I was not born in to this profession. I didn’t have an uncle who worked funerals, one who shared stories around a table. I’m a consumer. I came from the other side of the table.
In 2010, I fought tooth and nail to be allowed into four walls, caring for those during the darkest of days. My now father-in-law sat, smoking his pipe in his office, listening to a dumb young man tell him I wouldn’t leave until he let me have a job. I left with an opportunity.
Landline phones. Fax machines. Typewriters. Notes everywhere. No computers. No tech tools to simplify or streamline processes. Constant statements of “we’ve always done it this way” began repeating in my head, as I began formulating new ideas and ways to do things different. A profession generally unchanged for hundreds of years, I’m pushing the people who have 40 years and 50 years in to look and think differently.
Having the consumer mentality has been a blessing in disguise. I began thinking of things we could do differently, outside of the traditional and, dare I say it, cookie cutter, funerals. Experiences matter. I began studying Disney, Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons. How they figuratively, and in many cases, literally, unrolled the red carpet for their guests.
Taking a hard look at first impressions and the fundamentals have assisted in our rapid growth. From acquisitions to relationships, it has been a game changer for the families who call upon us. We are focused on being easily found online, with a beautiful presence there. Calling us? Our phone etiquette is always of top priority. Walking into our home? We only have 10 seconds to assist in the opinion you form of us. The door will be opened. You will be directed with an open and welcoming hand to the chapel or location you are inquiring about. More times than not, even escorted. Our vehicles are spotless.
Our directors direct. In no way do we have a template based approach. We listen intently. We surprise families at every corner, with the placement of their loved ones’ favorite candy. The men wear the favorite color of the loved one on their ties. We are calculated and coordinated.
Most importantly, words matter. The way we speak. The things we say. How we say them.
Funeral homes across the country have overall lovely facilities. Clean. Organized. All have lovely caskets. Most loved ones appear reverently and nicely looking in the casket selected. Most these same homes, however, don’t ‘wow’. They do well, I’m certain. We are obsessively focused on experiences. People forget what you do, what you say, even. They don’t ever forget how we make them feel.
In all we do, we focus on doing each thing, even if mundane, 1% better today than yesterday.
We have implemented a Culture Code. A 142 page deck of cards, of why we are here. Our guiding light is “Delighting Families” and our team tirelessly solve for the family. All decisions made are based on these principles.