Roadway photos courtesy of Daily Cognition

Take a look at the traffic nightmare above.  Imagine navigating this unfamiliar road system without directions.  Locals might tell you how easy it is, once you understand the framework and the basic rules.  But you’re just passing through town and don’t have months to learn the system.

But imagine now that you could hire a ‘guide’ when you entered this maze and pay him/her to escort you through the difficult maze until you found your way to the other side.

This is the dilemma a consumer faces when a family member dies.  And you are the guide.

Funeral directors who claim that families know what they want and how they want it to be done and won’t accept any suggestions are missing the point.

When you enter the plate of spaghetti that is a highway interchange, you know where you want to go.  You may even have a dim idea of how to get there.  And while you might think a simple left turn is in order, you might find a situation like this one:

To turn from Rosanov Street to Khoroshev Street in Moscow you have to make the journey indicated in red.

The same is often true for funeral service.  And families have no idea of state statutes or basic rules of etiquette that you deal with on a daily basis.  It is your job to guide them.

But even funeral directors who understand their role as ‘director’ and ‘guide’ too often forget that most families have never “been this way before.”

So you have to explain why you’re taking certain steps.  You have to be aware that they need extra reassurance.

Because even though you’ve buried ten beloved grandfathers this month, your client family will only bury Grandpa Jones once.

People are more comfortable when they know what’s coming and what to expect.  So don’t let your families continue on a confusing journey.  Offer to be a guide and point the way to where they want to go.

They’ll thank you for it.