Forging a Meaningful, Pre-Need Connection With Your Online Guests
“No one wants to plan their own funeral,” says James Montgomery, OneRoom’s national sales director, in a recent interview. His frank admission is based on nearly 15 years of industry experience, including a decade-plus tenure at Service Corporation International. “You’re essentially planning the worst day of your life, so it's easy for someone to put off,” he continues. As funeral professionals, you recognize this hesitancy better than anyone.
Here at OneRoom, we strive to make the pre-need conversation that much easier for you and your prospective clients—without ever compromising empathy and respect. By providing key user insights, high-quality recordings, and the ability to broaden connections within your community, OneRoom can fortify your pre-need marketing strategy amidst a digitally transforming industry.
Starting the Conversation Virtually
In the wake of COVID-19, the entire funeral industry, like so many others, quickly realized the importance of the digital space. “If you can't see families in person,” says Montgomery, “the next best thing is seeing them virtually.”
While gathering restrictions are slowly easing, we still believe the virtual funeral service will continue to coexist alongside real-time memorials. With OneRoom by your side, you can ensure you’re never missing the opportunity to connect with guests in need, whether they’re seated in your pew or observing through a screen.
During nearly every OneRoomed service, your online guests provide their names and email addresses. This not only grants you visibility into who is attending the service online, it helps to facilitate a connection after the fact. “These are people who funeral professionals can reach out to,” says Montgomery. “It’s easy to send them something very soft: Thank you so much for watching. If you have any questions for us, we’d love to help. You're just as important to us as the families who walked through our doors.”
This is the first step in starting the pre-need conversation, but a significant one: Krause Funeral Homes and Cremation Services saw a 25% increase in call volume since implementing OneRoom in March 2020—a proof point for how virtual services can lead to promising new business leads.
Broader Connections With the Community
Funeral services are a time to unite and heal, to pay respects to a loved one while also connecting with those they’ve left behind. Oftentimes, however, they’re also an opportunity to reflect on our own life.
“Every time someone sees a funeral, in my opinion, most people are considering their own mortality, if not even just for a few seconds,” says Montgomery. “They might be thinking, What am I going to do if something like this happens to me?” As funeral professionals, you want to be the person attendees can turn to.
But what if a virtual guest is the one asking these big life questions? OneRoom makes it easy for you to make contact, ensuring that no one feels isolated and confused within a digital vacuum. Traditionally, the family was restricted to the four walls of a chapel, but, with OneRoom, the online family can defy geography—and so, too, can your pre-need offerings.
Furthermore, before a OneRoom memorial begins, virtual guests can often bring traffic to your website when they peruse your offerings. For Einan’s at Sunset Funeral Home, this led to increased interest in their bespoke services and provided more opportunities for funeral directors to engage prospective families.
Re-Experiencing the Memorial and Your Services
Grief transforms over time. Though the process is different for everyone, we all find ourselves in different stages one month, six months, or one year after a loss. When you’re using OneRoom, you’re able to provide your clients with a recording of the memorial service, which they can revisit on their own time.
“While some people don’t want to watch the service again because it’s just too painful,” says Montgomery, “for others, it becomes a healing mechanism.” The day of a funeral can be very overwhelming and people can miss a lot. “Once it’s the right time to re-experience it again, they can go back and watch the service and hear the eulogies.” It’s in these moments of re-experience that close family members and friends can more clearly reflect on the service, the grief process, and the future.
Oftentimes, continues Montgomery, it’s after viewing the recording that people reach out to the funeral home about their pre-need offerings. “They often think: The pastor did a great job, maybe now is the time for me to do this or I don’t want my kids to go through what I just went through, so I’m going to get this done.” A OneRoomed service recording allows mourners to reflect on their loss throughout the stages of grief—and, importantly, to remember and turn to your professional services once they’re ready.
Though discussing pre-need funeral arrangements lacks the excitement of planning a vacation or purchasing a new home, it’s a life event we all experience, and one that warrants the utmost care and attention. With OneRoom, we hope to make that vulnerable connection with prospective clients that much more comfortable, meaningful, and enduring.
Learn more about how OneRoom can digitally strengthen your pre-need strategy with continued compassion and sensitivity.