Scaling your Funeral Home Client Capacity without Losing That Personal Touch

When your funeral home is experiencing growth, you are not always able to grow all of your resources at the same pace. However, serving more families does not have to mean you will lose that personal touch you have always provided. By being practical with services such as live answering for funeral homes, you can scale your client capacity and still provide the highest level of service when families need it most.

Stay True to Your Core Principles

Serving families with professionalism, empathy and kindness have always been at the forefront of your philosophies, and that should not change. Even when you have an influx of funerals to arrange, that part of your practice can’t change or else your growth may be short-lived. Keeping costs and resources low while growing is achievable as long as you maintain your values and principles.

Remembering where you started from and the concern you showed for grieving families will help you continue to propel forward. An answering service for funeral homes helps you stay true to your core principles without using up many of your resources, financial or otherwise.

Maintain Accessibility and Information

Keeping your funeral home accessible is a main concern. Families and medical professionals need to be able to reach you in the event of a death, and that could happen at any time. Even when scaling your funeral home, maintaining accessibility is essential. Long holds or unanswered calls are not ideal in your profession. Not only should you use an answering service to ensure all calls are answered, call specialists should also be equipped with the knowledge and information to assist callers with whatever they need.

Most people don't want to wait on hold just to get through to someone that can’t help them or isn’t sympathetic to their needs and situation. This may seem difficult with limited resources, but the customization and affordability of a funeral home answering service makes it possible to scale down and still grow your base.

Feedback and Community

Involving the community is a great way to grow without using more of your resources. Obtaining feedback will let you know what works and what doesn’t. You can gauge the needs of families based on this feedback and allocate your resources accordingly.

Scaling your funeral home doesn’t mean losing your personal touch; with a funeral home answering service you can still serve families with empathy and professionalism.

Avoiding Compassion Burnout: Key Concepts for Recharging Yourself Daily

Daily, you deal with death and the emotions of others. As a funeral director, there may come a time when you feel yourself slipping from that caring state. Many funeral directors deal with burning out from the constant exposure, but losing your compassion does not have to happen.

With compassion burnout, you face feelings of frustration and powerlessness; a diminished morale. These feelings can stem from different situations and usually develop over time. You don’t have to succumb; here are some key concepts that you can use daily to recharge yourself and prevent compassion burnout.

Knowledge is Power

Though a cliché, the statement rings true. With knowledge of the signs and symptoms of compassion burnout, you can cut it off before it becomes too much to handle. There are stages and it does not usually happen suddenly. These stages are:

  • Enthusiasm

  • Stagnation

  • Frustration

  • Apathy

Look for these signs:

  • Exhaustion – physical, emotional, mental

  • Isolation

  • Feelings of failure

Understanding what to look for can help you combat compassion burnout daily. Being more aware of yourself and your emotions gives you power over maintaining your healthy attitude and outlook, even if you're struggling as a director on call.

Balance Your Needs with Helping Others

Assisting families through their worst is something that not many can handle. You have to give a lot of yourself. Without practicing self-care, you will inevitably fail. Create a balance between helping others and caring for yourself. Every day you have needs and those needs should be met, in addition to nurturing yourself with things you find joy in. Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Make a mini schedule where you block out time daily to do something physical, another block of time where you relax and do something you enjoy, and another block of time to assess your emotional well-being. Most important for a director on call, is rest!

Make Connections

Humans thrive on interaction. Connecting with others helps to maintain positive attitudes. Talk with others at the funeral home; you may be able to help each other because you’re going through the same things. A therapist can help you work through your emotions. Family and friends can help you see the good in life. Pets offer companionship and affection. However you can, connect with others for support.

Compassion burnout doesn’t overtake every funeral director. You can work each day to recharge yourself. 

Why the Human Element is So Important in Answering Your Funeral Home's Phone

Technology and advancement are necessary in this present society to keep up and compete. These days people can conduct business, help others, and more with the click of a button, a text, or a call and without ever meeting or sometimes even talking to another human. For a funeral home, this trend has not and should not pick up speed. While your online presence is important, remembering and maintaining the human element is critical. You can still embrace advancement with a live answering service for a funeral home to ensure you continue to provide a live person for callers to speak to.

