Guiding mourners sensitively through services

For funeral directors, sensitivity comes with the territory, particularly when it comes to liaising with families to arrange funeral services with a personal touch. In the current climate, funeral directors are facing extraordinary pressures.

The Covid-19 pandemic has placed increased demand on services, which at the same time are also being severely affected by official guidance relating to containing the virus. This has added to the challenge of treating ceremonies with the compassion and professionalism required.

Funeral homes are currently unable to provide a traditional service as most European governments have placed limits on the number of people permitted to attend due to social distancing regulations. Like many other key workers, funeral directors have an important and sensitive job to fulfil and it is vital they can do it safely.

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As a result, funeral homes and undertakers need to be well positioned to respond to changes in health and safety regulations and update their communications quickly. This means being able to immediately create new signage to changing Covid-19 restrictions as whatever measures are adopted, funeral services need to balance the wishes of families paying their respects to relatives, whilst also keeping staff and mourners safe. 

This unprecedented environment makes it all the more important to have technology that ensures every aspect of the business runs as efficiently and smoothly as possible, not only producing the signage that can help funerals to take place safely, but also being able to provide the personal touches required. 

Following stringent official guidelines can be daunting enough in everyday situations, but it is undoubtedly even more so for those saying goodbye to a loved one, particularly in the current environment where comforting one another can only be done at a distance.

For example, to remind mourners and funeral home staff to stay a safe distance apart, self-adhesive floor stickers with messages can be placed in areas where people typically congregate such as entrance rooms and waiting areas. With appropriate signage in place, mourners can be guided through the ceremony sensitively, making the impact of such measures less unsettling. 

This flexibility also gives funeral services complete control over the messaging, allowing them to ensure guidance is communicated in a sensitive way while tailoring each service to the loved ones’ requests. 

Adding a personal touch 

As round-the-week operations, funeral service businesses must be able to provide the highest levels of customer care whenever required. Additionally, undertakers and funeral homes of any size or scale often need to look at how they can promote new products and services to increase revenue or acquire new business. 

Funeral directors should also respond creatively to relatives’ growing demand for personalisation and can do this by producing free standing banners that include photographs and the birth and death dates of the deceased. 

Memorial materials can be tailored specifically to each ceremony such as personalised ribbons for wreaths and floral tributes, memorial cards and service booklets. Often the same printer can be used by the funeral home for day to day printing needs such as labels, envelopes, business cards, and general documents printed on demand, without the need for specialist skillsets. This eliminates the cost and lead times that come with using a third-party print supplier.

Sensitivity and professionalism 

Providing services to bereaved families and loved ones requires a remarkable mixture of care and consideration. Achieving this requires even more support now that undertakers and funeral homes need to be adapting quickly to changing guidelines, implementing new guidance on demand and communicating that message in an appropriate way. 

While the Covid-19 pandemic has proven to be a difficult and challenging time for funeral services, they can ensure professionalism and empathy by providing the personal touch, creating a distinguishing factor for the funeral home while enabling funerals to go ahead safely and sensitively.

Javier Lopez, GM Vertical Solutions EMEA, OKI Europe

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