Funeral Planning In The Age Of Convenience

Posted by Brandon Meawasige

Accept payments online with FuneralPay

The days of families needing or wanting to walk into a funeral home for the entire funeral planning process are coming to a close. Just as the days of brick & mortar shopping begins to meet a similar end. Everything nowadays is about convenience. Who can get it to me the quickest? Who allows me to do everything online, from the comfort of home? Who offers the most flexible payment options? These are the questions that shape the decisions of modern consumers. Sure, older generations still maintain loyalty to businesses who have been reliable in the past. However, young people hold much fewer allegiances, if any – opting to instead buy from companies that offer the most convenient buying experience above any other factor. For funeral homes, the new challenge is catering to these consumer habits and continually finding ways to create convenient experiences.

After ensuring that your website is user-friendly and informative, the first step should be finding ways to provide families with the same experiences they are looking for from every other business. A great place to start is expanding your funeral home’s payment options and make sure they are available online. Especially because the last thing you want is for your competitor to be the more convenient option.

The truth is families are in a rush. No one has time to go anywhere anymore. If they can do it online or by using a cool app, the choice is easy. Why should your funeral home be any different? When seeking to solve this problem for our clients, we built a new tool called FuneralPay, which enables firms to accept payments directly on their website with FuneralPay Online, offer crowdfunding with A Helping Hand and save time on the insurance assignments process through a partnership with C&J Financial. As a result, the firms we work with will now be able to offer a new level of convenience that was previously not on par with what families expect.

In addition to accepting payments, FuneralPay Online will enable anyone, family or friend, to search for the deceased and make a contribution directly toward the cost of the funeral. So it is not only convenient, but forward-thinking as well. A Helping Hand offers a funeral funding platform, built in partnership with GoFundMe, that encourages community support during times of loss. With these tools, our hope is that FrontRunner clients will now be seen by their communities as progressive and will be chosen by families because of the comprehensive funding options available.

Let’s face it, family dynamics are not what they used to be. People used to stay in the same place for generations and this meant continuous relationship with certain funeral homes. Now, people are spread all over the place and coming “home” to be part of the funeral planning process is simply not possible for everyone. With FuneralPay, anyone, anywhere can make their contribution to the funeral from the comfort and convenience of wherever they choose.

In the age of convenience, funeral planning will quickly become just like any other transaction for families. Everything will soon need to be streamlined, easy, quick. While we may not be there just yet, FuneralPay will help our clients take that first step towards meeting families online, making things more convenient and offering more flexible payment options.

In the near future, you will also see further innovations to the funeral planning process with our upcoming release of Arrangement Aide 2.0 – the next generation of funeral arrangement for families. As always, our goal is to help the funeral homes we work with stay ahead of the curve and be at the forefront of death care technology. We will also be releasing a funeral financing platform that will allow families to pay for the funeral they want in affordable installments. In helping to build and improve the online experience offered by our clients, we are ultimately staying true to the foundation of funeral service: helping families when they need it the most.

If you want to know more about FuneralPay, our upcoming releases or how FrontRunner can help your funeral home with technology and marketing, contact us today. We are always ready and willing to help.

Prep Arts: In the New Year, I Resolve To …

Posted by Lance Ray

funeral professionals New Years resolutions

A new year always brings new resolutions to improve, whether in personal or professional areas. There’s always something that we might do better and this can apply to new embalmers as well as veteran embalmers. As Rod Serling of The Twilight Zone might have said, “submitted for your approval” are ten resolutions for 2018:

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A Look Back At NFDA 2017 & A Look Forward For Funeral Service

Posted by Brandon Meawasige

FrontRunner at NFDA 2017

 

It has been quite a month around the FrontRunner office. Since getting home from a crazy trade show season, we’ve been working hard to catch up with all of the new faces we met on the road. In addition, we are in the midst of developing an exciting software that is set to drop in early December. However, now that we have had a little bit of time to sit back and think about all of the progress that we saw at NFDA 2017, I want to share with you a few things we noticed at the show and what they mean for the industry moving forward. Safe to say we’ve been inspired by talking with so many funeral directors and hearing what they had to say about their technology needs.

But before we get into that, check out our recap video that shows just a small amount of the fun that we had at this year’s wonderful show and some candid moments shared with our beloved clients. It’s honestly hard to believe how much action we saw at the FrontRunner booth. So without further ado, thank you to the National Funeral Directors Association and the beautiful city of Boston for hosting our best show yet!

Okay, now we can get into the cool things we saw at NFDA 2017 and talk about why they are so exciting. In general, a step forward was taken and the show’s atmosphere was nothing short of electric. Dare I say, this year’s show marked the dawn of a new era in funeral service.