Your Families Need You

Sometimes when grieving death, all a person needs is communication with someone that cares and is empathetic to their situation. You understand how emotions can really affect a grieving family, how details and information can become hard to remember and relay when flustered. Providing your callers with live help, a person that can listen to them, help them, and sympathize with them, helps them trust you and your funeral home to provide the services they want.

Although there are other options, a live answering service for your funeral home provides consistency. You can rest assured that every call will be answered, and scripted and informed dialog further solidifies the call specialists’ ability to calm your callers. 

In the event of a death, people look to the funeral home to help them cope and start moving on and this begins with the first time they call. Impersonal voice mail or automated systems might work for some professions, but for a funeral director, human contact is integral to creating a trusting relationship with grieving families and for you to really see what a family needs.

Personalized Communication

A funeral, and death in general are not one-size-fits-all scenarios. Each person, family, and service need is different. Working in a funeral home relies on person-to-person communication. Sure, you could have families email, send information to you without speaking with them, or deal with phone tag because of missed calls, but what would be lost? Without that human contact, you miss out on being able to really get to know people and provide custom services that represent the deceased.

Although this society is automating so much, your funeral home still needs to provide the human touch and with a live answering service specialized for funeral homes you can.

More than Just Taking Messages: Why you Need a Specialized Answering Service for Your Funeral Home

An answering service for funeral directors takes your messages, but also provides much more – especially when it is a service that specializes in working with funeral homes. Your needs are specific and you need an answering service that understands the nature of what you do and how to help the families you serve.

Live, Knowledgeable Help

When families call your funeral home, they expect to reach a person, whether during normal hours or the middle of the night, on a weekend or a holiday. Instead of just taking messages, the answering service can provide callers with information, schedule meetings, or gather information in the event of a death.

The use of a live person eases the nerves of those calling, helping them to trust that you truly care and want to help them. With knowledge of your funeral home specifically and general information specific to your profession, call specialists are armed with the right information to assist your families.

Specialized Training

Families are usually suffering at the death of a loved one and these circumstances require careful handling. An answering service for funeral directors understands this. Call agents undergo specialized training to understand the needs of a funeral home and those they help and use a customized script to maintain accuracy and professionalism. Call specialists must also convey empathy and care towards callers. This takes more than just training to understand the grief people are going through and how best to help them.

With an answering service for funeral directors, you can rest assured that your phones will be answered by a trained individual whose only objective is to make sure that your caller's experience is the best possible.

Call Forwarding, Alerts, and More

Taking messages is a great feature of the answering service, but they make things easier for you by doing more. With a specialized answering service, you can have calls forwarded directly to you when necessary, rather than waiting to review messages later. Alternatively, even if you forget to forward your calls after hours, you can have a back-up that automatically forwards the call to your answering service so no call goes unanswered.

Other helpful features that make using an answering service for funeral directors the right choice include

  • Web chat

  • On-Call lists

  • Customized accounts

A specialized answering service specifically for funeral directors is more than a way to take messages, it closes the gap on helping families even when you aren’t available.

3 Ways a Funeral Home Answering Service Can Help Build Your Funeral Home

A live answering service is essential for funeral directors. These services ensure families can always reach you and simultaneously provide you with free time. If you want to grow your funeral home, the time you'll save using a funeral director's answering service can help you achieve that. Here's how an answering service can help you grow your business.

Increased Productivity and Efficiency

One of the main benefits of a funeral director’s answering service is an increase in productivity. The time you save from not answering calls can be used to improve productivity. This could include focusing on new ideas that promote growth, such as broadening your online presence and making the funeral home more inviting. You'll have the time to reach out to the community to bring in more families by hosting community events, therapy and counseling sessions, and more.

Increasing productivity isn’t just about getting people to see you, it also leads to increased efficiency. A live answering service helps streamline your calls. Families receive a professional, prompt greeting and get the information they need or are directed to a source that can further help them. Part of providing excellent service that keeps people looking to you when a loved one passes is the attention paid to them. Because of the specialized services provided, positive caller experience rises, helping you retain business. With the majority of calls taken care of, you can also better manage other duties around the funeral home.

