Businessman taking notes

 

Written by Lexie Graf

 

Weren’t able to attend the 2019 NFDA Convention in Chicago? Or, didn’t have time to attend all the sessions that you wanted to? That’s okay, our content specialists attended many of the sessions to learn what’s trending in the funeral profession.

 

This is part three of a four-part series about some of the most informative 2019 NFDA Convention sessions.

 

Like us on Facebook and sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on funeral news and trends!

Online Reviews: Getting Good Ones and Fixing Bad Ones

In this session, Welton Hong shared ways funeral homes can get more positive online reviews and what to do when they get negative ones.

 

How to Get More Positive Reviews

As companies change their policies, it has become harder for businesses to ask their customers for reviews. In fact, Yelp prohibits it, and if they find out your business is doing it, they will add a red banner to your profile (which makes your business look less trustworthy).

 

That’s why you’re better off only asking for Facebook and Google reviews. Welton Hong suggests asking in person or calling after the service. Or, you could send the family a thank-you email where you ask. Really, providing excellent care is the best way to get positive reviews.

 

How to Fix Negative Reviews

If you get a bad review, take a moment to process your feelings. When you respond right away, you might write something you regret. When you’re ready to respond, do so privately. This could be a private message or by phone. Make sure to be polite no matter what. You don’t want to tarnish your reputation even if you weren’t in the wrong.

 

If they don’t delete or change the review after your private message, then it is best to respond to the message publicly. Again, make sure you are polite and show that you are willing to work to make things right.

 

Of course, if the review is completely false, flag it for review.

 

Increasing Online Leads

In their presentation, John Heald and Mike Beck detailed ways funeral directors can engage with their community and covert more leads.

 

The Importance of Positive Reviews

Like the last session, this one also talked about why positive online reviews are so important. According to the speakers, 78% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation. 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses and service providers. They found that testimonials are the strongest source of leads.

 

Convert At-Need to Preneed

When a family uses your firm for their at-need funeral services, you should be a resource for them in their time of need. This way they know you’re someone they can trust.

 

Then, after their service, stay in touch with them. Continue to be someone they can count on for their grief journey. Once you have an established relationship, you can begin to introduce your preneed services to them.

 

Mortuary Mission: Dover’s Silent History

Lt. Col. Brooks A. Wilkerson and Oral A. Cronin gave an overview of what goes on at the Dover Air Force Base, home to the mortuary mission.

 

Getting to Know the Facility

Dover Air Force Base is where the Air Force Mortuary Operations unit is. Here, the bodies of the fallen are treated with the utmost respect. The Mortuary Affairs Division takes care of:

  • Embalming
  • Dress and restoration
  • Cremations
  • Mass fatalities
  • Search and recovery

Oftentimes, they prepare things before the deceased’s body is sent to the funeral home. They also are responsible for contacting the family after identifying the body. They have thorough checks and balances to make sure everything goes perfectly, ensuring the fallen is treated with the respect they deserve.

 

How They Cope

Like funeral directors, the team at this facility must face a lot of tough emotions associated with loss. That’s why they value self-care so much. They hold resilience classes for their staff. They also have pool tables and foosball to help the staff decompress and relax after a tough job.