Funeral Home Experience Innovation

In my last newsletter, I discussed how my clients who have innovated their funeral experience as part of our marketing projects always succeeded in growing their business. In this newsletter, and the next few, I’ll elaborate on funeral experiences and why/how to create them.

If you’ve spent your career in funeral service, you might be wondering,” what the heck is an experience?” The following true story will help illustrate the concept.

We took a family vacation to Disney World many years ago. My wife had been there as a child, but it would be the first time for the rest of the family.

We pulled into a parking lot and started making our way toward the gates. The kids were extremely excited. Ok, that’s an understatement. On the excitement scale from 1 to 10, they were around 100.

But I have to confess that I wasn’t too excited about our Disney vacation. As we walked towards the gate, I mentally added up how much the trip had cost so far between airfare, car rental, hotel rooms, and tickets for a family of six for three days in the park (ouch).

My excitement level was around level 2, but I kept it to myself. Or so I thought.

We passed through the gates and started walking into the Magic Kingdom. Suddenly a young woman in a princess costume approached our family.

She ignored me and kneeled in from of my five-year-old daughter. She smiled at her, touched her chin gently, and said, “I’m so glad you came to see us, and I hope you have a magical time.”

The look on my daughter’s face was one of pure joy. She smiled at the princess, hugged her, and off we went into the park.

At that moment, I stopped caring about what the trip cost. The smile on my daughter’s face was priceless, and the cost was irrelevant.

We had three wonderful days at Disney and returned home safely.

The following week, I met with a client who had interned at Disney when he was in college. I described the princess scene to him, and he laughed and said, “oh, you got one of those.”

“Those what?” I asked.

My client informed me that the staff at Disney monitors the parking lot. If they see a parent walking into the park with a stick up his backside, they dispatch a princess to give them a moment.

The priceless moment that had meant the world to my family…was planned.

Knowing that it was planned didn’t diminish its value to me, but it made me curious about how and why Disney would do such a thing.

The answer lies in the fact that Disney is not in the amusement park business. They create, package, and market experiences that make people smile. They’re really in the experience of joy business.

There are dozens of differences between a service and an experience. But the one that I want you to understand today is that experiences include a plan for creating memorable moments.

Disney knew precisely how to make my daughter smile. It’s now twenty years later, and I can still vividly remember the look on her face.

Creating funeral experiences starts with having a plan for creating memorable moments.

Your plan needs to have two parts; the things you do every time and the things you will do when the opportunity presents itself.

For example, in a recent newsletter, I discussed the emotional impact of leaving a rose on the pillow when you do a removal. I had emails from at least a dozen funeral professionals saying that they do this for every family.

I also had a reply from someone who said he always keeps an American flag in his removal van. If he finds out that the deceased was a veteran, he drapes the body with the flag and creates a special moment for the family.

It’s important to have an overall plan, plus be ready to create memorable moments when the opportunity presents itself.

There’s a specialized skill called UX designer in the website development world, which stands for User eXperience. A UX person is an expert at creating websites that users love.

They use the term CX in the retail world, which stands for Customer eXperience. A CX person helps retail stores provide great experiences, so we don’t continue buying everything online.

For funeral homes to succeed, I believe we need to develop FX experts. That’s a Funeral eXperience expert who knows how to create memorable moments for families.

Creating memorable moments creates word-of-mouth marketing and will help grow your business.

After all, when you have a Disney princess story, you can’t help but share it.

Until next time


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