Many of us are now entering the fourth month of lockdowns, quarantines and physical distancing. During this time a lot of things have changed. Socializing, shopping, even playing a round of golf is a little bit different right. Hopefully these changes are only temporary and soon we can get back to way things used to be. But, not everything will be the same. Look at any other major world event, there’s always a ripple effect that changes how we live our lives.
Today is no different. As people have been asked to stay home and limit travel, they’ve gone online. In May alone, traffic to the top 57 U.S. marketplaces was up 17% compared to last year. In the first quarter of 2020, Amazon reported over 75 billion dollars in revenue. Likewise, Facebook is experiencing record usage with a surge unseen before. It makes sense though, if you have people locked indoors they’re going to go online to connect.
For consumers, it’s all about convenience. How can you make their life easier?
Earlier this year, The Foresight Companies released a survey looking at how the pandemic has really impacted consumers attitudes and preferences. Click here if you would like to read the survey results.
The survey found that for an industry that has been historically unchanged, there’s three key areas in which consumers have new expectations.
During the pandemic, a lot of people have attended their first live-streamed service instead of being there in person. For some families, it’s been something novel and convenient. We’ve heard from quite a few clients who said the family was amazed and humbled to see hundreds of people tuning in to watch the service online.
Other families feel different and have postponed services until a date they can all be together.
In either case, having live-streaming as an option is something you should consider keeping permanently. The Foresight survey found that 40% of consumers expect live-streaming to be permanently available. Now whether you wish to charge for this will service add-on will be up to you. But… only 21% of respondents said they’d be willing to pay for it – so keep that in mind.
Do you currently offer pricing on your website? Some firms do, some firms don’t. Everyone is different. But, if you don’t currently have it online, you might start losing business.
Your website is important. Think about when you want to buy something, you usually start by looking online. Even if you plan to go into a store to buy the item, you likely want to compare costs and make sure the store has what you need to get. 88% of people research a product online before making a purchase.
So, that means people are coming to your site to do exactly that, research. If you don’t have pricing online, you’re leaving it up to the person to call you or email to find out. That’s not convenient for them. Remember, people want convenience.
In the Foresight survey, they found that 52% of consumers said they will ONLY do business with companies that offer online pricing.
So, if you choose not to list this you may be missing out. It’s understandable why you might not want to list it. If you’re in a competitive area, it just makes it easier for the other guys to undercut you. But, the fact is if someone is serious about getting the best price available, they’re going to call around and see what everyone is charging anyways.
By putting your pricing online you’re not just being convenient, you’re being transparent. As a consumer, that’s very positive and builds a lot of trust. Think about it for a second, if you go to two websites and see one that has the pricing and all the details for you to see, you’re likely going to reach out to them instead of the other website that says call us for pricing and details.
Perhaps two of the most intriguing findings in the Foresight survey were how attitudes have changed towards arrangements and preplanning. Historically, the vast majority of arrangements typically take place in-person. The survey found that 46% of consumers say they like completing arrangements virtually.
There are many ways you can do this. It could be as simple as you just setup a video call on Zoom or Skype and do the arrangement that way.
Another solution is using a tool we offer called Arrangement Aide. It makes funeral arrangements easy by letting you manage records, help families complete paperwork, and work from anywhere on any device. You can also give families a venue with which to work together, regardless of physical location — so that everyone can have their say and make a contribution to the process.
It’s not just at-need families working online, those interested in preplanning are too. In fact, the survey found that 73% of consumers say it’s important to preplan your arrangements which is up from 58%.
Our Quote Builder tool is a great solution for this. Living within your website, Quote Builder lets families easily select service packages and products to build a quote. The tool is user-friendly with a simple workflow logic to walk the user through each step of building a quote. They can compare packages, browse products, and plan a service that meet’s their budget. We can even make it fit to your brand and customize the tool’s colors, style, and design. Once a quote is complete, you can easily change it into an arrangement with many of the details needed already inputted.
As you can see from the stats shared in the survey, we’re in an age of convenience. Families expect it now. If the information and tools they need are easily accessible on your website, they’ll go elsewhere.
If you want to learn more about the tools mentioned in this blog (or any of our other new tools) click here to book a demo.
We also have a new RSVP tool for managing service attendance as areas reopen. It’s a convenient way to keep your facility safe and let guests reserve a seat for a service.
If you want to make things really convenient, check out EasyID. This new tool lets you complete body identifications remotely. Simply take a picture of the deceased (from the shoulders up) and send it to the family to verify through a private and secure portal. This saves the family a trip to your facilities and lets them complete this important task from the comfort and privacy of their home.
So, want to get started offering these tools to your families?
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.