According to a survey conducted by the National Funeral Directors Association in 2002, the most common reasons people gave for choosing a funeral home were location (78 % of respondents), reputation (71 %) and that it previously served the family (70 %). Only 36 % cited price. Perhaps you could change your location and/or add more funeral homes to your network but, excluding those options, you have the most control over your reputation and over the prices you charge. In order to draw consumers to your funeral home, you must maintain and promote your good reputation as a quality deathcare provider who charges reasonable prices.
Now we will assume that you provide excellent service to your clients. People are pleased with the way you cared for family members during their time of loss. NFDA’s most recent national consumer survey indicated that 88 percent of Americans are willing to provide feedback to the funeral homes that have served their families. What are you doing to offer opportunities for feedback to your clients? Is there a publicly accessible forum where your customers can easily share with others how well you took care of them?
One place where reviews can be collected and shared publicly is on your funeral home Facebook business page under the Reviews section on the left side. When setting up a business page, you have the option to leave the Review section visible, or to turn it off (removing Star/Review ratings from your page can only be done by also removing Check-Ins and your business map in the About section). When the Reviews are visible, consumers have the opportunity to rank the business on a 1-5 star scale and to offer a verbal review comment. While many owners and funeral directors may be very uncomfortable providing this kind of opportunity for customers, the concern can be minimized by understanding that you can hide negative reviews that appear on your page. If you are confident in your customer service, you should provide the opportunity for people to write and read reviews. Without getting too technical, a business’ star ratings affect the algorithms that help determine whether the business will get increased organic exposure in the news feeds of its fans. It pays to have good star ratings!
You should encourage your satisfied customers to rate your service on your Facebook page. In addition to improving your reputation in the eyes of the public, positive comments can be utilized in your promotional materials, both traditional and online. It is important to monitor the ratings your funeral business is receiving. Make sure your Notifications in Facebook are turned on and that you are watching them on a consistent basis.
Comments that are extremely negative can be hidden. Of course, you should make an effort to contact the individual or family who offered a less than stellar rating in order to address their concerns and to find out how you can improve your service. It might be important to address a misunderstanding or concern publicly so others can see the nature of your customer service efforts.
If reputation is second only to location as to why consumers choose a particular funeral home, then it is critical to maintain a good reputation, and to share your reputation in every possible way. Having a great presence on Facebook, and utilizing the default Review system is a wise and relatively easy way to let the public know the great job you are doing. But you may be concerned that you have neither the time nor the resources to manage your Facebook page with the necessary vigilance. If this is true for you, you can turn to the experts at DISRUPT Media. Our exclusive four part FUNERAL Social Design Process includes constant real-time administration of your page. We monitor all activity, and we respond quickly, usually in 20 minutes or less. You can be assured that your brand reputation is maintained through our active management of your Facebook presence. Go to http://funeralsocial.com to find out more about the services we offer.
Mark Thogmartin, VP of Business Development at DISRUPT Media
Dr. Mark Thogmartin is a life-long educator, working with students from Kindergarten through the doctoral level. He has degrees from the University of Kentucky, the Ohio State University, and Andrews University. Mark’s book, Teach a Child to Read with Children’s Books, has gained wide acceptance among reading tutors and parents who are teaching their children at home. In addition to assisting his son, Ryan, at DISRUPT Media as Vice President of Business Development, he works part-time as a mentor of doctoral students at Capella University. Mark and his wife Donna live in Millersport and are the parents of three adult sons and the grandparents of two beautiful granddaughters.