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21 Jun
How Staff Attitudes Can Drive Success With Cremation Families Eastop

How Staff Attitudes Can Drive Success With Cremation Families

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Many funeral homes have difficulty in getting their employees to think differently about the families they serve when that family has chosen cremation as their choice of disposition. Cremation does not mean Direct Disposal. Most families know one thing, they want cremation. Other than knowing that they desire cremation, they really have no idea just what they want.

This is where we, as funeral directors, fail in not offering services and options to those families so they know they have choices. Disposition by cremation does not have to be any different than disposition by burial. Staff training is so vitally important when it comes to having your employees understand how to better connect with your cremation families.

There are a number of things you, as the owner/manager, can do to ensure your employees are on board with your marketing procedures to provide cremation families with the information they need to make sound decisions. Communication is the key when your employees are making arrangements with a cremation family. Your employees must be equipped with the tools that raise their confidence level when dealing with the cremation family that wants a Direct Cremation.


Are they able to handle any question that may be presented to them, or do they just wing it and take a good guess at their answer? Does that family really understand, and do your employees really understand what Direct Cremation means? Probably not. I recently had a family that wanted Direct Cremation with burial of the cremated remains at sea. I took the time to get know about the decedent, job(s), interests in fishing, sports, etc., and I offered quite a few suggestions on how we could memorialize this gentleman’s life. By the end of the arrangements, the Direct Cremation with burial at sea, became a full service cremation with a visitation prior to the service in our chapel that included military honors with burial of a solid bronze military urn in Arlington National Cemetery. I made suggestions. I didn't talk them into anything they didn't want. They just didn't know they could do what we did. 

Recently, a friend and colleague visited 150 funeral homes and posed as a family member who was there to make arrangements for a loved one. The results were amazing. Among other issues they had with the funeral home employee, the biggest issue was that almost every funeral home apologized for the cost of cremation.

Why do funeral homes apologize for being on call 24/7/365 anymore? Today it takes longer to make arrangements with a cremation family than a burial family. Make sure you have practice sessions with your employees on handling phone shoppers and families that want nothing but Direct Cremation. Have them trained, knowledgeable, and ready to be as sharp with a cremation family as they would be with a family that called and asked how many copper caskets you have on hand.

Provide your staff with the skills they need to drive success and help increase profits. Remember, it’s costs you nothing to be nice to your employees. A simple, “Job well Done” can go a long way in helping that employee feel that what they are doing adds value to the company and gives them the confidence they need knowing they have the support of their Boss.


Read 3604 times Last modified on Saturday, 29 June 2013 21:48
Mike Nicodemus

Mike Nicodemus currently serves as Vice President of Cremation Services for NFDA and is the former Vice President of cremation operations at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Homes in the Tidewater, VA area with a 55% cremation rate consisting of eight funeral homes, two cemeteries, and a crematory.

He is the Immediate Past President of CANA and served as Chairman of their Crematory Operations Certificate Program (COCP) for eight years. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science where he is an alumnus.

He is licensed to practice in three states which includes Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. He has provided private on-site staff training at various funeral homes throughout the country.

Mike is a highly sought after speaker on the National and State levels and has been retained in numerous lawsuits as an expert witness in various cremation cases for funeral homes and crematories. He is the author of the Cremation Operations Manual published by Kates-Boylston and has been featured or quoted in numerous articles including, USA Today, Newsweek, ABC News, BBC News, and the New York Times.


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