That’s why we’re talking to Funeral Director Tom Sproles of Sproles Family Funeral Home about what quality customer care looks like to him. Tom is always going out of his way to provide exemplary care to his families. Keep reading to find out what true hospitality means to him!
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What Quality Care Looks Like
Tom has noticed the growing prevalence of customer service in business. Countless books are written about it, there are workshops centered around it, and funeral directors are awarded for quality care. However, he has also noticed many funeral homes in America have been offering the same services for decades.
“Customer service is what we do FOR the families and guests we are honored to serve. So, every single thing we do from how the first phone call is received to the last ‘thank you for allowing us to serve your family’ should be constantly examined and improved upon.
A very simple way to review your service level is to ask yourself in everything you offer: What are the customer families and guests seeing, hearing, smelling, and touching? And yes, even what are they tasting?
Are you baking cookies in your lounge? Do you have breath mints and cough drops available for people? Have you considered how large or small the mints are in your mouth? Is it easy to talk with the mints in your mouth? These may seem like small things, but they are important. Do you have mouth rinse in your restrooms? Hairspray or other amenities people may need to freshen up? Do you have bottles of water, mints, etc. on a serving tray in the chapel for family members?
While customer service is what we do FOR the families we serve, hospitality is how we make people FEEL! That is where our primary focus should be. We can have greeters opening the doors of the funeral home who are dressed in special uniforms complete with white gloves and hats on their heads, but if they are not warm and welcoming, it makes people feel uptight and anxious. The often repeated but unparalleled quote by Maya Angelou communicates it best ‘People will forget what you say, they will forget what you do, but people will never forget how you make them feel.’”
Simple Things Funeral Directors Can Do
Some simple things Tom suggests are smiling, using people’s names, and saying words like “welcome.” Doing whatever you can to create a warm first impression will make families feel at ease in your care.
When doing a removal at a home, Tom will leave things looking nice. He will make the bed, place a rose or sachet of lavender on the pillow, and leave soft music playing. He knows how hard it is to walk in that room after a loved one dies, so he makes the experience as comfortable as possible.
If the deceased was religious, he will ask a clergy member where they used to sit at church. Then he will place a reserved sign on the seat with flowers and a sympathy card. He also will provide blankets for graveside services in cooler months.
How Families React to Tom’s Services
“The families we serve continually express heartfelt appreciation for all we do and recommend us highly to others. We built a funeral home from scratch and our service and hospitality have enabled us to become a viable and successful funeral home. We are honored to serve.”