Mobility While Working

Death is unpredictable by nature, so you can't always be there when you are needed. With a funeral director’s answering service, you can be reached anywhere. This mobility helps you grow because it provides a work-life balance that you need to perform your best. If you aren’t operating proficiently, you let things slip which ultimately harms relationships with families and loses you business.

Added mobility helps you stay updated on the needs of your families and their treatment by call specialists. You can check on call quality and more from wherever you are.

Save and Invest

A funeral director’s answering service frees up money. Rather than investing in a full-time receptionist, the remote service is a fraction of the cost. The money you save can be reinvested in other areas of your funeral home for improvement and growth.

Growth takes work, but with a funeral director’s answering service, you have help building your funeral home.

3 Simple Ways Funeral Directors Can Combat Stress at Work

A funeral home can be a stressful place to work. Death, the circumstances of death, and the families of those grieving death constantly surround you. It can be overwhelming when you include all of your responsibilities and the fact that many times, even on days off, you cannot fully escape them. Left unchecked, it can have negative and lasting effects on your health. When you are feeling stressed at work, here are a few simple ways to combat it.

1. Get Outside

Feeling cooped up is enough to make any person stressed, seeing the same sights, artificial light, and the constant barrage of images of the deceased are all stressors. Sometimes a little fresh air is all you need. When you are feeling stressed at the funeral home, just take a 5-minute walk outside. A dose of sunlight and space can do a lot to lift your mood and help you appreciate the world and see there is nothing to stress out over. Vitamin D, which you naturally absorb from the sun, is essential to your health and promotes strength in your body.

2. Take a Moment to Relax

When you are experiencing stress, being told to relax may seem like a tall order, but you can do it! Simply realizing that some things cannot be helped and those that can will take time can help you relax. Worrying and stressing do not actually change your situation, and the moment you realize this you can start to calm yourself and relax, knowing that you cannot make everything happen as you want.

3. Eliminate Interruptions

A funeral home is ripe with interruptions. People come in and out dealing with the circumstances of death, and phone calls are a constant distraction. Instead of allowing these to get to you, find ways to minimize interruptions. You cannot keep families from coming, nor do you want to, but you have options to reduce the phone calls you receive, such as a live answering service. Scheduling and maintaining funeral home appointments ensures you are prepped and ready when families do arrive, and there are other adjunct services that can relieve some of your load, preventing more interruptions.

No matter how much you enjoy assisting families through the roughest time in their life, you can suffer from work-related stress. These tips will help you get back on track and feeling like yourself again.

4 Reasons You Need a Live Answering Service for Your Funeral Home

The role of a funeral director never really ends. Because death is unpredictable, you are always on call. But when you cannot answer a call, what do you do? Whether with another family, on another call, away from the funeral home, or just occupied with something else, a live answering service for your funeral home offers a viable option for those times you are unavailable. Here are four reasons you really need one.

1. End Missed Calls

With an answering service, there is no need to worry about missing calls from families in need. Other options such as voicemail or automated systems that send callers through various sequences before getting to a live person are frustrating and cause more stress to families reeling from losing a loved one. In a time when families are grieving, hearing a caring voice is reassuring and helps settle emotions.

2. Caller Experience

What greeting do your families receive when calling? A live answering service for funeral homes brings specialized understanding of your unique needs. They know that compassion is a key element and understand that listening is essential, and that the two combined provide a powerful representation for your funeral home in addition to comforting people going through difficult and emotional times.

Empathy, along with professionalism, is what you deliver to the families you serve every day. A funeral home must go beyond great; you have to be supportive, kind, understanding and available. These are the keystones to a great experience for your callers. When you are not available, an answering service is ready to step in and provide that same care.

3. Savings

Hiring an in-house receptionist is pricey and still leaves you vulnerable. You have to consider salary, benefits and time off.  With a live answering service, funeral homes can cut costs. Instead of paying the salary of a receptionist, you select an affordable plan with guaranteed availability.

4. Freedom

While assisting people through mourning loss is your calling, there are times you need to step away and regain a sense of self. With a live answering service, your funeral home continues operating even when you are away. This gives you new levels of freedom; time to spend your way with little interruption.

