John McQueen

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 […]
February 21, 2021

Together Forever…Maybe Not?

Growing up I was exposed to many great television shows depicting life in a family business. Most are TV Classics that are unparalleled even today.  From Sanford & Son to The Jefferson to my all-time favorite, Dallas, each show was unique with mixture of business and family dynamics.  Some episodes were funny, some were sad, and others were downright unbelievable, but that is what made them great.  The realism they portray of life in a family business is more accurate than many will admit. Another show that depicts life in a family business, one which we can all understand well, was Fisher & Sons Funeral Home in the hit show Six Feet Under.  The show opens with the father, Mr. Fisher, who was the local undertaker, being killed by a bus when it slams into his new hearse.  The accident […]
January 22, 2021

The Royal Flush

When thinking about succession planning, I am reminded of the musical legend Kenny Rogers and his famous song entitled “The Gambler.”  The most iconic words of the song are “If you’re gonna play the game, boy, you gotta learn to play it right.  You got to know when to hold ‘em; know when to fold ‘em; know when to walk away; know when to run.  You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table, there’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.”  The sage advice that gambler gave the young man aboard the train one night is also sound advice when considering succession planning. Succession planning can be a real gamble if it is not done properly.  With proper planning, “every hand’s a winner”, but without it, “every hand’s a loser.”  According to the recent 2020 […]
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