There's a lot of talk about going digital and embracing technology, but why? Cemeteries have operated with existing processes for decades, so why the rush now?
Digitally transforming your cemetery processes offers:
- Endless opportunities to increase staff and management efficiency
- Increasing efficiency paves the way to increasing profits
- Increasing profits paves the way to...well, you get the point!
We understand that moving from using books and ledgers to software can seem like a daunting task, but the benefits of going digital make the effort well worthwhile!
Plus, if you’re worried about how to take this on, our suggestion is tackle one issue at a time, don’t try and change everything at once, and do it at a pace your organization can manage - the most important thing is that the journey is started!
So what are the 5 big wins of going digital for cemetery operators?
#1 Record Protection
From fire, floods or any other natural disaster…record protection is a vital part of running a cemetery.
If you’re responsible for cemetery records we understand a big worry is protecting those records and preserving the history of the cemetery for future generations.
In April 2016 a cemetery in New Jersey found themselves amidst a crisis, when a suspicious fire destroyed the office building, along with thousands of paper burial records and locations. 1
40 years’ worth of records gone overnight, a frightening predicament for any cemetery or crematory manager.
Unfortunately, these essential records and maps weren't backed up and with the fire, everything was lost.
Of course, fire is still a risk.
But the risk to records is significantly reduced when storing data on a software system that's backed-up by your software provider in alternative, safe and protected locations.
#2 Minimize Risk of Error
If you’re still depending on your team colouring in a paper map to show whether plots are available or on hold, you’re taking a huge risk.
We’re all human and as such we all make mistakes, however simple human error could lead to wrongful burials or selling a plot twice and you definitely don't want that!
In Fresno, California in 2016 a couple had lost a young baby and they purchased the plot right next to the child for future use and changed this in their system.
However the employee who sold the plot originally forgot to colour in the map, and it had actually already been sold.
Facing the unimaginable was naturally heartbreaking for the family, and albeit inadvertently, the cemetery contributed to their pain by allowing their processes to be open to simple, but critical, error.
Without digitally updatable records and maps, anyone's at risk of making similar errors.
Digitally managing all your data all in one place, means you’ll only need to enter data once, and to only one source.
As an example of the additional safeguards digital systems can have, built in audit trails can give managers and staff visibility amendments to records - things like when they were made, and by who, making any corrections needed easier to identify and make.
#3 More Time For The Families You Serve
When a family walks into your office how long do your Family Service Counselors spend doing detective work, searching lot cards, map books, spreadsheets and filing cabinets?
Or writing the same details over and over again in the one meeting?
Higher service levels can be provided for your families if more time could be spent fully engaged with them, as opposed to being in the back office or the photocopy room?
If you digitally transform your cemetery, all of your data would be accessible in one place at the click of a button giving you more time to spend with the families you serve.
#4 Increase Revenue
Did you know genealogy is the 2nd most popular online hobby?
Genealogists and members of the public are interested in your cemetery records and this interest can turn into revenue via lead generation and other online e-commerce opportunities.
As cemeterians you automatically have high quality and in demand content available at your fingertips which could be used to attract visitors to your site.
So why not share this information online?
Think about it this way, if you have your deceased records and maps online for searching, someone might be interested in an available plot nearby a deceased relative.
However, you’ll have difficulty confidently sharing this information if all your records are hid in a database or filing cabinet!
#5 Quick Access To Available Inventory
Access to inventory in real-time is often reported to us as an issue and a potential risk.
If staff can't see the status of a plot in real-time, this can result in mistakes or added time spent to ensure there’s a checking process.
With PlotBox, at the tap of a button you can view the location and status of all of your inventory, pinned to a high resolution drone image which can also help with the sales process.
Discover How PlotBox Can Help Your Cemetery!