A live answering service is an extension of your funeral home, providing your families with a seamless call experience, conveniently saving you time and money.  

How to Ensure Your Funeral Home Answering Service is Showing Empathy to Families

3 Ways to Ensure Your Answering Service is Providing the Best Service to Your Families

Empathy means putting yourself in someone else’s shoes to understand their situation from their point of view, and it's one of the most important elements in effectively communicating with families grieving the loss of a loved one. As a funeral director, you employ this powerful tool every day with the families you meet. The phone answering service you use should also be showing families empathy. There are a few ways you can ensure that families calling your funeral home are greeted by an empathetic voice.

Specialized Services

One way to ensure that phone answering services are showing empathy is to select one that caters to funeral homes. An answering service that serves funeral homes has the experience to know that families require empathy. They hire call specialists with the emotional capacity to be empathetic and understanding of the sensitive nature of funeral home calls. Trusting an answering service to operate as you would is a big responsibility. With specialized phone answering services, you can make sure they have worked with funeral homes before and are aware of what your families need.

Proper Training

Training is an essential tool for phone answering services. It ensures that call specialists are knowledgeable about funeral practices and understand expectations. With proper training on dealing with grieving families as well as information specific to your funeral home, call specialists become skilled at showing empathy.

Live answering services employ people that already have a kind and empathetic character and add training to create a caring experience for families.

Transparency of Services

Transparency in how services are rendered is by far the best way to know that your phone answering service is showing empathy to families. Phone answering services should provide call recording for every call, and you should have unfettered access. This transparency makes it easy for you to review calls to ensure that call specialists are displaying the right tone during calls.

Not only should there be call recordings that you review, you should be able to make suggestions that the phone answering service adheres to, whether that is how families are greeted, the way information is provided, how many rings before the line is answered, and so on.

Continued education and training are also ways to ensure that phone answering services are showing empathy to families. Certain practices may change, and answering services should be keeping up with any changes and learning how to better serve your families.

Evaluating the Quality of a Funeral Home Answering Service

Your funeral home provides families with quality service encompassing compassion and professionalism. Your answering service should do the same. To uphold your reputation and ensure the families you serve are receiving the best possible assistance from your answering service, evaluate their claims to make certain your service truly is the best.

Are Quality Services Provided?

Training is a key element to the overall quality of any answering service. There are many answering services, but the best answering service provides funeral-home specific service. Generic services will not give you quality performance because they may not understand the importance of the specific skills necessary to assist those dealing with the grief of losing a loved one.

The best answering service for funeral homes understands the nature of your calls and the distress and emotional needs of your callers. Training will reflect this, with empathetic call specialists who are knowledgeable about the needs of funeral homes (and more specifically your funeral home), and will incorporate proper call-handling techniques.

Training should incorporate information specific to your funeral home so call specialists are able to inform your callers of basic information. They should be able to:

  • Seamlessly transfer calls

  • Take messages/gather information

  • Understand urgent/non-urgent calls

  • Answer every call quickly

  • Provide relevant information

  • Follow up with families when necessary

  • Be available 24/7/365

  • Dispatch necessary services

Is Transparency Important?

Transparency is a good indicator of whether an answering service can make the grade. Characteristics of transparency from the best answering service include:

  • Call recording with access

  • In-house evaluations

  • Quality control measures

  • Evaluations by independent organizations

  • Simplicity in billing

Technology and Options

Other characteristics of the best answering service include providing you with options and technology maintenance.

Can you sign up for a plan? Are plans customized? Do they offer ways to reduce billable time, such as text or email?

Technology has made connecting with people possible in different ways. From phone calls and email to text messaging and live chat, you can efficiently serve families before you see them. Answering services should provide these options to your funeral home.

You work hard to ensure that the deceased and their grieving families receive the best care and service. Your answering service should perform at the same level. In an atmosphere where compassion, professionalism, and empathy are necessary traits, you want the best answering service for the job. If you graded your answering service, would it make the cut?

3 Things to Ask Before Choosing a Funeral Home Answering Service

When selecting a funeral home answering service, you need to be able to trust that they can get the job done; they provide what both you and your families need.

