A new view

This morning I am helping a friend who’s husband is under hospice care, to plan his funeral. I have known them for many, many years, and they are very dear friends of mine. 

I am looking at websites through the eyes of one who is a professional in this business, but also through the heart of a person who is losing a dear friend and grieving. I will be forever changed by this experience, and a better rep for developing funeral home websites because now I have seen funeral home websites through eyes filled with tears and a grieving heart. 

I would like to share my observations and suggestions for you who have a website for your funeral home:

** Make your phone number very prominent. I now know, through tear blurred vision, that it’s very hard to see a small phone number buried within the website, especially if it’s at the bottom of the page and very small. 

** Put your pricing on your site. It saves time if someone has a budget that they have to adhere to as the result of a very long illness. And since my friend asked me to check pricing, I’ve had to call several firms, go through the pain each time of saying the words, “I have a friend who is dying”. Before today, I didn’t really have an opinion on showing your prices – after this, I will be recommending it to any funeral home owner I talk to. 

** Take an objective, personal look at your website. Try to put yourself in the mindset of someone who’s heart is breaking. Someone who is looking through eyes filled with tears. Someone who is mentally and physically exhausted because of grief. Put the most important information right out there – big and bold – where it’s easy to find, easy to read and comprehend. 
For that – grieving people will thank you now. 

** The other ‘usual’ information is great for those who are planning ahead – but not once someone has lost that opportunity and has to make a plan now! OF COURSE encourage people to plan ahead on your website, market that message gently in your community. 
For that, people will thank you later. 

**When asked about pricing, don’t let your staff say, “That’s our price, but I can talk to <insert name of FH Manager/Owner> and see what they say.” 
Instead try this: “I understand completely, and I’m certain we can help you with this and stay within your budget. Let me explain things to <insert name of FH Manager/Owner> and get back with you today.”

I didn’t select the firm with the lowest price – I selected the firm that provided their information on a website that I could navigate & see easily though my tears. One that I could understand even through the cloud of grief. The firm that listened to my needs and wishes, and answered with a heart of compassion.

I shop on line…but for FUNERALS?!?

It’s amazing what you can buy and have delivered to you today via the internet. Chinese food, purses, shoes, gag gifts, chocolate covered fruit, sweaters, shoes, boots, dogs, toys, books, movies…the list is endless. And now… it even includes FUNERALS!!

Yes, you read that right!

You can now plan ahead and pay for your funeral on line, You can plan a funeral in advance or plan a funeral at the time of death. You can select a casket, urn, even butterflies to be released; all on line – including paying for it.

Personally, I think this is a GREAT idea, but then I hate shopping. In fact, my girlfriends usually have to bribe me with a margaritas to get me to go with them.

I remember going with my sisters to the funeral home in a hazy fog to finalize our mother’s arrangements. The fog I was in was not due to margaritas, but exhaustion from the hours spent at the hospital, the shedding of tears, the runs to the airport to pick up family and answering the same questions over and over again. When we went shopping to find a beautiful gown to be buried in I just couldn’t participate. Shopping is hard enough for me on a normal day, but for something for my mother who had just passed away… I just sunk to the floor and waited for my sisters to find something.

Today, you don’t have to do that. Funeral firms are realizing that as wonderful as their services and employees are, we don’t really like facing them. They are located in a place we really want no part of. . . the place where we last viewed our loved ones.