Yesterday I promised Glorianna Langely-Finch of Personal Wishes that I’d get around to answering her questions and giving some advice.  If you read my last post, about Deidre Blair of Final Reflections, you’ll get an idea how I feel about people who try to assist during funeral services, but I’ll elaborate here.

Glorianna, please read what I write with caution.  I have little experience with English funerals and the funeral industry in the United Kingdom.  The closest I’ve been to a English funeral home was during a recent trip to London when we passed a small town on the train to Hampton Court and saw a sign.  I snapped a photo of it on the return trip.  You can see it in the post, My Trip to London – Funeral Edition.

But I can speak from years of experience in the U.S. funeral industry when I say that few people are seeking another layer in the funeral process.

Consider the people already necessary for a simple burial.

1.  The hospital staff, nursing facility staff or hospice nursing staff.
2.  The removal personnel.
3.  The funeral director and his/her assistant.
4.  The minister or celebrant.
5.  Organist, pianist or soloist for the service.
5.  Family and friends.
6.  The cemetery salesperson or sales counselor.
7.  The Social Security (in the U.S.) office worker who will process a claim.
8.  Life insurance personnel.
9.  Bank associate (for fixing accounts after a death).
10.  Creditors (to notify of a death).

And that’s just for a typical service.  Imagine the funeral for a military veteran or someone involved in local charities or fraternal organizations?

Sadly, while a funeral consultant might be able to provide some important guidance during a difficult time, I keep wondering what funeral directors are doing after the death.

Are people in England getting such bad service from funeral directors that they need your assistance?

On the other hand, I can imagine your service might be very helpful to those who want to plan their final farewell in advance without involving a funeral director.  These folks might be unwilling to pay for services on a pre-need basis (can you do that in the U.K.?) or don’t want to be pressured by a funeral director into spending more than they can afford.

In the U.S., I can see a market for a simple pre-planning service:  a funeral consultant will help you get your papers in order, your wishes written down and various personalized services planned for a set fee per hour or consultation.

In this way, a consultant could sell “no hassle” consulting, without giving an open-ended invitation to drone on for hours.

To be fair, Glorianna, your website is pretty clear about the kind of services you want to help people arrange.  But I wonder why you haven’t become a funeral director, rather than attacking this need for better personalization from the outside.  Seems like you’ve taken the harder road.

Maybe I don’t understand everything you want to do, but I think you’ll get a lot of resistance from funeral directors.  And you’re going to have a hard time convincing consumers to add another layer to their already busy funeral schedule.

How close am I to your reality?  Let me know if I’m way off base.

This probably hurts a bit, because I’ve only detailed the reasons you’ll fail.  Sorry about that.  I’ll try to think of a few positive features over the weekend.

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