Some funeral directors have been texting their families for years but, true to the normal pace of adopting anything new, many funeral home owners say texting is too impersonal, or their families wouldn’t want that, etc.
To illustrate my point, let me share this with you.
A few years ago, I was at a convention in Ohio, and I heard a presentation on social media and why funeral homes should be using it to build relationships with their families. The big takeaway was how funeral home owners regularly use products, as consumers, but then saying their families wouldn’t want or use the same thing. One example showed a room full of hands that when up when asked how many were on Facebook every day but shy away from using it for their funeral home. Another example is advertising in the yellow pages when they, themselves, no longer pick it up. In other words, funeral homes are living one way, as a consumer, but marketing to their families, also consumers, in a completely different way.
And now the same is true with the idea of texting. I would bet that nearly every funeral director uses text messages daily in their own lives and enjoy the convenience, yet many shy away from texting their families.
The truth is your families want you to text them. Consumers are interacting with businesses of all kinds every day, and they love it. We all know that young people don’t want to talk to anyone, in person or on the phone, but the number of people from all generations that prefer texting is snowballing.
Here are three ways to use texting while serving families.
Use texting for the “quick questions.”
I’ve heard it said that when you buy a home, it takes over one hundred calls to close the deal, with the majority answering questions. I know sometimes funeral directors feel the same way. How many little things come up where you have to call the family? How many times do you have to leave a message or wait for an answer, for even a simple thing? Text messages are perfect for the quick question because they get read and you can get answers almost immediately. Text messages don’t get lost or miscommunicated, and no other medium even comes close to being read as much as a text. When’s the last time you didn’t read a text?
Give the family an easy way to send you information.
There are usually things a family needs to provide the funeral home and that would typically be handled by email or in person, but would be much more convenient to send by text. Consider how easy it would be for a family to text you a photo of their loved one to show how their hair looked, or for the obituary, etc.
Keep the family informed with group texting.
Imagine you’re sitting at the arrangement table and you explain that over the next few days there will be a lot of information you need or questions they may have as you prepare to honor their loved one. Now imagine asking them if it would be helpful to them (don’t say it would help you) to set up a group text so that everyone can be involved and informed during the course of the funeral. My guess is there would be more families that would like that than not.
Here are a few ideas of how a group text can benefit the family and funeral home.
• A few hours after the arrangement send a text to the group thanking them for choosing your funeral home and that you and your staff are already working hard to prepare a wonderful service.
• The morning of the funeral you send the group a text reminding them to arrive a few minutes early, and Bob would be waiting for them at the front entrance.
• Notify everyone at one time of any last-minute changes that might come up before the start of the service.
People would rather text, it’s a foregone conclusion. To show empathy, you need to communicate with families in a way that works best for them. For many, that is texting. FBA
Ellery Bowker is the Founder and CEO of Aftercare.com. Aftercare.com helps funeral homes and cemeteries build loyalty with an automated follow up program. Ellery can be reached by phone at (800) 721-7097 or reach by email [email protected]