When there’s a death, families may be left with many questions and not enough answers.

One of the last places they expect to encounter a cold, impersonal voicemail box is their funeral home’s telephone system. Instead of adding any more stress and confusion to a grieving family’s difficult time, you should have someone available to answer these calls with compassion any time of the day or night. Having full time telephone staff is costly, for certain, but a telephone answering service can fill the gap, providing both a caring voice for the bereaved and an inexpensive service for funeral homes.

How Answering Services Help

An answering service can do much more than simply answer the phone.

What may be a simple hello to you could be a lighthouse in an otherwise terrifying sea of overwhelming emotion to a person who has just lost someone close to them. A simple hello can say so much.

But “hello” isn’t the only service answering services provide, they can also:

Handle dispatch services. When your funeral home is also responsible for collecting the deceased, your facility may be the first point of contact if a family member passes in their home. Instead of forcing the family to wait with uncertainty for a dispatcher, an answering service can handle that job directly and alert someone on your staff to head to their location immediately.

Take after-hours calls. Answering services aren’t just 9-to-5, they’re meant to also be the after-hours extension of your business. Having an answering service means that you know that families will be handled with the utmost respect and care even when you can’t answer the phone. You’ll quickly receive messages from any callers who need further personal attention via SMS, email or fax.

Schedule appointments. There’s never such a thing as too much preparation when it comes to a funeral service. When someone is considering pre-planning, it’s a good idea to set an appointment, which is an ideal job for an answering service. Your answering service can interface with the calendar system you’re already using so that you’re never accidentally double-booked.

Manage local disasters. Unfortunately, deaths don’t stop for natural disasters, but you can’t guarantee your telephone will stay connected. Having an answering service and a disaster recovery plan in place gives you the power to control how you respond to these uncontrollable situations. Instead of sending your families into panic, your answering service will reassure them that everything is fine and give them the information they’re seeking while you work to get communications reestablished.

As a funeral director, the thought of hiring an answering service might have never crossed your mind, but it’s a small kindness you can do for the families under your care.

The endless ringing of a phone can sound like the echo of a thousand lonesome souls when a loss is fresh. Instead of torturing the bereaved with calls that lack a warm human touch, the simple act of hiring an answering service can create a loyalty that will last for generations.