Creating Excellence in Customer Service: A Mandate for Funeral Homes

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.

Have you ever noticed how customer service receives a great deal of lip service in this industry? Across all of funeral service, in both small and large funeral homes, family-owned and corporate, many people hold the timeless thought that the "customer is king." Yet, despite this philosophy, funeral service is confronted with a service crisis.

Why? This article will present reasons for the service crisis and emphasize the need for funeral homes to proactively seek excellence in their day-to-day customer service delivery.

Exploring the Why? of the Service Crisis

First, let me acknowledge that the majority of funeral directors–owners, manager, and front-line personnel alike–generally want to deliver excellent customer service. However, observation suggests that there is often a gap between the desire to offer excellent service and the performance of that service.

Here are some reasons for this phenomenon:

Excellence in Customer Service: A Challenge

Owners, managers, and front-line employees must realize that customer service excellence is a strategic process. Lip-service, slogans on stationary and advertisements won't suffice in today's world. Families served and those you hope to serve must be at the center of all your management decisions, changed attitudes and customer-friendly behaviors.

Moreover, funeral homes across North America must realize that this service crisis affects all of them. Funeral homes in small communities sometimes think that customer service problems only apply to large funeral homes in large cities. This is not true. If it hasn't already, the service crisis will soon reach the smallest of funeral homes.

Without the necessary training–from the top level executive to the front line part-time employee–positive strides toward excellence in customer service are unlikely to occur. I challenge you to lead your funeral home staff in the direction of total commitment of quality service.