1. How Long Have You Been Operating?

Although on call answering services aren't historically how funeral homes operated. Find out how long an answering service has been in operation. The only way to gain experience is through time and opportunity. Look for companies with experience.

2. How Are Agents Trained?

The people answering your phone, whether they work at the funeral home or are from an on call answering service, have a responsibility to communicate with families in an empathetic and caring manner. You expect this as well as your families. To ensure that call specialists understand and know how to conduct calls, ask about training. Is it extensive, focusing on assisting families in need? Is it specific to the needs of funeral directors? Is the training ongoing and do call specialists receive evaluations to ensure they are continuously providing high-value service?

3. What Can I Expect?

This is a very important question! It is not enough to simply trust that an on call answering service is going to provide the services you need, you have to inquire. Here are just a few of the things you should find out when asking what to expect from an answering service:

  • Services available

  • Plans and rates

  • Quality assurance measures

  • Access to calls

  • Control over funeral home information and services provided via phone

  • Call answering procedures

  • Customizable

If you are able, experience a call beforehand to ensure that their presentation lines up with your ideals and the tone, as well as the information given to the families that call you reflect positively on your funeral home.

A funeral home on call answering service is supposed to work for you. Their sole purpose is to ensure that funeral directors have an alternate route of communication with families, even when not available. You can make sure that the funeral home answering service you employ is putting your families first.

Funeral Home Answering Service Lending a Hand to Christmas Dinner Charity

christmas-dinner-place-settingsp-on-table-with-candles

A free Christmas dinner for people who are alone is being held at St. Francis Xavier Parish . This dinner will take place on December 25th at St Mary's Catholic School at 40 Central Avenue West, Brockville.

Our Funeral Home Answering Service has provided a free line to the Parish and are currently taking reservations and answering inquires regarding the event.

Brad French, President of Director On Call says "No one should be alone at Christmas.  It is our hope that this  dinner will make Christmas a little merrier for those attending."

The meal will be served at 1:00pm and guests can start arriving at 12 noon. Take out dinners are also available and can be picked up at 1:00pm.

Free transportation can be provided within the Brockville city limits.

We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season!

How a 24/7 Virtual Receptionist Can Expand Your Funeral Home Business

3 Benefits of Having a Virtual Receptionist

Growing your funeral home can be tricky business. There are many things to consider because unlike many other service areas, you have to be available 24/7, not just to answer phones but also to meet with families and medical practitioners. One way to help your funeral home is to employ a 24/7 virtual receptionist. While you may be wary of a virtual receptionist from an answering service for your funeral home, they can provide necessary assistance to keep you moving forward.

Free Up Time

One of the main obstacles to growth outside of revenue is time. With funeral homes already on 24/7 availability, finding more time in the day might seem impossible with all the responsibilities you and your staff already have. A virtual receptionist with an answering service for funeral homes can help.

Answering phone calls and everything that comes along with it, such as giving out information, setting appointments and dispatching individuals can take a lot of time during business hours and after hours as well. With a virtual receptionist operating the phones and completing those tasks that you don’t have to, you regain precious time. With more time, you can focus on making your funeral home more successful.

Retention and New Families to Serve

The families you serve are what keep your funeral home operating, so the service they receive is instrumental in your success. Virtual receptionists are highly trained to help callers. A specialized answering service for funeral homes provides even better service because they understand the stressful and emotional nature of your calls and how to best deal with grieving families. Great service will inevitably lead to more families coming back to your funeral home or referring others to you, which can help you grow your funeral home.

Hiring a virtual receptionist also allows you to promote your funeral home and advertise to everyone that calls in a tasteful and professional manner. Professionalism is also a key tool that virtual receptionists provide to help your funeral home grow.

No Need for New Hires

When you are ready to expand, you won’t have the added cost of hiring additional receptionist help. Virtual receptionists at an answering service for funeral homes keep costs down, freeing up revenue to put toward improvements for other areas of your funeral home.

With virtual receptionists, your funeral home can grow and be a success.

What is Compassion Fatigue?

Compassion Fatigue: Symptoms and Risk Factors

Working in a funeral home, you are accustomed to death, but after a while even the most sympathetic person can be affected by what they see every day. Have you felt that your compassion has weakened over time? If so, then you need to know what compassion fatigue is.

