Aftercare is following up. It’s customer service. It’s thanking someone for choosing your firm. It’s letting a family know you care. It’s furthering relationships.
It’s also the best source of preneed sales.
Let’s just call it important and, I’ll even say, necessary to grow your business.
If all heads nod in agreement, why then do more firms not invest the time and resources to have an aftercare program? As I meet funeral home owners, directors, family service counselors, and others who have an interest in staying in touch with their families, the answer is unanimous: “we don’t have time.”
Most have tried some kind of follow up and, admittedly, couldn’t keep up with it so it fell by the wayside.
Getting motivated and starting an aftercare program is not difficult. What’s hard is having a consistent aftercare program. Big difference.
Aside from the clear bi-product of great aftercare (preneed), here are a few reasons why there is value in consistency.
Five Reasons Your Aftercare Program Must Be Consistent
- It Doesn’t Leave Anyone Out – Your families are going to talk. The good news is you can help the narrative by making sure every family is getting the same follow up. The last thing you want is one family saying you did something for them and not another.
- It Matches Your Slogan – Most funeral homes use some version of “we’re here for you in your time of need” in their marketing. That time-of-need doesn’t end when the services are over.
- It Provides Valuable Feedback – Feedback is oxygen for future growth. A simple follow up survey can help you learn what families really think of your services, not what you think they think.
- It Reinforces Their Decision To Choose Your Firm – Your families are not expert funeral shoppers. If you served a new family, they chose you based on whatever information they had at the time. Your follow up will reinforce they made the right decision and that makes it easier to recommend you to others.
- You Don’t Have Competition – Aftercare is the only place you don’t have competition. You’re not competing with other firms. That family is all yours to wow or disappoint. It’s entirely up to you.
Some funeral homes mistakenly think that to provide aftercare you need a comprehensive program with a dedicated person having a degree or experience in grief counseling. While a program like that would be optimal, that thinking, or the inability to see other ways to reach out to families, causes missed opportunities to build relationships and position yourself to serve that family (err, customer) again. Whatever program you have, from simple to comprehensive, it just needs to be consistent.
Interestingly, in our world we call it “aftercare,” and in any other business it’s called “customer service.”
Put that way, could you imagine a company not providing customer service because they don’t have time?
Ellery Bowker is the founder of Aftercare.com, an automated follow up program for funeral homes and cemeteries. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org