Great Looking Booth Setups

One glance around the NFDA 2017 floor at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Centre would have had you convinced that you were attending a technology conference. From the top of the entrance, coming down the escalators, it was clear to see that more businesses put an extensive amount of thought into the design and function of their booths. We saw more screens, more music, more interactive experiences and certainly (it seemed like, anyway) more vibrant attendees as a result. Having attended some technology conferences this year, I was proud to see our industry making such big strides in the same direction as some of the most innovative businesses out there.

Innovation Outside The Industry

The NFDA 2017 Innovation Award also represented a progressive step forward for the funeral industry, with Answering Service For Directors’ (ASD) winning for their Suicide Prevention Call Support System. By using their existing technology to address a real need in the United States, ASD stepped outside of death care to help with a pressing issue – now that is innovative! Technology providers and funeral homes alike can learn from this example by expanding outside of the space to use their expertise or facilities to help communities on a local, regional or even national scale. This type of “big picture” application of death care first technology and innovation may be what is needed to create a bright future for this industry.

The Campfire Sessions

Everyone I talked to raved about the Campfire Sessions at this year’s convention. Taking another page out of the modern start-up playbook, NFDA 2017 reimagined traditional educational sessions and transformed them into casual, constructive and progressive conversations between experts and interested funeral professionals. The result was nothing short of amazing, with great dialogue taking place both during the sessions and spilling out onto the floor and even the social events as well. Any catalyst for productive discourse is a win and NFDA got it perfect by organizing these incredible sessions. We even got in on the action with our Chief Marketing Officer Ashley Montroy leading one about social media.

Big Name Speakers

By their own estimation, NFDA 2017 “went big in Boston”. Boy, did they ever. Two of the headlining speakers at this year’s convention were nationally renowned personalities. They included former Dallas Cowboy and three-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Troy Aikman and John Maxwell who is a renowned leadership expert. A speaking lineup like this would be big for any huge national event. Not to sound like a broken record, but it was great to see death care put on the map in this way. Looking to the future, I can’t wait to see what other big names bring their expertise into the mix. On the flip side, we are not too far away from the day when a death care industry expert will be sharing their experience with other industries at national or even international events.  

Open Minds, Everywhere

There was so much that was inspiring about the NFDA 2017 Convention & Expo, but none had a greater impact on me than seeing the amount of people that attended with an open mind. So may funeral directors and death care business owners came to the show ready to REALLY talk about what they could do better. At the FrontRunner booth we spoke with so many people who were truly interested in change. Not just small change either, the kind of fundamental change that will carry this industry into the digital age. There seemed to be an almost feverish hunger for the next trends. In addition, people came armed with research and questions that were extremely savvy. Almost everyone I spoke to throughout the week had something insightful to say with regards to technology and industry trends. If this continues, and it will, death care will be en route to being an extremely innovative and leading space in how it contributes to the overall modern human experience.

Until Next Year, And Beyond

By the time it was all over, we did not want to pack up our booth and go home. NFDA 2017 was so full of life and showed that the industry is growing. Not only here in North America, either. Businesses from around the world attended the conference, demonstrating the international interest in creating a new and modern death care space. Everywhere you turned there was cool ideas, unique products and start-up businesses with something fresh to contribute. Mixed with the experienced technology vendors, established death care product and service providers, this year’s crowd of over 6,200 seemed poised to take on the future, collectively.

If you want to know more about our experiences in Boston or are interested in becoming a part of our FrontRunner family, please contact us today. 2018 is going to a big year for us and we invite you to be apart of it.

Grief Over The Holidays: The Empty Seat At Thanksgiving

Posted by Brandon Meawasige

Thanksgiving grief

This weekend millions of people across the country will gather with family to share a meal, watch the football game and reflect on the things for which they are thankful. Additionally, it will be an opportunity to remember the people who have come before us and acknowledge those who will be missing the festivities this year. While some such people have been gone for years now, there will undoubtedly be many seats that were not supposed to be empty this Thanksgiving. For the families sitting at these tables, things may prove to be more difficult than they are joyous. Grief is a funny thing that way, seeming to always be magnified by moments that are supposed to be otherwise special.

Unfortunately there is no universal suggestion that can be made for holiday grief of this kind. Every family is different, with a unique set of traditions and a special dynamic. So instead of trying to pretend that my advice will work for everyone, I will tell you how, in my life, I have overcome the grief of missing a loved one at the Thanksgiving table.

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6 Things Your Funeral Home Should Learn From Apple’s Latest iPhone Release

Posted by Brandon Meawasige

iPhone X release

There was no better way to open the Steve Jobs Theatre at Apple’s new complex in Cupertino, California on September 12, than with one of the company’s signature launch events. As millions watched on, the show started with a recording of the late CEO and luminary echoing throughout a dark room. It was a posthumous reminder of what has made the tech giant into one of the world’s most recognizable brands; their commitment to improving the human experience. When Tim Cook took over the spotlight from his predecessor, he continued with a tribute to Jobs, setting the stage for a monumental day. And monumental it was.

