Many of the decisions that have been made over the years in business have been made by “gut feel”. Lots of business people, including those in the funeral business, have made lots of money by following their hunches. I was a little bit like that as in the 1980’s I didn’t have a lot of information on how my client families felt about the services that I provided, the amounts I charged, and the how are facilities we provided were accepted by the client families that we served.
Back in those days the best piece of data I had to determine how we were doing was our market share as counted by obituaries in the local newspaper. I made much use of that and if it was not going up what I thought it should be, then I used my hunches to make the improvements that I thought should be made.
Hey, that worked in the 1980’s when the evolution of what client families are looking for moved at a glacial pace. But, what about today when client families probably have many more options for their death care? If you don’t know what you are doing right or wrong at any given point you may be making business decisions that work right into the possibility that you are sending potential client families directly to your competition.
And, knowing that data is even more important in this COVID-19 world. Things are changing and some of the results of surveys we have seen show that.
One of the sponsors of Funeral Director Daily, that allows us to bring these articles to you is Johnson Consulting Group (JCG). One of their tools for knowing how the consumer is thinking is what they call “The Performance Tracker”. The JCG Performance Tracker tracks the performance of death care clients in conjunction with the provider who has served them and gives that provider a very good idea of their performance.
Johnson Consulting Group receives the tens of thousands of these Performance Tracker feedback reports over the course of a year and they encompass hundreds of participating funeral homes. From these they (JCG) get a general feedback on what is happening in the death care profession overall. And, as a service to our profession, they make some of those results public.
Here are some items that they have recently made public from the summation – at different points in time – of their 2020 Performance Tracker:
- Sales Mix is shifting. In the first six months of 2020, 61% of families chose cremation. . . that is up 6% from the number in calendar year 2019.
- Revenue per Service has came down. In April 2020, the average revenue per case was $4,079. . .that is 16% lower than the $4,881 average in 2019. This number reflects the fact that families that were not allowed to have funeral or memorial services many times chose a less costly alternative. It also reflects the shift to cremation cases.
- Total Family Satisfaction was difficult to get. As the pandemic continued through the summer and into fall, families were less likely to recommend their funeral home to others, often citing a comparison such as “it wasn’t as good as previous experience” with a focus on or problem with costs, or the way services were handled as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.
- Doing technology right is important. The limitations of a provider’s technology became a point of dissatisfaction as a single negative experience was often enough to generate a reaction: “Everything was perfect, except my experience with [some technology failure].” Issues with technology, live streams, recordings, music, displays and other features often added to an “already stressful experience of trying to coordinate a funeral during a pandemic.”
Those are just a few of the items the JCG Performance Tracker brought out. If you would like a complete report on the “Performance Tracker Analysis and the 2020 COVID-19 Impact” from Johnson Consulting Group you can get it here.
Johnson Consulting Group and their sister company J3Tech Solutions will sponsor Summit 2021. This year’s death care summit will take place virtually over four days from March 1 -4. You can take a look at the agenda and find a registration form for Summit 2021 here.
Below is a link to a production of a recent Funeral Nation episode where Johnson Consulting Group CEO Jake Johnson is a guest of hosts Ryan Thogmartin and Jeff Harbeson. In the short episode Johnson touches on the funeral business during COVID, acquisition issues, and talks of the upcoming Summit 2021.
More news from the world of Death Care:
- Shawn J. Stradford honored for the countless ways he serves others. Staten Island Live (NY)
- Harrison Funeral Home has new owners from Mountain Home. KTLO Radio. (AR)
- Russia excavates Syrian Cemetery. . searching for missing IDF soldiers. The Jerusalem Post.
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