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5 Ways Digital Transformation Is Revolutionizing the Deathcare Industry
From the customer experience to long-term sustainability, here are five ways cemetery management software is transforming the deathcare industry.
| Read time: 4 mins
In an era marked by rapid technology adoption, the deathcare industry is also undergoing a significant transformation. Digital technologies are revolutionizing the way cemeteries, crematories and funeral homes operate to enhance the experience for families and ensure long-term growth and sustainability.
Having recently learned the lessons of remaining agile in the face of exceptional circumstances, increasing numbers of deathcare providers are realizing that digital transformation is no longer a nice-have, but a must-have.
The Family Experience (Customer Service)
What we might consider the ‘traditional’ model of funeral, burial or cremation planning has often involved multiple in-person meetings and lengthy paperwork or phone calls, with the potential to add time and stress at any already difficult time. However, digital transformation is providing the opportunity to streamline those processes, enhancing levels of service provided to families.
For example, with highly accurate digital maps, linked to digital records, updated in real time, cemetery staff can quickly and easily answer queries with regards to plot availability. Similarly, sales counselors can show in person, exactly where plots are located without having to walk cemetery grounds.
With 'walk-to-grave apps' linked to information contained within public search portals, families can easily view and find directions to their loved ones’ resting place with related genealogical information - all at the click of a button.
Long-Term Growth and Sustainability (Data-Driven Decision Making)
One of the most significant positive impacts of digital transformation on the deathcare industry is in providing the ability to make decisions more 'data-driven'. Cemetery and crematory operators can now harness data analytics to gain insights into occupancy rates, industry and sales trends, and customer preferences. This information is invaluable for making informed decisions about long-term growth and sustainability.
For example, by collecting data on plot usage patterns over a set time period, operators can now more accurately predict the rate at which they are running down their inventory. In turn, by analyzing this data, cemetery managers can identify trends, plan for future expansion strategically. and make the most of the space available. This data-driven approach ensures that resources are allocated efficiently, contributing to long-term sustainability in a climate where space continues to be an important challenge.
Agility of Service Provision (Lessons from COVID-19)
The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly served as a catalyst for change in many industries, including the deathcare sector. Deathcare providers adapted rapidly to changing circumstances, highlighting the need for systems and processes that would allow for agility in service provision. Digital technologies played a crucial role in enabling this pivot.
For example, during the height of the pandemic, restrictions on gatherings made traditional funerals challenging. Digital transformation allowed some providers to offer virtual funeral services, where friends and family could attend remotely - an adaptation demonstrating the industry's resilience and its capacity to meet the evolving needs of grieving families.
Those lessons are heralding a sea change of sorts - those who arguably who encountered the least disruption to services - or to put another way, adapted most successfully - were those who had digital cloud-based systems in place that allowed for remote working and crucially, remote access to data and information. Those lessons are now being learned by others and are beginning to be adopted as normal ‘good business practice’.
Digital transformation has ushered in an era of increased connectivity within the deathcare industry.
Through digital platforms, staff can connect seamlessly with other stakeholders such as funeral directors or memorial masons, as well as families, and their own teams across multiple locations - receiving receiving real-time updates and immediate support when needed.
This connectivity fosters trust and transparency in the service provider-customer relationship.
For example, the PlotBox Funeral Director Portal provides funeral directors with 24/7 online access to cemetery or crematorium calendars to provisionally book slots - improving communication between providers, saving time for cemetery staff, reducing Monday morning backlogs, but most importantly, providing answers for the family as soon as they need them.
Similarly, the PlotBox Memorial Mason Portal enables cemeteries to manage stonemason requests for work permits online. By being able to view, approve, track and sign off in one streamlined process, they can save time, improve communication and ensure compliance.
Attracting New Talent
Digital technologies are not only changing how services are delivered, but are also providing opportunities to attract the best talent. The employment landscape is changing as millennials and Gen Z enter the workforce - it's no longer just about what they can offer you - but what you can offer them.
This influx of fresh talent is reshaping the industry from within.
Those who are increasingly drawn to tech-savvy workplaces that leverage innovative solutions to enhance operations will be looking to your current systems and processes as they, in effect, create their own shortlist of employers that meet their needs.
For example, new graduates in related fields may be seeking positions at cemeteries that have adopted digital tools and technologies. They are excited to work in environments that embrace technology to provide better service to families and fulfill their own ambitions.
This new generation of talent brings a different perspective and a willingness to explore innovative solutions.
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