It’s shouldn’t come as a surprise that funeral traditions are changing.
Cremation is quickly overtaking burials. New technology has changed memorial options. Families today are breaking away from cookie-cutter funerals and want services that celebrate the unique life story of their loved ones.
Traditions are changing. But how can your funeral home adapt? It’s simple — just ask the families you serve.
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Incorporating client families’ feedback
Funeral homes that have been in business for generations tend to fall into the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality. As we’ve mentioned before, that line of thinking can lead to business stagnation and declining revenue.
Incorporating your client families’ feedback can:
- Help you prepare for changing trends.
- Give you a better understanding of the community’s needs.
- Allow for more meaningful services to families.
- Make your funeral home more competitive.
- Position your funeral home for future success.
In other words, it’s a smart business strategy.
Key data to focus on
To get started, there are some basic demographics and statistics that your funeral home should focus on. Shifts in each could cause changes in the kinds of services your funeral home will provide. Here are a few:
- Age distribution
- Other factors like gender, marital status, and education
These are all important focus points. Population data can tell you if your community has grown or declined over the years; religion and ethnicity changes can help your funeral home adapt to shifting cultural and religious traditions; and factors like income can help your funeral home determine pricing options for services. To read more on how to utilize data to shape your funeral home, check out this blog post.
Tips for building a survey
Surveys are key for finding out what your families want. But you have to be careful. Ineffective surveys can be a waste of both your time and the time of the families you survey. In order to get the most out of a survey, here are a few tips:
- The input from families you’ve served in the past is going to be extremely valuable, but don’t just target them. For other families in the area, the survey will have them consider what they want from a funeral home — and give you input on how to attract their business.
- Word choice is very important. You want your survey to be clearly worded to avoid any confusion. But you’ll also want to make sure the questions aren’t accidently interpreted in ways that families might find off-putting or insensitive.
- Only ask questions that will give you info you want. It will save both you and your families time, and the answers you get back will be helpful in how you approach your business strategy. For example, if you are looking to perfect your aftercare program, then your questions should just be about that.
- Word your survey so each question is only asking one thing at a time. This will keep answers direct and clear.
- Ask open-ended questions. It’s a great way to get new ideas and input from families. The outside-the-box responses can give you new ways to think about things.
- Don’t forget to send a personal note to all the families who took the time to respond. Let them know that their input is valued and will help you better serve the community.
Sample questions to ask
What should you ask your families? It boils down to what you want to know from them. If it’s an overall look at how you can offer new services to stay proactive (and competitive) here are some sample question ideas:
Question 1. What funeral homes can you name in (town’s name)?
This question can determine your funeral home’s visibility within the community. If your name isn’t high on the list, it’s time to bump up the marketing efforts. This also will tell you what competition you should pay the most attention to.
Question 2. If you’ve given thought to the subject, which service would you most likely choose for yourself?
This type of question can help you learn whether families are interested in burial, cremation, or even alternative options. A good follow-up question would then be to ask why.
Question 3. What memorial service or gift would you be most interested in using for a loved one? (List the services you offer.)
This question can help determine what memorial products and services family value the most, and where your funeral home should invest in.
Question 4. What service would you most like to see us offer in the future?
An open-ended question like this can help you get feedback on planning for the next couple of years.
Are you ready to start asking families what services matter to them? Don’t be daunted by the task of putting together a survey. Here are some tools to help you go about it:
- SurveyMonkey is the most popular survey tool for businesses. It has a free and paid version, and both versions come with great features for analyzing survey feedback.
- Google Forms is a free way to survey families. It’s intuitive to use and can easily collect responses from families.
- For very simple surveys and responses, Facebook offers an integrated poll option.
- If you’re used to conducting customer surveys through the mail, consider sending a postcard to direct your families to an online survey. It’s more cost-effective and can help organize response data easier.