The world of death care is changing — often in ways funeral directors and death care professionals are struggling to prepare for.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm and has brought unprecedented shifts in daily life, physical and mental health, and business practices. The funeral industry is no exception to this trend, with rolling waves of mass closures and gathering limitations, funeral homes have needed to rethink the way they support their families in this new world.
2020 has been a catalyst for change and as we look back at the last year, we can learn from how funeral professionals, and the families they serve responded to point out funeral home software trends that we could expect to see continue into 2021.
LIVESTREAMING FUNERAL AND MEMORIAL SERVICES
For a variety of reasons that extend beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, it isn't always possible to attend a loved one's remembrance event or service in person. The ability to offer live streaming is going to continue to be critical even after the world begins to recover from the pandemic. Further, simplicity, transportability, and functionality will matter.
Live Streaming hardware must be simple to use. Funeral directors go to school to be funeral directors, not videographers, and families need directors now more than ever. Simplicity allows you as a funeral director to focus more on what matters most, helping families.
Funeral and memorial services don’t only happen in one location, so equipment needs to be easily transportable. Transportable equipment offers the ability to stream from anywhere, not just a funeral chapel or some other fixed location - this includes being able to stream a graveside service with the quality and dignity that such a service deserves.
Live streaming must be functional, allowing for seamless integration into funeral home software. The resulting stream must run on the funeral home’s or provider’s website avoiding the distractions and noise of popular universal video streaming sites.
These features will be crucial to ensuring that the families you support get a simple, beautiful, and flawless live stream experience.
THE DIGITAL AGE AND THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY
Consumer habits are changing and funeral homes are looking for ways to adapt. In this digital age, more and more of our daily life is moving online, we now shop, interact, connect, and work online. Pew Research Center reports roughly eight in ten U.S. adults go online at least daily, with 28% of those reporting that they go online “almost constantly”.
As consumers’ needs trend towards online integration funeral directors will need a software capable of providing families one single point of contact for everything related to the funeral. Leveraging interactive digital showroom for end-to-end coverage of everything families could possibly need in conjunction with a funeral – from caskets to flowers, to monuments, to limousine service, to dove releases, memory photo books, and more. With automated, seamless communication between the funeral home and all these entities on behalf of the family. Eliminating the need for families to independently interface with the florist, the monument company, the cemetery, and others. This is crucial to relieving additional administrative stress for families when they lose a loved one.
Online integration also offers the opportunity to simplify business responsibilities for funeral directors. Providing family members with the ability to settle on the services they want by selecting items from a new digital showroom (that was previously the GPL). Funeral directors are able to simply click a button that automatically and immediately produces a contract that is ready for signature including all line items, agreed to discounts, taxes, etc. Further, any forms that need to be signed are all digital and can be sent to individuals for electronic signature and are stored automatically once they are completed - saving paper and time. Most importantly, this digital integration offers a second line of defense against the human calculation errors that have always been the bane of the funeral industry.
As our lives become more and more digital, so does our way of storing memories. Storing photos digitally on the cloud is a secure and protected way to ensure those memories can be cherished by family and friends forever anywhere in the world - and this shouldn’t cost your funeral home. Photo records of all condolence cards matched to floral arrangements should be included in the software at no extra charge to the funeral home.
AFTERCARE AND CONTINUED SUPPORT
Successful funeral homes understand funeral and burial services are not the end for the families they serve. Many grieving families need ongoing support afterward and a funeral home’s ability to provide aftercare solutions for families when they lose a loved one will continue to be paramount.
With the help of funeral home software, funeral directors and families can take care of all the administrative items associated with the passing of a loved one such as freezing credit, canceling online accounts, deleting or memorializing social media accounts, etc. Further, funeral directors can even help families find any unclaimed property or insurance policies they were unaware of. All of this should be white-labeled as automated services coming directly from the funeral home taking care of these things on behalf of the family.
By providing these services during such a critical time, you're showing your commitment to the well-being of your customers. This commitment can help build brand loyalty with the families you serve — and perhaps the larger community.
What are some funeral home software trends that you see on the near horizon? Share your thoughts below!