Technology is often feared in our profession because it is unfamiliar territory. As a result, it is not implemented despite the absolutely incredible things it can for your business. It can provide newfound conveniences and services for your community to drive long-term loyalty. It can streamline your business with a single point of data entry for every call, eliminating hours of tedious work. It can give you the portability to work wherever your families need you to be. And, it can give you new ways to attract more families to your firm.
Unfortunately, it can also cost your company everything if not taken seriously. There are companies out there trying to access your valuable data, obituaries, visitor traffic, and online revenues. Putting your technology and data in the hands of the wrong company or simply
avoiding technology altogether can have serious repercussions.
As the technological demands on funeral professionals continue to evolve, FrontRunner Professional is creating an opportunity to jump ahead of the curve. Clients will have the opportunity to strategically position themselves to conquer new challenges and meet their communities’ expectations.
FrontRunner has acquired a new 6,500 square foot, $1.6-million dollar facility that will house the new Technology and Training Center. The center represents Frontrunner’s ongoing commitment to set a higher standard, and provides all the tools and resources to help clients truly excel in today’s market.
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.
Once 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 funeral home’s online presence.
A 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.
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.
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.
What 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.”
Since the release of last week’s blog post Why Would Anyone Commit Obituary Piracy?, there has been an overwhelming response from FrontRunner clients who 1. had no idea that this was actually happening and 2. didn’t think they could do anything to prevent obituaries from falling in the hands of third party marketers that are out to profit off the copyrighted notices.
Obituary theft occurs when a company (third party marketer, rival funeral home, newspaper) copies an obituary off of your funeral home website and places it on their website. This practice not only takes revenue away from your funeral firm, it undermines your credibility with the families you serve in your community. Every obituary posted within the Book of Memories includes a link to a the ObitSafe.com disclaimer. It states the following:
The business models of these companies (who shall remain nameless; I’ll simply call them third-party marketers) are simple. They strive to make easy money off of unsuspecting families using an unethical practice that is more common than most people think.
I’m sad to report that most funeral homes aren’t even aware this is happening. What you don’t know can hurt you – badly. Obituary piracy can not only take revenue out of your funeral firm, but it can also undermine your credibility with the families you serve in your community.