During a recent funeral pricing debate on Face Book, a funeral director actually made the statement “we give better service.” I have personally been part of conversations with both funeral directors and funeral home owners about this very statement. Fasten your seat belts, let’s take this topic for a spin.
When I hear “we give better service” my first thought and response to the statement is “what does your firm do that that other firm does not?” Usually there is quite a pause of conversation because the person making the statement actually has to think about what they said and provide some factual basis for their position. I have heard with my own ears; “We have new carpet in our chapel…our chapel is bigger…our fleet is newer…the water bottles we give out at graveside has our name on it…we have a bigger parking lot…they wear different suits/ties…we care more…and we have more staff on a service.” My ALL TIME FAVORITE is “they don’t even have an organ”…how in the world did the State Board issue that firm a license?
My responses to such ridiculous blithering is “what type and year was their carpet installed, what are the dimensions of their chapel versus yours, what year models are their cars, does your name on the water bottle make the water taste better, how many cars will their parking lot hold, what color suits/ties do they wear, the other firm cares less…how many staff dictates a better service and of course how in the world do they provide music there without an organ?” While the other person is pondering what I asked, I throw the grenades; “how many services have you attended at your competitor and if they have such inferior service, why is their market share increasing?” Sort of a glazed look comes over their eyes, but no answer.
Does “we give better service” mean that a huge chapel like St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City gives better service than a country church like my family church, Indian Field Methodist in St. George, SC? By the way, St. Patrick’s parking is terrible and many Indian Field’s attendees park on grass. Can an attendee of services find God in both places?
How about an analogy in the restaurant business? Does the famous Chic-fil-A “my pleasure” culture with $5.00 chicken sandwiches/fresh flowers on their tables pale in comparison to Morton’s of Chicago’s fine dining, linen and expansive menu? Is the customer at Chic-fil-A any less full or served than the the Morton’s customer? Crickets. Basically just mindless chatter with absolutely no basis. I know what some of you are thinking, “you get what you pay for.” That’s my next post topic…stay tuned.
I have attended services at all sorts of funeral homes across the country…I have seen mistakes made at both. Family cars all lined up in disarray to actually leaving an old woman in a limousine after services were over back at the funeral home (this was at a huge several location funeral home always “crowing” serving since Sherman burnt down the South). Just because a visitation at a funeral home has an old man opening the front door for you…pointing to an old lady across the foyer…and she points/directs you to another old lady down the hall…which she points you to another old lady standing at the register stand, and after you sign the book she then points you to the old lady in the casket…does not necessarily transcend into “better service.” Perhaps this funeral home would get high marks for an “evening senior day care center.” I have been to funeral homes with small staff and no one greeting at the door…but the visitation was lively…people laughing, hugging and conversing (even to the like of “Enter Sandman” playing over the music system). How would that song sound on an organ?
The point I’d like to get at here is “we give better service” is quite a far fetched and inane discussion point especially when the person making the statement has never attended the “other funeral home.” However making assumptions is always easy, but we all know what happens when we assume…Like I have been told all my life and have actually said to my kids; “don’t worry what so-in-so is doing, do it the best you can and move on.” Cheers y’all.