Breaking away from the usual model, the event did not release the standard line of expected products. Instead, not one but three phones were announced, including the iPhone X – to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the smartphone’s first edition. Additionally, viewers were privy to a new Apple Watch, a 4K version of Apple TV and a revamped operating system.

What does this mean for your funeral home? Well, with the new phones hitting the market just last week, we have created a list of 6 things your firm can learn from the latest release. These will help you get the most out of the technology, understand the devices families will be using and make your funeral home more appealing to the community on and offline.

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Boston Bound: How To Make The Most Of NFDA 2017

Posted by Brandon Meawasige

With the 2017 NFDA International Convention & Expo fast approaching, the FrontRunner team could not be more excited to be headed down to Boston. We had such a wonderful time with all of you in Philadelphia in 2016 and can’t wait to share what has been the biggest and most innovative year in our company’s history. We released several new technology solutions for funeral homes like our DIY website platform and video condolences feature. We also became the first in the death care industry to partner with GoFundMe to release A Helping Hand compassionate funding. It sure has been busy around here and it’ now time to celebrate. In addition, it would not be the NFDA convention without a look to the future, that is why we are bringing a special 2018 sneak preview (among other surprises) to the trade show floor. To see it all first-hand visit us in booth 2811, you wont be able to miss it (trust me). We also have a thing or two to share with you that will help your funeral home make the most of the convention experience and enjoy your time in Boston.

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FrontRunner On The Road: Where Will We See You This Fall?

Posted by Brandon Meawasige

As yet another summer comes to a close we are gearing up for our favourite (and busiest) seasons here at FrontRunner Professional. Over the next couple of months, our team will be travelling around North America to attend some very exciting funeral industry trade shows and national events. We will be kicking things off at the 2017 New York State Funeral Directors Association Annual Convention in beautiful Saratoga Springs. There will be 11 CEU’s up for grabs during breakout sessions, where attendees will learn about key trends impacting today’s industry. It doesn’t stop there, either. The FrontRunner team will then spread out to various locations North and South of the border, making for an extremely busy month. If you are planning on attending one of the following events, we would love to hear from you. If not, we hope to see you somewhere along the road!

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The Secret To Making Professional Videos With Your Smartphone

Posted by Brandon Meawasige

funeral home video marketing

I have some good news. You no longer need expensive equipment or expertise to create high quality professional videos. In fact, all it takes is your smartphone or tablet and some affordable gadgets to start producing great video content. For any business getting in front of the camera is a great way to reach the community and build trust. And when it comes to funeral home marketing, there is simply no better achievement. So, let’s talk about how to get your firm started with video marketing. In this post I am going to go over some great tools, equipment and tips for you to make the most of your handheld devices. Even better, you will learn how to do it in an efficient way, without taking away from your service to families.

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New! Feature Alert: A Helping Hand™ Funeral Crowdfunding & Why Your Firm Should Be Excited

Posted by Ashley Montroy

A Helping Hand Funeral Crowdfunding

We are proud to announce A Helping Hand, a funeral crowdfunding developed by FrontRunner in partnership with GoFundMe that will help bring families and communities together during times of loss to assist with final expenses.

In recent years the crowdfunding space has grown exponentially, transforming into an industry that generates over 30 billion dollars worldwide annually, helping families worldwide. A large portion of that can be attributed to the growing popularity of monetary contributions as a gesture of sympathy. More families than ever before are turning to their friends, loved ones and communities during times of loss, and the results have been nothing short of inspiring. It is now commonplace to see funeral crowdfunding campaigns receive overwhelming support. Furthermore, there have been many instances where support has come from outside of a given community and in some cases, from different locations around the world. It is safe to say that funeral crowdfunding is more than just a trend and because we work with so many funeral homes across North America, it was an essential next step for us to introduce this tool.

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Go Custom & Stand Out From Your Competitors In A Big Way

Posted by Brandon Meawasige

Custom funeral home technology

Every business, regardless of the industry, faces the challenge of differentiating themselves from the competition. For local businesses, like funeral homes, standing out can be even more difficult. With a limited audience, there is far less room for error when jockeying for position at the top of consumer minds. Every little detail matters and strategy is of paramount importance. A decade ago, funeral home technology, having a website and putting some effort into marketing was enough. For a firm to become a reputable community “go-to”, all it would take is a passive mixture of being online and traditional advertising. These days, in order to stake such a claim, a more progressive approach must be taken. However, this post is not about what to do in order to be different -it is about how to do it. Continue reading