How to Transition to a Funeral Home Answering Service

Setting Up And Customizing Your Answering Service Account

You've made the deal, signed the agreement and have now hired an answering service. Now what? You may have how-to-transition-to-a-funeral-home-answering-service-director-on-callasked yourself this question in the past when thinking about hiring an answering service for your Funeral Home. How is this service going to seamlessly represent me if they don't know anything about my profession?

Answer: Your answering account with Director On Call can be customized to suit your every need! 

Here's how it works at Director On Call:

Step #1 - Receive Your Call Forwarding Number!

Once the contract is received, our Operations Manager will provide our programmers and sales team with a call forwarding number - toll free of course for non-local Clients. If you will be using this toll free number for the purposes of advertising, Director On Call will try and find one with similar digits or if you prefer 800 or 877, etc. we can make that happen too! 

Step #2 - Customize Your Account!

A Criteria form will be sent to you to gather specific information about the Funeral Home including: staff contact names, numbers and emails, what type of calls we will be getting, what information you want us to collect from the callers, when you'd like us to answer your phone and what you want us to do with the messages after we take them (forward them to your On-Call personnel through SMS text message for example). 

First Calls can be made by family members or friends of the deceased, health care workers, police, etc. Therefore, we are equipped to handle both Family Calls and Facility Calls.

For Family/Friend Calls, we take only the information that you have requested...nothing less, nothing more. We always repeat phone numbers back to the caller to ensure accuracy. This action also instills a sense of security on the part of the caller. They can trust our Call Specialist cares about helping them through this difficult time. Calls must also be recorded and made accessible to Funeral Directors who want to review the calls for their own quality assurance purposes. Our Call Specialists assure the family member or friend during the First Call that they will be getting in touch with the Funeral Director right away. If the caller is at a hospital or somewhere where they cannot receive a return call, we assure the caller that we will get in touch with the Funeral Director right away and connect them.

During the account customization process, you will be provided with this form detailing all the information you would like collected on First Calls for both Facility Calls and Family Calls. These call forms will be immediately available for our Call Specialist to reference and will ensure accuracy of the information we collect. We can even go as far as asking if it's appropriate to offer condolences.  

For Facility Calls, we ask you for the names of local hospitals and nursing homes near your funeral home. This allows us to alphabetize the list into a drop box so Director On Call's Call Specialists can simply insert the facility name into a First Call form, eliminating the need to ask the caller for proper spelling. Asking for spelling can indicate to the caller (be they a doctor for example) that the operator is handling the call from a foreign location. The goal for Director On Call is to provide a SEAMLESS representation to callers so that the assumption is made that they are talking to someone that's actually from the Funeral Home. Some unique questions that Funeral Directors can customize our Call Specialists to ask are if there are stairs at the facility so they can send two people to take care of the deceased, if the deceased is ready to be removed or if the family is at the facility waiting for the funeral home director to arrive. If the call is in the middle of the night you may also want Director On Call to simply call the Transfer Service/Removal Service and not interrupt you.

The customization process doesn't simply end with the message taking or script; you can customize how messages are sent as well. First Calls can be called out immediately, emailed or texted first followed by an immediate call or we can simply email or text the information and only call if we do not receive confirmation within a specified period of time, set by your Funeral Home. We can follow up and continue calling until contact is made with the Funeral Director, or your Funeral Home can advise of a back-up list of contacts, in the unlikely event that a Funeral Director is not able to be reached. 

These safe guards ensure that your funeral home is represented in a seamless and professional manner. 

We ensure that information is collected in the most efficient way possible. Your account can be highly customized so you can decide what questions you want asked, what information you want collected and how you want to be contacted. A form is sent for you to fill out all of the specific information pertaining to the call (greeting, first call form, message delivery, etc.). Upon submitting the form, there will be a one-on-one interview conducted between you and Director On Call to review your account to ensure optimum customization and seamless representation of your funeral home.  

EVERYTHING can be personally customized!  Step #3 - Clarify Information: Perfection is Our Standard!

Once you send the Criteria form back to us (via fax or email) - our programmers will then start programming your account. 

If we have any questions about the information provided (if something is not clear), we will email or call you for clarification. 

Once all of the information and instructions are clear - we then take all of the information provided and put it in a format that our Operators are familiar with.

Step #4 - How the Call Specialists Operate!

For our Call Specialists we create: 

  • A directory of all of your staff and contact methods. 
  • Information pages with information about the Funeral Home and instructions on what the Call Specialists should do with the calls - usually based on the "type" of call (non-urgent/office-related calls like billing and invoicing or donation calls, urgent/emergency calls, etc.). 
  • A script/message form for the Call Specialists to follow when taking a message, which prompts them to get the correct information from the Caller and what they should say. (Opening phrases, questions and closing statements). 

We pre-screen calls and ask the caller if immediate attention needs to be given. If they simply state that it can wait for the morning to speak with the Director, we advise them of your Funeral Homes hours and that the Director will return their call the next business day.

During the customization process, we will ask you if you would like pricing and pre-arrangement calls treated as urgent calls.

Step #5 - The Finishing Touches!

Once we have finished setting up your account, we send you a word document with all of the information we have put in the account for you to review everything before your line goes live.

This document contains:

  • A copy of the directory with all contact names and numbers.
  • A copy of the information pages and instructions - reworded to a format our Call Specialists are familiar with and samples of what the messages will actually look like when they received them. This way if we have misunderstood anything on the Criteria form, you have a chance to let us know before your line goes live. 

Once you have confirmed that everything is satisfactory, we will activate the account, test the number to make sure it is fully functional and put a note in for all of our Operators to review your account BEFORE it goes live. If our Call Specialists have any questions about it, they will then go to our Training Supervisor and she will go over the account one on one with them. 

Once we are ready, we will let you know and turn the line on. You are then free to forward calls anytime and contact us if any changes to the instructions are required along the way.  

We usually request only 2-3 business days to complete everything (programming and operator training), once the Criteria form is returned to us.

Conclusion

And there you have it! All the steps involved in creating your highly customized answering account with Director On Call. Director On Call’s Call Specialists will professionally handle all of your calls, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are your Funeral Home Answering Service!

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