Compassion Fatigue Defined

Compassion fatigue is a condition that individuals, such as funeral directors, who deal with the suffering of others can fall victim to. It is a type of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) categorized as a secondary traumatic stress (STS) because although they are not directly experiencing the trauma, they are deeply affected by it. The symptoms associated with it are the results of chronic stress. Compassion fatigue is the decline in compassion for the suffering of others. No one in a care-giving situation is exempt, especially those working in funeral homes that see death in so many ways and the accompanying grief from loved ones.

A person suffering from compassion fatigue will, due to either the compounding of traumatic events or one event that severely affects them, be physically and mentally incapable of being compassionate toward the pain and suffering of others. In a funeral home, this can mean equating others' emotions as unnecessary when not involving death.

Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue

The symptoms of this disorder can range from physical to mental. Some physical symptoms associated with compassion fatigue include:

  • Headaches

  • Dizziness

  • Substance abuse

  • Chronic physical ailments

  • Fatigue

The disorder may also manifest itself with mental symptoms like:

  • Compulsive negative behaviors

  • Nightmares and flashbacks of traumatizing situations

  • Mental fatigue

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Finding no pleasure in previously enjoyable activities

  • Anxiety

  • Anger

  • Feelings of powerlessness

Risk Factors

The main risk factor is being in an environment where you are exposed to the trauma of others on a regular basis, especially in stressful situations such as funeral homes. If you do not take care of yourself, you increase that risk. If you do not know how to cope well with adverse situations and are overly invested in others, you are also at a greater risk.

Compassion fatigue keeps you from being yourself. It not only negatively affects your ability to work with the grieving families that need you; it also affects your personal and professional relationships. If you recognize any of these symptoms, seek help before things get out of control and you retreat into isolation.

How an Answering Service for Funeral Directors Will Give You More Freedom

The phone is ringing — again. This time you have to pull yourself away from a lovely evening with family and friends. Last time it was a family wanting information on services that woke you from a restful and much-needed slumber after a solicitor wanting to help your funeral home interrupted dinner. While these may not be your specific experiences, these examples serve to show how completely your life is affected as a funeral director and the lack of freedom you experience. There is a way to regain your life back, though. An answering service for funeral directors is the perfect option when you want to reclaim your freedom.

Call Forwarding: The Gift That Keeps Giving to You

The main attraction of an answering service for funeral directors is the thought of call forwarding. This is the perfect filter to make sure the only calls you personally answer are those that need your immediate or specialized attention. Whether you only use an answering service after hours or employ it 24/7, you can still reap the benefits call forwarding has to offer — and that main goal of freedom is the biggest.

Instead of you answering every call that comes to your funeral home, the answering service takes the calls. They can answer most questions for your callers, schedule appointments, field solicitors and wrong numbers, and more. The best part is you don't have to worry about the quality of the call; these dedicated call specialists understand the delicate nature and empathy necessary to provide a positive experience for your families. This knowledge makes it easier for you to loosen the reigns.

Now that you no longer have to answer every call yourself, you're free to enjoy time with family and friends, get much-needed rest, and not have to be concerned with frequent phone calls interrupting whatever you're doing, even if that is working with another family to make funeral arrangements or conducting a funeral service.

An answering service for funeral directors provides specialized support to you and your team so that you can do what you love to do and still maintain the freedom to enjoy the other parts of your life away from the funeral home.

Compassion: Why You Need a Service Specialized in Funeral Home Answering

A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering: this is the definition of compassion. As a funeral director, it is an emotion you experience on a daily basis. When dealing with the grieving families of deceased individuals, being able to show compassion at all times is an essential character trait that not everyone possesses. An answering service specialized in funeral home answering understands the needs of funeral homes and knows that compassion is critical.

Time Is Not a Factor

Imagine a call comes in at 3 a.m. You're asleep and answer the phone groggily to a person that is stressing and upset about the death of a loved one. This is the first call, so you have to gather a lot of information, yet you're still tired. In this scenario, it's easy to miss some information or not convey the compassion and kindness the caller is expecting. After all, it's the middle of the night and you weren't alert.

