Across the United States, Canada, and much of the world, Covid-19 has wreaked havoc. Now, this isn’t going to be another article about the struggles people have faced; or how uncertain these times are. There’s been enough of those articles for the past 2 months.
Yes Covid-19 has made things difficult for everyone. But regardless, the funeral industry has fought back and continued to be an integral part of the community. During these past 8 weeks, we’ve seen some incredible things done by funeral professionals. While these circumstances have been unprecedented, they’ve also forced many to learn and adapt.
One benefit of this time for many has been the chance to step back and reflect. As restrictions and guidelines slowly start to ease, it’s important to think about life after Covid. While it’s nearly impossible to know when all this will “end”, I think there are many lessons we can learn from right now. After all, these are unprecedented times for many of us. While that might cause stress, anxiety, and even fear. It can also provide us with lessons to carry forward.
If there’s anything this pandemic has taught us, it’s the importance of being adaptable. We’ve seen this happen across industries. Manufacturers have stopped producing their products to help produce PPE instead. Teams like ours at FrontRunner have transitioned to working remotely and changed how our teams communicate and work together.
Funeral homes are no exception and many have made big changes to their practices. We’ve seen an increase in live streaming services, learning how to use more mobile friendly tools to work from afar, utilizing new payment options, and so much more. That’s just on the business side. In the community it’s meant changing how services are held or finding new ways to support and bring a community together.
A lot has changed for funeral service. Being more adaptable is a lesson I think we can bring out of this. No matter what challenge is presented in front of you after this, it likely won’t compare to the changes happening now. If you can be adaptable during these times, then there’s really nothing you can’t overcome in the future.
“It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit” – Harry S Truman
During my high school years, I would walk by this quote on the wall every single day. I didn’t think much of it then, but it couldn’t be any more true today. While working with others in the community is nothing new to funeral service, these past couple of months have brought many more businesses together.
Whether it’s working with a local group to make and share free masks, or providing activities for kids to give parents a break; we’ve seen funeral homes do some incredible things in their communities. Now is a time when community members really need to support one another. Funeral service has been a key part of this and needs to continue to be going forward.
You can do some really special things when you bring a community together. It strengthens relationships and makes a difference. Now that people have seen what their community can come together to do, funeral professionals needs to continue to nurture and help grow that community spirit going forward.
Now that businesses have had to adapt, there’s really no going back. Consumers love convenience. Once they’ve found something that works, why would they stop? Social media was once new and unfamiliar, but it’s not going anywhere. Sure, sites like Vine or MySpace are no more. But that’s because they were overtaken by better ones like Facebook and Instagram. The concept of social media has gone nowhere, the channels have just gotten better.
It’s the same with many industries. Decades ago, people were introduced to automobile and the convenience of travelling places faster. Car’s aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. I could go on but the point is simple, once consumers get introduced to a concept that works, they wont want to stop.
For funeral service, that’s meant streaming services online, accepting payments online, using tools make building a quote more convenient and many more examples. Now that families have used these tools, it’s important to continue offering them going forward.
Now yes, attending a service in person cannot compare to watching it online. But that doesn’t mean you should stop doing it. One thing it’s done for many firms is increase service attendance. It’s made it more accessible for people to grieve and say goodbye. Perhaps there’s someone who lives too far away to attend. Maybe someone else knew the deceased but not really their family and feels uncomfortable attending the service. Live streaming lets them be a part of it.
The same can be said for all of the other tools mentioned above. Now that these tools are there, families will want to keep using them. So get comfortable with them. Learn more about them. And think about ways they could be improved to better serve families.
Throughout this article, there’s been a consistent message about going forward. You’ve probably also heard plenty of people say something along the lines of “I can’t wait for things to go back to normal”. Im guilty of it myself. The lesson to be learned though is there is no going back. This is the new normal.
Yes, social gatherings will eventually return and people will be out and about. But, there’s still going to be many practices left in place. Many governments have said that physical distancing (6 feet of space) will need to continue to happen for the foreseeable future. Don’t be surprised if stores have restrictions on occupancy or restaurants have fewer tables. When major events like this happen, things naturally change.
While people want to get back to normal, it’s important to realize this is normal now. This really ties in to the previous section. Now that you have more digital tools and resources at your disposal, continue to offer them going forward.
Providing outstanding customer service is something funeral homes have done for generations. Any funeral director you talk to will always say, “it’s about the family and being there for them”. Despite the challenges faced, funeral homes have continued to prioritize the customer. You’ve found solutions and embraced new technologies to do everything you can for every family served.
At the end of the day, not being customer centric will always be the biggest disruptor to a business. Not a virus. Not technology. Going forward, I want to encourage many of you to continue focusing on your families and finding solutions to meet their needs and support them. It’s been incredible to see so many firms grow, adapt, and find new solutions for their families.
Some firms were already equipped with the tools, and others have sought them out. For those that are looking, unsure, or need advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We know this has been difficult for many funeral homes. But, by being customer-centric, we’ve built tools and resources to help you in any way that we can.
Check out our Covid-19 page for a bunch of different tools and free resources/offers you can get started with or learn more about. We’ve got everything from Free Facebook Page Setup & A Live Streaming Guide to 30 Day Trials of Arrangement Aide for free.
I’d also encourage everyone to sign up for our Friday’s With FrontRunner webinars. Each week Jules Green and Ashley Montroy are joined by hundreds of funeral professionals sharing ideas and building a community of inspired leaders. There’s been free giveaways, guests, and so much happening each week. Attendees are even starting to connect outside the webinar and work together.
Click here if you want to sign up for all the Fridays With FrontRunner content.
Tommy holds a Communications degree from Laurentian University and an Integrated Marketing Communications Graduate Certificate from St. Lawrence College. He is a Content Marketing Specialist at FrontRunner and focuses on producing engaging content that funeral homes can use to connect with families. In addition, Tommy crafts SEO content for clients and specializes in helping the general public connect with the death care industry as a whole.