A man sitting on a windowsill looking out the window

 

Written by Samantha Watson

 

When it comes to making changes, human beings are inherently bad at it.

 

We don’t cut out bad habits like eating junk food, smoking, or watching too much TV, even though we know we should. We don’t try new things, because we’re scared of what the outcome might be, even if the outcome might be a good one.

 

It’s human nature, and it’s based on fear of the unknown or unwillingness to be uncomfortable, even if it’s only temporary. Unfortunately, this often is reflected in how we run our businesses.

 

When it comes to running our businesses, we are afraid of trying something new because of the very same fear we experience when it comes to change in our personal lives. What if that investment doesn’t pay off? What if we lose money? What will our customers think?

 

But it’s that last question that should actually be encouraging us to make changes in the first place. What will our customers think?

 

The decisions that we make about changes to our business shouldn’t be determined by us, it should be determined by our customers. When they want change, it’s up to us to make those changes to keep them happy for years to come and continue their business.

 

So what do customers want these days, and how does that translate to the funeral profession? We looked at the Ericsson Consumer Insight Summary Report from December 2015 to find out.

 

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The Internet

Virtually all consumer trends today involve the internet since so many aspects of our lives are doing the same. We watch movies and TV online, we socialize online, we study online, we listen to music online, and we shop online.

Because of this, it’s important that funeral homes follow suit. They should ensure they have an updated website with the information families need about services, prices, contact information, and more. We do everything online these days — even mourn.

 

Sharing

Consumers share everything now. Due to huge growth in social networking and building communities online, we are more connected than ever.

 

It’s because of this that companies like Uber and AirBnB have popped up everywhere, and also why nearly everything is subject to online reviews. Another major development of this sharing environment is crowdfunding campaigns like on GoFundMe and venture capital campaigns like on Kickstarter.

 

Funeral homes can capitalize on this by giving families the option to share experiences and stories with the world. They can do so by making it easy for families to share memories and photos of their deceased loved ones online, offering crowdfunding capabilities for their families, and making it easy for them to leave reviews and testimonials about their experience.

 

Streaming and Video

Last year, nearly 20% of 16- to 19-year-olds watched more than three hours of YouTube each day and nearly 46% spent an hour or more on YouTube. This upcoming generation was born to a world of Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, and other forms of streaming and video.

 

Because of this, funeral homes must look to the value of high-quality Tribute Videos that families can watch online. And while it’s not likely to replace having a service in person, offering webcasting services can make attendance possible even for those who are hundreds of miles away or homebound due to age or disability.

 

Other Trends

The report mentions a lot of other trends on the horizon, such as the ability to use social media for emergency situations, the future of health tech like that found in FitBit becoming internal, the dangers of every type of technology being hacked, the rise of artificial intelligence and virtual reality, and much more.

 

For funeral homes, though, the most important trends are those mentioned above:

  • The Internet
  • Sharing
  • Streaming and Video

Based on this research, it’s easy to see that it’s become increasingly more important for funeral homes to embrace technology. Families now expect their lives to become more incorporated with technology, and their experience with funeral homes will be no different.