If you have an answering service, someone is awake and ready to answer your phone lines no matter the time. With an answering service specialized in funeral home answering, it is understood that a first call can come in at any hour and there will be a lot of information that needs to be gathered.

Emotional Distress Ready

Death of a loved one brings so many emotions to the surface for families. A lot of times, families are grieving and calling the funeral home to make arrangements is an admission on their behalf that a person is actually gone, making an already difficult process even harder. When specialized in funeral home answering, call specialists understand the types of calls they will be receiving and that callers may be in emotional distress. They train to be compassionate and help people work through emotions so they can get the information they need let the families know anything pertinent for them.

Your answering service is a reflection of you. If you're using an answering service to help take your calls, make sure they're specialized in funeral home answering so your callers always hear a compassionate voice.

Funeral Directors: Don't Forget to Care for Yourself!

Being a funeral director is considered a calling. It is something not everyone has the ability to do. Whether you are dealing with the grief of a family, making funeral arrangements for the deceased or logging hours completing paperwork, the things you do have meaning to others. It can consume your life if you let it — especially when you consider the fact that death is on its own time and you never know when someone will need your services. In light of this, remember in the midst of caring for everyone else (your family/friends included) to take care of yourself.

Take a Vacation

This might be easier said than done, especially if you are constantly on call. However, take the time to get away from the funeral home. Even if all you do is sit around the house, a few days with the people you love can do wonders for you emotionally. Your emotional connection with people that love and care about you are important to your mental well-being.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle is important to your overall health and wellness. Funeral directors are at higher risk for mental issues, burnout and loneliness because of the nature of the work done. Dealing with others’ grief and the constant barrage of other people’s emotions can take a toll.

One way to take care of yourself (that is important for everyone, not just funeral directors) is maintaining healthy lifestyle choices:

  • Exercise

  • Sleep well

  • Eat a balanced diet

Enjoy Your Self

Caring for yourself means being selfish sometimes. You do not just carry your own burdens; as funeral directors, you also carry the emotions of others. The selflessness with which you work to help families through a difficult time is commendable. It's easy to focus on helping others, while in the process you forget about yourself.

Caring for yourself is as important as anything else you do for your well-being. You can take a few minutes a day doing something just for you. This could include:

  • Taking a walk

  • Reading a book

  • Getting a massage

  • Go to the movies

  • Playing a game

  • Taking a fun class (cooking, painting and more)

It can be easy to take your life for granted, putting everything into your funeral home and helping people. For the sake of sustainability, remember to care for yourself. Funeral directors need a life and love too!

3 Ways Funeral Directors Can Make the Most of Call Forwarding

Answering services provide a number of options for funeral home directors, and one of the best is call forwarding. Living life on call can get overwhelming and tiring, but using call forwarding can give you a little breathing room. Here are three ways you can make the most of your call forwarding.

Convenient for You

Utilizing call forwarding lets you take more time away from the funeral home. You no longer have to stay locked in with the funeral home phone; you can be reached from anywhere there is reception. You have the option of mobility. You will still be available, but now you can get other things done or relax at home and still receive the calls you need to.

With the convenience of call forwarding, your time is still yours and there are no strings attached. You can go as you please and not have to worry about missing important calls or not being available when a family needs you.

Security and Privacy

Privacy and security continue to increase in importance. With call forwarding, you don’t have to give out private numbers to those that need to contact you. You can have all calls forwarded to your private number without giving it out to people. You do not have to worry about the families you serve giving your private numbers out to other people either. You can keep business and private a little more separated.

Your callers also benefit from a centralized number that connects them to the information and assistance they need without having to call more than one number.

No Voicemail

Voicemail for a funeral home is not the best option for communicating with families. They expect someone to answer the phone, and playing phone tag after someone has passed is not an option they readily accept. With call forwarding, you do not have to subject your callers to having to leave messages as opposed to having their needs addressed immediately.

Why rely on voicemail that some callers may just skip using anyway?

Call forwarding allows you to send calls from one phone line to another, and most times the caller is unaware. You can make the most of call forwarding with the benefits of mobility, convenience, security and privacy, and forgo relying on voicemail as a means of communicating with the families that are trusting you.

