If I could choose one thing that 90% of funeral homes are doing all wrong, it would be the amount of time and money that is spent on doing the same thing, too many times. Let me explain!
Think about how you do business for a minute: A family comes in to make arrangements and there is a long list of things you have to do – before, during, and after the funeral. If you are like most funeral homes, you grab a piece of paper and pen and start writing with that family in the room, and then you walk away and start to do what needs to be done. You have paperwork to complete – lots and lots of paperwork. You have payments to take care of, orders to place, and schedules to update, not to mention you also have to let the community and online world know that you are caring for this family and more.
Now, as you were picturing all of the things you have to do, answer this: Did you physically have to write or type the same information more than once? It could be the deceased name, date of birth, father’s name – the list goes on and on. If you shook your head and laughed to yourself because you, like many people I meet out on the road and chat with on the phone do, it’s okay – you’re not alone!
Technology. It’s a scary word for many of you reading this.
Computers and the Internet are just something that funeral homes didn’t have to deal with before. Funeral homes reached their peak when face to face interaction was everything. But times are changing. Loyalty is not what it used to be, and you need to tell your story and do your thing in line with the new ways of doing business and your new consumers. But how do you do that when you feel like your time is already stretched so thin? Technology. I promise you, technology if your friend. It is technology that can save you 8+ hours a day by taking that deceased’s name, Mary Smith for example, and populating it onto:
- Your website’s obituary pages
- Statement of Death Form
- Clergy Record Form
- Burial Permit Form
- The other 8-10+ forms that you are required to print
- Special forms and letters that you like to give to the family
- Memorial cards and folders
- DVD or memorial slideshow
- The contract
- Your accounting system
…And the list really does go on and on. If you think about how you did this before technology came about, and quite possibly how you still do it today, all of these things take hours to complete. With technology and the right software solution, you can enter it one time and it spiders out to literally everything that you would have had to do manually before. Literally, all you have to do is hit save or print. Sounds pretty easy doesn’t it?
What Technology Can Do For You
For the purpose of this post, I am literally just referring to the data side of your business. I am not even touching on all of the marketing, aftercare or new business possibilities that streamlining your data entry will bring. But when you have more time freed up from actually using technology, you will see all of those things slide right into place.
6 things that technology and the right software solution will do for your business:
#1. Stop entering the same deceased and family information 2, 3, 4, 5+ times into different software programs.
One question I ask when speaking at state conventions is “How many times are you entering the same information to do what needs to be done?” More than half of the room raise their hand for 4+ times and I usually stop at 10 times as the room starts to chuckle to themselves as they realize just how much time they waste entering the same information over and over again. This is one of the biggest mistakes funeral businesses make. They spend so much time doing the paperwork for their business that they don’t have the time to market, research or advance properly as times are changing. It is like a dog chasing its tail. If you are like these people and enter the same information into way too many pieces of software or way too many times in the same piece of software, you will never enter out of this viscous circle. You need the time today. You need time to take your business to the next level and not be left behind with this massive consumer shift.
#2. Stop paying multiple software and support fees.
If you use 4+ different pieces of software, not only are they not talking to each other so you have to spend the time (which is money) entering it again and again and again, but you pay setup fees and/or monthly fees to each and every one of them. You need to do a little homework here and calculate how much the inefficiencies are costing you. Could you save hundreds, even thousands of dollars each month?
#3. Reduce the risk of human errors.
Today, technology controls a good chunk of the world and how things happen. Why? Because a programmed computer or device has less of a chance for error compared to a trained human. It is just the way it is. I don’t know exactly how many staff you have on your team, but each one of them is writing or typing your valuable data, probably over and over again. That is where mistakes can be made. It may be a misspelling of a name, a date, or worse, but those risks can be minimized with technology.
#4. Increase staff morale with more efficient ways of doing things.
What would your staff be like if they had more free hours in a day? If they could afford to take a vacation? If someone could easily jump in if they had to be off because everything they had been working on is in one system? This is one of the biggest reasons funeral homes all over are turning to an integrated solution. When everything is in one place, and all staff are trained to do things the same way, it is easy for people to do their job.
#5. Better track how your business and staff are performing with all data accounted for.
This is one thing we hear from our Pulse Business System customers. When your company information is all in one system, it’s much easier to use that data to get the information you need and make great business decisions with it. As my father always says, “I can’t make great decisions with bad information.” With an integrated system, you can see how staff are performing and identify how one team member might be able to help another. You can also see the information you need to see about the families you’ve served and what your website is doing/not doing to make those incredible business decisions.
#6. Work on your business or take some ‘you time’, with the hours saved.
Obviously the biggest reason funeral directors world-wide are moving to a single-data-entry, completely integrated solution is to save time and work more efficiently. While some may use this time to take a well-deserved break, others may use this new-found time to work on their marketing strategy, better their online presence or start that funeral blog they’ve been thinking about for so long. When you have more time to work on your business, not in your business, you’ll quickly see a difference in your bottom line and your future.
So, What if you could do all of this from any device, anywhere, anytime?
At FrontRunner, we are so proud to have the only truly integrated, completely web-based solution. We started building this more than 20 years ago by a 30+ year licensed funeral director who wasted hours like most funeral directors every day, arranging with families. He said enough was enough and set out to build exactly what we have built today – a completely integrated, single data entry system for funeral businesses. What does that mean exactly? Well, it means that your website, management, arrangement, accounting, and really anything you ever need to do in your business, is run by one piece of web-based software that eliminates the need and cost of running multiple programs, AND it runs on any device – including a Mac, a smartphone or tablet. It’s pretty slick. Learn more about our Funeral Home Software Solution!
Web-Based vs. Cloud Based vs. PC-Based Software.
One of the main questions I get today is: What is the difference between web-based and cloud based? Most cloud-based solutions in the funeral industry require your data to be stored on a laptop or server somewhere. So, in order for you to access your data away from your office (or wherever that server is), it has to first be turned on. You then need to retrieve your data onto the device that you are working with when you need to use it.
A web-based solution means that it lives on your providers servers and you just need a username and password to login to your system, anytime, anywhere. There is no downloading your data, it is just where your system lives. This also means that it can work on any device. So, if something ever needs to be restored, it is done in seconds. Today, you need to be web-based. FrontRunner’s completely integrated solution was built web-based more than 20 years ago and continues to be the only web-based total system available today for funeral homes.
A PC-based solution (one that sits on one computer) could be wiped out with a virus, fire, or if a laptop was stolen, and everything would just be gone. You just don’t want that.
Tell us Your Story!
Any brave soldiers out there willing to share lessons learned from this post? Have you identified how much time is wasted in your business? How you cannot track the numbers you need to track or staff? What about how much money you are wasting because of the lack of integration? Share your comments below: