I’ve seen almost every possible issue and usually numerous times…too numerous to count. Every one of our clients has been a newbie at one time. You may be one of the new ones and are a little overwhelmed with all the features available in the system and where to go to do what. You may be one of our long-time clients and know all there is to know about the IMS until that one day when you are sitting there thinking, “How do I do that again?”  Hopefully, I can be of assistance with some of the main things that you’re going to run into.

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The Noise: What it is and how it could be killing your business

175784044A recent study suggested that the typical funeral home in North America receives an average of 19 unsolicited sales contacts per day. Being in the technology space, I am saddened to say that in today’s market, most of these contacts involve someone trying to sell some form of technology.

We live in a new world of digital phone service with unlimited calling, email blasts, digital fax machines, and social media. Many technology companies use these techniques because they require little to no investment in advertising and no personal contact. Most don’t know anything about the funeral profession because their sales ‘experience’ has focused on everything from vacuum cleaners and photocopiers to used cars. The noise they generate can be relentless and deafening.

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Be Smart about Social Media

Ashley Montroy, FrontRunner Professional’s Marketing and Social Media Manager spoke with Lauren Moore for her article Be Smart about Social Media. The article is published in the March 2014 issue of American Funeral Director Magazine.

The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, which has been studying  online adults’ social networking site use since 2005, found that last year, 73 percent of adults that are online are using social networking sites. Like it or not, your customers – and your employees – are using social media, probably on a daily basis. It’s crucial, then, that you consider implementing a social media policy for your funeral home.

AFD Social Media

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Technology Roundtable
for the Funeral Professional

FrontRunner Professional CEO and Founder, Kevin Montroy, participated in a Technology Roundtable. The following article by Patti Martin Bartsche was published in the March 2014 issue of American Funeral Director Magazine.

There’s no question businesses – including funeral homes – are operating in a rapidly changing technological environment. What worked five years ago is now considered antiquated and not in tune with the times. But how do funeral professionals determine the right time to upgrade, what technology tools best fit their business model and how to protect themselves from security breaches? We turn to three industry leaders: Wes Johnson, president and CEO of Continental Computer Inc.; Kevin Montroy, founder and CEO of FrontRunner Professional; and Kimberly Simons, vice president of SRS Computing, to get the answers.

AFD Tech Roundtable

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How Funeral Firms Can Provide the
Ultimate Online Experience (Part 2)

onlineIn the previous post, I set out to explore the ways funeral firms can provide an ultimate online experience for their communities using the wisdom of Scott Deming, a keynote speaker at this year’s ICCFA Convention. He asserts that a business’s brand is not derived from marketing and advertising efforts, but from customers.

In a brief exploration of what defines an ultimate online experience, I determined (with the help of a few Facebook friends and my own online experience) that it involves: responsiveness to inquiries; the ability to personalize the platform to provide the most relevant information for my needs and expectations; general ease-of-use; and finally, price and service-related value.

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How Funeral Homes Can Provide the Ultimate Online Experience (Part 1)

Cover of the 2014 ICCFA Convention GuideWhat a fantastic line-up this year for the ICCFA All Star Annual Convention & Exposition! Congratulations to Program Co-Chairs Gary Freetag and Scott Sells for the keynote presentations and breakout session topics in what promises to be a stellar event (no pun intended). (For registration information, visit the ICCFA website. Or download a PDF version of the Program to learn more.)

I am especially intrigued by Scott Deming’s Keynote presentation: Creating the Ultimate Customer Experience, which will be held Wednesday, April 9th. The premise is this: while businesses often consider their branding to be simply a logo and tagline, in reality, their brand is defined by their customers. “Deming will explain,” notes the synopsis, “how to break the boundaries of typical customer service or brand-building processes and dispel the popular, yet incorrect, thinking that advertising and marketing lead to powerful, emotional brands.”

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