Should an Answering Service Offer Condolences?

Offering Condolences is Part of Our Call Specialist Training

It can be difficult to know what to say to those that are grieving. This can be especially true if you're conversing with a stranger. You may ask yourself questions like: Is it my place to offer condolences? I don't know the deceased, can I still offer condolences? 

I asked our Training Supervisor Kelly Shaver how she trains our answering service operators to offer condolences to those making a First Call to a funeral home. "I have realized over the course of my career that offering condolences is a good thing. Just because I don't know the person doesn't mean I don't feel bad that they have had someone they care about pass away. It also needs to be sincere. I always recommend our operators give condolences (unless the Funeral Home has specifically stated that they do not want us offering condolences to their families). The age, experience, etc. of the trainee will determine how in-depth I go. The younger they are the more I may have to explain why we give condolences and how to."

Our Sales Manager Linda Murphy-Kreimes explains how the answering accounts are customized. "When we set up accounts one of the questions we include is; 'Is it appropriate to offer condolences on a First Call if it is a family or friend of the Deceased calling?' This is part of our detailed customization that allows us to offer transparency on our Funeral Home's lines. There are some Funeral Homes on service which are not comfortable with us doing so. This is why we give them the option. The majority of our Funeral Homes want us to offer condolences which is part of our training and reflective of the caring and compassionate Call Specialists that we offer. We receive positive feedback from our Funeral Homes stating that the families did not realize they had reached an answering service. Our goal has always been to answer the same way the Funeral Home does and an integral part of this is in the customization."