Funeral Directors: Top 3 Signs You're Getting Burned Out

Burnout is a serious condition that affects many people, especially funeral directors. You have a high-stress position that requires a substantial amount of time, dedication and emotional maintenance, where you spend your time focusing on caring for others. As much as you love serving others, being a funeral director can be draining and lead to burnout. It’s important to know the signs so you can get support when you need it. Below you will find the top symptoms that mean you're heading for burnout.

What Is Burnout?

Burnout is a state of exhaustion — physical, mental and emotional — caused by overwork or prolonged stress. Being overwhelmed, drained, or unable to meet the demands of your work can lead to this state.

Exhaustion

Exhaustion can be physical or emotional and is one of the telltale signs. Some signs that you are exhausted include chronic fatigue and insomnia. Cognitive problems such as forgetfulness and impaired concentration are common as well as some physical symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, fainting, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, fainting, increased illness, depression, anxiety, loss of appetite, anger or headaches. These symptoms happen at different stages of burnout.

Detachment & Cynicism

You may feel a general load of negative feelings that your work doesn't matter, or that nothing in life does. You can feel detached from the pain of death or feel as if things less than death no longer matter. Other signs include isolation, pessimism, and loss of enjoyment. Interpersonal problems at work and home usually occur. Pulling away from family, friends and coworkers are typical actions.

Lack of Accomplishment and Being Ineffective

Slipping job performance that happens over time and can’t be attributed to an explainable change is a sign of burnout. You might feel there is no point in your work or life (as in detachment and cynicism), leading to a lack of motivation, and you may experience increased irritability. Your mind will be preoccupied with work even when you're away, and yet have a lack of productivity and poor performance because the chronic stress consumes your time.

You may also engage in risky behaviors such as drugs or drinking, and forgo taking care of yourself.

If any of these signs describe you, you could be experiencing burnout or on your way to it. Seeking help and support will help you get through it and return to your life.

3 Tips for Choosing Your Next Funeral Home Live Answering Service

A funeral home live answering service provides several benefits, but funeral homes have a reputation to uphold and it can be daunting to think of relinquishing your duties and allowing someone else to handle your phone lines. When you're looking for a funeral home answering service, here are a few tips to help you choose the best service for you.

Find Out Training Practices

It's important to know training practices. As a funeral director, you know it takes a person who's sympathetic, caring, professional and detailed to provide services to those that have lost loved ones. The live answering service you look for should also know this and train accordingly. Training should also include more technical aspects such as preparing for first calls, forwarding calls, and accuracy.

Look for Experience and Understanding of Funeral Home Practices

Families require the utmost respect in addition to empathy and compassion. An experienced answering service with years of handling live calls knows the typical calls that come in and how to answer them. They understand the delicate nature of speaking with grieving families and the sensitive information discussed. They also know the importance of correctness and professionalism, not allowing their feelings to get in the way of providing excellent service.

Of equal importance is understanding what funeral homes do. Knowing how to direct calls and answer caller questions is a necessity. The live call answering service you select should have a knowledge of common practices and an overall understanding of processes, attitudes and history.

Customizable Options Available

Another helpful tip is to look for an answering service with customizable options. Generic services are not ideal. You may need different options and want to have everything operating exactly as you want. Cookie cutter call handling will likely leave your families unhappy. With options tailored to the needs of your funeral home, you can rest assured that calls are handled the way you would handle them yourself, with little room for error on the part of the live call answering service.

Not all live call answering services are created equal. You want a service that is unnoticeable to your callers. It should seem as if someone at the funeral home is answering calls and providing information. Knowing their training practices with experience and understanding of funeral practices along with a custom service plan give you confidence that you are using the right answering service.

Familiar Faces at NFDA 2016

We are having so much fun at Booth 2555 at NFDA 2016! Douglas Wagemann of Cochrane and Wagemann Funeral Home in Roseville, CA stopped by the Director On Call booth to say hello. He wanted to let us know what a wonderful job our call specialists are doing and to say thank you. It's always great to see new and familiar faces. Don't forget to stop by Booth 2555 for your complimentary headshot provided by our professional photographer! Pictured is Douglas Wagemann and Director On Call Sales Manager Linda Murphy-Kreimes.