We spoke in a recent post about the changing needs within the death care industry and how your communities are embracing these changes. While person-to-person these needs differ, the industry as a whole is noticing an enormous shift. From sustainability to affordability, what’s important to families is continuing to change.
From a business perspective, these expectations can be overwhelming and feel exhaustive. As trends, needs, and methodology rapidly change within the industry, it can take time to keep up. Technology is one of the best ways to manage these changing needs, but even this can be a daunting transition for death care providers.
So, how can technology help you address the changing needs of your community?
Compassion, Professionalism, and Empathy
For many, organising the funeral of a loved one can be one of the most challenging tasks they might ever face. The need for compassion, empathy, and professionalism during such a difficult time is unquestionable. Still, it’s also something that can be hard to maintain when you or your staff are under strain. Especially when simultaneously dealing with multiple families experiencing the worst day of their life. A study from 2019 found that PTSD rates for funeral professionals are almost 20% higher than the general population. While certainly some of this stress is unavoidable, considering many of the day-to-day pressures faced, others can be mitigated.
Technology can help ease this strain and be an excellent resource for even the smallest of death care businesses. For example, by employing a digital records management solution, you can lessen the burden of work on your staff. From person records to mapping of your burial and memorial locations, technology can help speed up the process, both when entering new information, and when searching for an existing record. Not only that but in the event of an emergency, digitised records can be accessed off-site or transferred easily to a new location. This eases much of the burden on staff, allowing them to dedicate their time to the families they serve.
Death care providers are a guide through a difficult time; your experience should support families, relieving as much of the burden as possible. It’s important, however, that this burden doesn’t come at the expense of your or your staff’s mental or physical health. Technology can have an enormous impact on this burden, freeing up your time, and the mental load, to allow you to provide the best care.
Dying is often an unexpected, and for many families, difficult to manage expense. While pre-need solutions are the best fit for many families to plan ahead, many facing bereavement are unfortunately left to deal with the consequences of a lack of planning. Ever-increasingly, funerals are becoming an unexpected and unmanageable expense for families.
From a death care provider’s perspective, this can be difficult to manage while not devaluing their time or service. That being said, there are several things they can do to help families manage while standing by the value of their skills.
Helping families understand what kind of support they’re eligible for can be a fantastic step to helping with the rising costs of death care. In the UK, families can apply for a Funeral Expenses Payment, which can help pay for a funeral they’re arranging. Likewise, in Australia, there are both Government and state-based assistance that can help with funeral costs. Death care providers can share links to these resources on their online presence, helping families who are budget-focused find resources.
Beyond this, death care providers can use technology and software to streamline their processes. For instance, publishing your pricing online allows families to research your offerings, allowing them to better understand how to budget prior to meeting with you.
We spoke a little last blog post about the growing trend towards eco-friendly options and sustainability in death care. Sustainability is becoming an important conversation in many of our daily lives, and the death care industry is no different. Increasingly families are making choices in their bereavement journey with consideration of the impact it has on the environment.
While a green funeral and interment isn’t a must for everyone, it’s been growing in popularity for a reason and can be an important consideration for many families. Whether you have access to greener interment methods and natural burial grounds or not, there are a variety of ways you, as a death care provider, can help facilitate a family’s request for a greener funeral. Some such ways include promoting biodegradable coffins and caskets, encouraging locally sourced flowers, and using digital orders of service rather than physical.
Beyond this, death care providers can promote green options by streamlining their operations. Records can be digitised, documents managed, and reporting completed using digital reports and dashboards. This can have an enormous environmental impact, both on the physical waste of discarded papers and documents, and on the space required to store and protect physical records.
For many families, the difficulties of bereavement don’t end with the funeral. Grief can affect physical and mental health with symptoms that can last from months to years. While death is an inevitability in life, losing someone you love can be one of the most painful experiences they may go through. Finding a death care provider who understands this difficulty and continues to take the time to honour and respect your loved one even after the day of the funeral can be essential.
What continuing care means for your funeral home or cemetery will differ for each family. For some, community remembrance services that allow them to memorialise their loved ones will be wonderful. For others, simply providing access to literature on healthy grieving, mourning, and remembrance can be enough.
Technology can be an incredible asset for death care providers to support their families with whatever best suits their needs. Kiosks on-site are a wonderful option for families to access and locate their loved ones easily. With the ability to access wayfinding services and memorial site locations, share stories, and pay respect at any time, they can be a fantastic solution that both comforts families and reduces the burden on staff.
Similarly, care programs are another option that helps you to connect with your families. From ongoing grave and memorial maintenance to flower placements purchased online, care programs allow you to streamline your processes, while providing continuing care for families. Automated billing and the simplicity of marketing automation allow you to reach out to multiple families simultaneously, providing ongoing support without burdening staff.
Planning a funeral for a loved one during bereavement can be challenging for families, but it shouldn’t be for their providers. There are many ways you can utilise technology to adapt to the changing needs of consumers and streamline your processes. While it can be daunting to integrate technology into new parts of your business, especially for smaller businesses that long since have been able to make do, it can have an enormous impact on your bottom line, your staff’s mental health, and the support you can provide to the families you serve.