Advancements in technology over the years has rapidly changed customer experience as consumers now have endless buying opportunities, whether that be purchasing goods online, renewing life insurance via an app or making funeral arrangements via video call. All of these processes can be done efficiently without face-to-face interaction, but it’s so important to get the correct balance between digital experience and providing a personal touch, especially within the death care sector.
Here’s some ideas to help you think about how to add a personal touch to customer experience in your cemetery or crematory:
#1 Involve All Staff in Customer Experience
It’s very important to involve all team members in building customer relationships. When a family walks into your cemetery, quite often the first person they will interact with will be a member of your grounds crew, rather than office staff and this is an opportunity in itself to build a relationship. This could be as simple as helping an elderly person carry flowers, having a chat or walking them to the cemetery office if they ask where it is, instead of just pointing them to it. This rapport building means that when people reach the cemetery office, they already have a feel for how they will be treated by the office staff, and know they can trust the people within it. They’ll also be more likely to recommend you to their friends and family if they’ve had a good experience.
#2 Being Part of The Community
It’s important to remember that cemeteries are not only a place for the dead, they’re places which can bring the living together. Many cemeteries have successfully attracted more visitors by hosting a range of different events such as cemetery picnics, open-air theatres, movie nights, remembrance ceremonies and yoga classes. The more visitors you have, the more opportunity you have to educate them on what the cemetery has to offer as well as influence their consideration for end of life planning.
#3 Use Customer Data To Practice A Human Centered Approach
As cemeterians, you will already have some information about your families, so it’s a great opportunity to assess this data and really learn who your customers are. This way, you’ll be able to group customers based on their profiles and create tailored messaging for them based on this.
Are you currently using a searchable database to store contact information? If yes, then great! If not, you should consider streamlining your customer data by using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System. This will help you adjust what messaging you're sending to families depending on their religion, location, actions they’ve taken on your website, events and holidays. If you offer a live streaming service, you could send a tailored message via email to families on days of religious celebration, prayer and remembrance so they can virtually join services.
#4 Grow Customer Satisfaction Through Personal Touches
Perhaps a work order has been completed involving cleaning a headstone, why not add a personal touch of emailing a picture of the cleaned headstone to the family? A small gesture which would be received with thanks by a family. Similarly, If you’re aware that a deceased person's family lives a large distance from home, perhaps think about sending a personalised email reminder with a link to the grave on their loved ones Birthday or Anniversary so they can make arrangements for someone to visit or place flowers on their grave.
#5 Invest in Employee Satisfaction
Your employees are one of the most important assets to your organisation, so their emotions and experiences matter just as much as your customers. Providing professional development, mentorship and listening to their feedback creates a feeling of togetherness and unites your organisation.
Think about your response to COVID-19, were your team able to work remotely? The benefits of offering this flexibility to staff allows them to have a better work life balance. Added to this, are you providing support for employees' Mental Health and wellbeing, considering all the changes they have made thus far? Encouraging them to maintain contact with family, friends and work colleagues, running virtual social activities and openly discussing what’s working and what isn’t can ensure you support each other through any challenges.
When employees have a high level of job satisfaction, their enthusiasm for your organisation will be felt by the customers, therefore creating a better experience all round and harnessing a culture from which everyone can grow from.
If you enjoyed this blog post, you may be interested in taking a look at The 7 Best CRM Features For Cemeteries