Successful memorial professionals have the ability to sense a family’s needs and meet them wherever they’re comfortable. In today’s environment, meeting a family where they’re comfortable takes a very literal meaning. Will the family feel comfortable with an in-person meeting, or not? The range of comfort levels about where and how to meet can vary dramatically.
When you encounter families that aren’t comfortable meeting in person, be sure not to limit yourself. You have many options to accommodate the specific needs of the family, including incorporating trusted online resources such as virtual meeting tools and online design tools. You can continue providing the same level of service you always have – and perhaps bring in new opportunities for your business.
In recent weeks, Coldspring has helped memorial providers transition to a selection process when the family is not physically present in their office. Here are the top three tips from our staff on how to make the most of a virtual meeting:
1. Rely on Technology
The video-meeting app Zoom has experienced a surge in usage, with 30 times the daily meeting participants than pre-pandemic levels. Pre-COVID, families that came to your location could meet with you face to face where you would walk them through the necessary steps to celebrate the life of a loved one. Now that many people are using video-meeting apps to connect with others for business or personal use, funeral homes, cemeteries, and monument dealers may find benefits in using the same technology to connect with their customers.
Utilizing an online meeting tool, you have the option of sharing other electronic files that support your sales process, such as planning presentations and permanent memorial design tools. To help you host online meetings, Coldspring has prepared step-by-step instructions on how to meet with families using the video-meeting app, Zoom. You can check them out here.
Remember, if you’re meeting with a family virtually, it’s the same process – just with a different platform. You may not be sitting in the same physical space, but you’re still together with the family. Using technology can help your business plan a memorable life celebration at a distance by:
- Making the interaction, often at a difficult time, easier by engaging with the family both in verbal communication as well as visually, adding another dimension to the communication.
- Finding new ways to set your business apart to ensure you offer support to those most in need.
- Allowing the family to participate in the design of the memorial by capturing specific remembrances, such as verses, emblems or images through the use of a shared online design tool.
2. Don’t Forget Traditional Methods
Keep in mind, you don’t have to take the route of an online meeting platform. While Zoom and other apps have become increasingly popular, some families may not be familiar or comfortable using them. Remember, you’re meeting the family where they’re comfortable. Some families that don’t want to meet in-person may prefer to connect over the phone and via email.
In this situation, make the most of your communication platform. Listening intently and summarizing your discussions at the end of your call or in a follow up email can demonstrate your dedication to meeting the family’s needs. When it comes to the lasting memorial, you can use an online design tool in whatever way works best. You may choose to design the memorial as you walk the family through all of their options over the phone. Or you may want to discuss all of their options up-front and then use a design tool to create a visual to be shared with the family via email as more of a proofing tool. Either way, you’ll be able to provide responsive service to your families.
3. Remember the Basics
Don’t forget to help families make their memorial personal. One of our staff members recounts a recent virtual experience with a family via Zoom. The woman’s husband had prepaid for a memorial, and the memorial specialist could have said: “Here’s what your husband paid for, so here are the options you have.”
Instead, the memorial specialist used Personal Reflections® Online Design tool to present all the available options. The woman was thrilled with the opportunity to make the memorial truly reflect her husband’s life. The final memorial was highly customized, including all five parts of the husband’s name and a custom emblem of his truck. The woman was delighted with the results, and from the cemetery’s perspective, an upgraded sale was achieved.
Reactions like this are common when families see every option to create a beautiful, lasting tribute that tells the story of their loved one’s life. In fact, many memorial providers are surprised at how many families get excited about the Personal Reflections process, even taking control of the keyboard to dive in on their own.
In today’s world, being flexible and willing to adjust to the families’ needs can go a long way toward a successful memorial selection process. If you’d like to learn more about how to use Personal Reflections or how to conduct a virtual selection, contact your Coldspring representative today.