The end of 2013 is quickly approaching and in the funeral industry, the business of serving families continues it’s evolution. 2013 presented challenges to funeral service providers; families struggling to make choices due to their personal finances, pressure from suppliers with price increases, the ongoing shift of consumer behaviors toward funerals, and of course competition from both local funeral and online companies.
At our funeral home http://www.familychoicefunerals.com we have been blessed in 2013 with substantial call volume and revenue growth over 2012. Last year’s strategies of director training, pricing, marketing, consumer/caregiver education, website and family experience enhancements have paid off. Currently, strategy sessions are taking place to meet the needs of the changing consumer, training our directors to meet the needs of families in line with our goals, growing market share in current areas of operation and development of new locations with other funeral home operating partnerships.
Consumer research conducted in 2013 with actual at need families in funeral homes provide invaluable information and consumer acceptance/need measurement. Even more important, the new services and products will enable funeral directors to offer their families services and products that fill current gaps in our marketplace. Social media marketing, messaging to funeral homes/consumers, process of presentation to both funeral homes/consumers, funeral home revenue enhancement, and customer service benchmarks are just some of the planning elements necessary for our collective success in 2014.
As Dwight D. Eisenhower said “plans are nothing; planning is everything.” As 2013 comes to a close, is your firm scrambling or planning for success in 2014?
I am continuing a blog I wrote earlier this week on the subject matter of stepping out from a comfort zone and into a space where innovation is created. The intent of the written thoughts are to generate discussion about others that have “stepped out” in the funeral industry to innovate, and explore the results of their efforts. There has been good feedback about this topic and I solicit your thoughts.
Refreshing the point, I am blessed to travel extensively and meet many funeral industry professionals, both licensed and not. A definition of innovate is “improve something with a new idea or procedure, or produce a product using a new or better way.” This actually defines G2 Funeral Group www.g2funeralgroup.com and their truly innovative brand of funeral service utilizing a proprietary operating platform.
G2 Funeral Group developed, owns and manages the Family Choice Funerals & Cremations brand of funeral homes www.familychoicefunerals.com . What’s unique about Family Choice is the brand was created from scratch utilizing Lean/Six Sigma principles for every aspect of its operations, named TouchPoints. Family Choice opened its first location January 2010 in Roanoke Virginia and it’s second in Virginia Beach May of 2010. The distance between the two locations is 4 hours…purposely to prove the TouchPoints operating platform. Serving over 280 families a year, the brand has gained consumer acceptance, recognition and loyalty in a very short time period.
Unequivocally, one of the best franchises in the United States is Chic-Fil-A. Their operating platform, training and culture, the service and product is the same from each location…always ending with “my pleasure.” So why do funeral homes with multiple locations under the same name/brand have such operational differences from each location? If a large firm has multiple funeral directors, why is there such a disparity of outcome in arrangements?
G2 has perfected the process with TouchPoints by each location functioning operationally the same making management simpler, training as a daily part of the culture, the proprietary arrangements provide that every family receives the same information, and that the entire process can be duplicated…anywhere. The Family Choice brand is now working with funeral homes that want to expand in their own or other markets in a quasi “franchise” type operational agreement, with the first new location opening in early 2014.