John McQueen

July 20, 2021

Survey Says…Cremation is Still a “Burning” Desire

How do you ignite a conversation in a room full of funeral directors? Toss in the word “cremation.” It will spark conversation—some good, some bad. But in all cases, you will witness myriad emotions. It may be hard to believe that some funeral professionals are still adamantly opposed to cremation. Rather than embracing the opportunities that can be found in cremation, they are still fighting for a return to the way things were “in the good old days.” For most of us, we recognize those days are gone, and it is time to embrace ways to create opportunities with cremation families. According to the recent Performance TrackerTM Analysis: 2020 COVID-19 Impact Report, 55% of all cases in 2019 resulted in cremation. During the recent COVID pandemic, our industry saw a 5%–10% increase in cremation disposition cases for 2020. Although cremation […]
June 23, 2021

A Beacon of Hope

Position your firm like Lady Liberty and earn the trust of your community. The year was 1876 and America was celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence when the French government presented the United States with a gift to honor the celebration. The colossal neoclassical sculpture known as Liberty Enlightening the World (the Statue of Liberty) was created by French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, who crafted it from sheets of hammered copper. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, who designed and constructed the Eiffel Tower, created the steel framework that became her endoskeleton. This gift of friendship between two nations was dedicated October 28, 1886 and became known fondly as Lady Liberty. It would become a beacon of hope for millions of immigrants arriving in America via Ellis Island. She also became the epitome of the American dream, one based on the […]
May 25, 2021

Bringing Value to the Customer Equation

“I had to live in the desert before I could understand the full value of grass in a green ditch.” – Ella Maillart I share this quote because it richly describes the relationship between today’s consumer and the funeral profession.  The value of the services we provide are often unrecognized by the consumer until long after the loss.  Like the woman who lived in the desert, the survivors need to travel the grief journey to fully appreciate the meadow that can be found with proper planning and guidance. Yet, the unfortunate reality is that the lack in value for the consumer is often a consequence of poor training on our part.  As a profession, we must be able to clearly articulate the value we provide through the services, facilities, and products we offer.    Let me share a quick example: We’re […]
April 22, 2021

Phone Skills: Building Effective Relationships

Technology has taken the world by storm, especially in the areas of communication.  Today, we have a multitude of ways in which to connect with our customers, from email to text to instant message to FaceTime and more.  Yet, the number one form of customer contact is still the telephone.  Although 82% of our communication is done telephonically, it is also the single largest means of communication that lacks staff training. Professional telephone etiquette can impact a positive first impression, influencing a customer’s behavior and actions toward a business.  As my father always said, “you never get a second chance to make a great first impression!”  If the first interaction most customers have with your firm is over the phone, should you dedicate ample time to train your team to make that impression the best one possible. According to the […]
February 22, 2021

The Future of Green

Consider additional growth paths to draw coming generations, some of which are already exerting a huge influence on their aging parents. When we think about “going green,” our minds are often directed to today’s “green movement” or, as some call it, “green revolution.” But going green is not a new concept. Although many think the movement began in the 1970s after the conclusion of two world wars and a shift in the United States from an agrarian society to an industrial society, a green movement also began in the 1830s and was defined as a movement to protect the ecosystems. Still earlier versions of green movements began centuries prior, when countries such as Germany, France and England began practicing sustainable forestry management during the medieval period. Communities in Asia also practiced soil conservation through terrace farming and other agricultural practices […]
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