If you’re looking to modernize your cemetery, there is no better place than to start than evaluating your customers and the value they see in your services. When customers are the focus of our modernization efforts then it will greatly lessen the risk of failure… and failure is a legitimate concern. Research studies on organizations attempting to implement new technology find that over 50% of organizations’ efforts fail to do so successfully. Why?

The reason for this may surprise you. We are often motivated and convinced to make improvements because of our staff, finances, operational efficiency, or regulatory compliance. Leaving our customers out of the equation altogether.

7 ways I’ve seen cemeteries increase customer value:

  1. Change your rules. Drop the rules that are offending and alienating your customer base. Create new rules that benefit the customer and lead to more revenue. What rules do you have that are insulting your customers?
  2. Offer more products & services with purpose.
    • How many more times are you going to say “No, that’s not available” or “No, we can’t do that” to customers? Is it really impossible? Are there no compromises you can make? Consider changing that “no” to a “yes” with service fees.
    • Think of the existing pain associated with the purchase of your current services, perhaps you can ease it with an extra level of service.
    • Aftercare. This is one incredible method. It makes lasting impressions on families and will do wonders for your customer loyalty.
  3. Segment your offerings by type of customer. Adjust your product offerings and pricing to be affordable to all. Establish Good/Better/Best packages to vary by level of service to establish larger margins when appropriate. If you have a one-size-fits-all mentality you may be losing customers who do not fit the mold! The power choice is critical to consumers, don’t give them any reason to find alternatives to your services.
  4. Be more involved in the community and local businesses. Get active in local chambers, clubs, local/youth sports, and popular events.
  5. Increase your market basket by motivating customers to buy more items at one time.
  6. Share your data. Get your grave records online, immediately! You are missing out on brand awareness, influence, authority, and marketable online traffic.
  7. Make the hard decisions. There are two primary reasons I’ve heard cemeteries out-right refuse to change in this area of adding value to customers.
    • Lack of talent. Employees in leadership positions without desire or vision for customer service.
    • Conflicts of interest. Many cemeteries have influential employees or board members with their hands in a competing business that encroaches upon the cemeteries’ ability to sell certain offerings such as- markers, flowers. These relationships although deeply rooted, are disastrous, and illegal in other industries for good reason.

Today, there really is no excuse for not knowing our customers! We have so many tools to help us. My next post on “How to really get to know your customer” will set you a good path. Remember, we want to modernize for the right reason – customer value.