I spend a lot of time on the Internet, searching for funeral-related news, looking for funeral professionals and product makers to highlight, writing and answering dozens of emails everyday.

What I’ve noticed is striking and extremely disheartening:  there are a lot of badly designed processes, not only in the funeral industry, but in the rest of the world.

Ordering any product from an Internet site can be a very unpleasant ordeal.  Some companies create ordering and payment processes that seem designed to punish potential clients for wanting to buy their wares.

 If I have to run the guantlet before I can order your product, I’m going to search for an alternative.

In the funeral industry, websites designed to sell a funeral home’s ability to “tell a remarkable life story” feature ZERO pictures of real people!

I will say this ten thousand more times before my own funeral:  No one cares what your chairs and pews look like.  They want to know that you can handle the arrangements for a REAL PERSON.

If your website photos look like this, be afraid.  (Photos of Atchley Funeral Home)

Worse, some funeral websites require the user to click to another page (CONTACT US) to find a phone number for the firm. 

Even outside of the web, funeral processes are broken.

Most firms take personal information at the funeral home, prior to discussing the type of funeral desired or the merchandise needed.  Many professionals invite families into their home but neglect to give their new friends a tour of the facility.

Would you invite new friends into your personal home without at least telling them where the bathroom is located?

But taking death certificate information at the facility is even broken, both in when it’s collected and how.

I would immediately leave any car dealer who asked me to fill out a bunch of paperwork before I got to look at cars.  The same goes for furniture stores.

Wouldn’t you expect a lawyer to give you a consultation and time to actually choose him before he started gathering all your info.

But even worse (and less often discussed) is the insistence of many funeral professionals that death certificate information MUST be collected at the funeral home.

Some families have the foresight to bring many important papers, but for the majority, the sources of death certificate information will be sitting at the family home.  Asking them for grandma’s social security number should take place when they are AT HOME, not at the funeral home.

I suggest calling the family before their arrangement conference and getting these details.  Anything they can’t find right away can be brought with them to the arrangement conference.

A side benefit:  you’ll know a little more about the deceased after taking the vitals, which means you can better prepare to make suggestions and offer products that will appeal to the family and generate higher sales.

Start fixing those processes.  The consumer will appreciate it.