Beyond Challenges: Turning Change and Disruption Into Opportunity
In business, it's easy, and certainly comfortable, to maintain the status quo. But when you take a long hard look at our industry—or really any industry—you realize that change is a constant. Disruption is a given. And uncertainty is certain.
But despite all the challenges coming our way in the death care industry—there is great opportunity. If we look at what's impacting us today, and certainly in the not-so-distant future, it's clear that funeral directors and cemetery owners/managers must embrace this change, this disruption. It's time to flip the challenges upside down and set them right-side-up as benefits.
Take the monumental shift from burials to cremations. That shift has brought a number of dynamics to the industry, including the potential of reduced revenue stream, something no one relishes.
But when we readjust our lenses, we can see the potential in becoming more of a full-service death care provider—not just providers of one-size-fits-all services and products.
How can we provide what today's changing consumer is seeking? And how can we do that while still increasing revenue and efficiencies?
First, it's important to identify who our customers are. Rather than staying stuck in the past (let's face it, it happens to just about everyone), recognize that today's consumers are a rapidly changing group—Gen Xers and millennials now make up a larger portion of the marketplace, with noticeably different priorities. These mobile generations demand different services, such as no-service, no attendance cremations, than their parents and grandparents.
They also are part of the age of instant gratification—"I want it now; I need it now." That's where the digital world fits in. Social networks, online markets and viral content drive just about every business these days. No one wants to—or should want to—remain status quo.
But while many businesses have embraced the online world, the death care industry has been often reticent and slow to engage. A very high percentage of your peers are likely dragging their feet into the digital divide. You shouldn't be one of them.
The digital world provides an ideal space to embrace all the challenges created by shifting market demands and a changing audience. Everyone is looking for new ways to do business and for new revenue streams. byondcloud, a specialized business-to-business portal offering for the death care sector, provides access to new trading partners, new products and services and new ways of doing business. It's all about addressing efficiencies and, in turn, increasing revenue, reducing operating costs and delivering a better service to your partners and customers.
By using the convenient online tools, you can build your capacity to transact with suppliers in a digital space, saving time and automating processes. In the digital world, there is no "after hours." Contacting service providers and partners is a mere click away at any time of day or night and in any time zone.
How did we figure this out?
About four years ago, a cemetery company enlisted us to help them build a digital solution. We quickly discovered, much to our surprise—that while there were online portals and solutions for other industries, very little out there was available or innovative within the death care space. Still other sites were using archaic technology.
So we saw a need, met it and have now moved it forward to become leaders in this sector. byondcloud can help shatter those nagging questions of "Why do we do it this way?" "Why has it always been done this way," and "What would happen if we could do it better and faster?"
Better. Faster. Stronger.
Key words that every business should embrace. And if you think you're already doing pretty well, that's great. But if you think your success can't be disrupted, the reality is that the world is moving forward in every sphere of life—even, let's face it, in death. If you don't move forward, you'll—at best—be left behind; at worst, you'll cease to exist.
Owners and operators can use grounds and service management tools, expedite online bookings, track and manage suppliers, utilize management tools for records and inventory and update documents and manage projects in real time.
And when time and money are of the essence—when are they not?—byondcloud's free mapping tool fits the bill, providing benefits for owners, grounds staff, sales staff and the public.
A digitally-generated map can include all memorial locations—including graves, mausoleums and ash placements and can include special places of interest, such as historical or celebrity graves or architectural treasures (which can, in turn, lead to more foot traffic, more publicity and potentially more customers).
In addition to helping the public navigate the cemetery, the map lets the sales team check availability. And by using the advanced mapping capabilities in byondcloud, cemeteries, both large and small, can save the costly services of surveyors.
With a perfect storm of change hitting the death care market—changing tastes, trends and audience—online solutions will be key to staying not only solvent but successful and strong.
Deaths will be a constant. So, too, will be the industry that serves families. So, the key is to reshape the death care industry in a way that benefits not only families, but providers as well.
Where do I see the next generation of cemetery and funeral services going?
It's essential to get rid of the rear-view mirror and take a 360-degree panoramic view of the future. See WHO your next consumers are. LEARN their needs and MEET them in innovative ways. SHIFT your focus to the potential of online efficiencies.
Sure, there may be fear. There may be hesitance. There may be uncertainty about learning and adapting to new technology. And yes, there may be late adopters.
But just as your business is about helping others go BEYOND life, TOWARD the future, we're just as excited about helping you get there—as efficiently and profitably as possible.