I speak to businesses of all types every day and have built up a clear picture of most of their niche needs. Funeral directors are no exception.
This is a business that people do not think about until they are planning their funeral or if someone close to them dies.
That person may be a spouse or close family member or someone living in a residential care or nursing home. Whenever death occurs, the deceased needs to be removed to be prepared for a funeral at a later date.
Calls day and night
Once a medical certificate confirming the cause of death has been completed, most people want the deceased to be removed as soon as possible, which means funeral directors must be prepared for calls at all hours of the day and night.
A conversation with a care home owner revealed they regularly make calls to funeral directors in the middle of the night and if their call isn’t picked up, they call the next one on their list until they get an answer.
In an ideal world, funeral directors would have someone available to answer calls 24/7 but receptionists will have other administration tasks to deal with and are unlikely to take calls during the night.
Similarly, staff may already be on a call-out or may even be on the phone already. Judging by the care home owner’s comments, any missed call could result in lost business. And with the cost of a funeral averaging £4,000, the value of the lost business is significant.
Funeral directors need a telephone system that is robust enough to never let them down and flexible enough to accommodate all hours of the day and the mobile nature of their work.
I have visited many funeral directors who have a telephone system but have not updated it for years. Sure, it may work now but that doesn’t mean it is not at risk of failing or isn’t costing them the earth to support.
Any telephone system of five years or older is considered ripe for an upgrade as it will no longer be supported by the manufacturer. In the meantime, these systems are lacking modern-day functionality that makes everyday business tasks so much easier.
swcomms is advising funeral directors to upgrade to cloud-hosted telephony solutions, which do not incur capex investment and can cost less per month than existing line rentals and support costs. They are always up-to-date due to automatic cloud-level upgrades and are highly resilient with built-in business continuity options.
In terms of features, these systems easily link with other branches while offering automated attendant and call queuing functionality to ensure all calls are answered professionally before being routed to the most appropriate member of staff, including extensions or mobile phones identified for night duty.
In a world where an email is often considered an adequate form of communication, funeral directors continue to buck the trend. Sympathetic conversations on the phone are key to this industry and therefore need the support of a professional communications solution.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need any further advice.
*The Money Advice Service