When someone close to you passes away, it may be your job to take care of their final arrangements.

Maybe you call up the funeral home that your loved one asked you to use and you’re not only greeted by a recorded message, but also there is no way to leave a message. What are the bereaved to do when facing this kind of customer service while also dealing with the early stages of grief?

This is exactly why professional funeral home answering services have special protocols in place for this industry. These calls are important, and they matter greatly.

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Whether the funeral home answering is done by an answering service or by your in-house staff, there have to be some basic rules in play in order to keep the customer experience pleasant and consistent.

Here are three protocols that definitely need to be in play at all times:

  • Answer every call. There’s nothing more devastating or numbing than having lost someone close to you, so when the funeral home won’t pick up the phone, a caller in this position may find themselves feeling quite vulnerable and lost.On the other hand, if you have someone available to answer every call, no matter how busy it gets, that caller will instead feel like they’re being helped and protected during a difficult time in their lives and recommend you to others.
  • Take messages carefully. It’s no fun to get the wrong pizza, but imagine if the wrong message was about someone’s recently deceased family member. The stakes are quite a lot higher in the funeral industry.You never know when that one wrong message might result in panic, anxiety or the wrong person being named in the local obituaries. When taking a funeral home telephone message, always make sure to repeat and spell out any names and repeat any numbers back to the caller. Accuracy is vital.
  • Be available around the clock. The inevitability of death affects all of us, and when it comes, it may be outside of your business hours. Don’t leave families hanging, instead have a staff member who can be on call or hire a professional answering service to handle your after hours calling.With an answering service, you can define what constitutes an emergency and ultimately, which calls get pushed through to a person immediately. Other callers can be reassured by these professional operators, asked a few basic questions and the messages forwarded to you via email or text. This makes it easy to triage calls so you reach the person who needs you most first.

As a funeral home, you’re often the first point of contact for people who are currently contemplating their mortality, as well as those with loved ones who have died. This means you have a responsibility to handle your clients gently. Treat those callers like you’d want them to treat you and you should be gold. If your current team can’t handle the load, an answering service is an affordable solution that can help you save face in the community.