Business

Do you know your vendors?

Foundation Partners why I partnered

There is an incredible amount of trust in the death care business.  Families trust funeral directors to care for their most prized possessions — their loved ones who die.  And, good funeral directors know of that trust and do everything within their power to diligently carry out the requests of families who put that trust in them.

Funeral homes, sometimes backed by generations of fine service put their reputations on the line everyday by how they carry out the services that they are asked to provide.  And, in today’s world of high consumer expectations, owners and employees need to be striving every day to do the very best that they can.

Funeral homes, like families, have to put their trust in their providers and vendors also.  There are providers and vendors to the death care profession who are as diligent and guarded about their reputations as are consumer funeral homes.  They are diligent and guarded because they know of the trust involved in this business and they want to be your chosen partner in serving the needs of the consumer public.

These providers include, but are not limited to casket companies, vault companies, reception establishments and trade services such as embalmers and third-party crematories.  The funeral home usually is the conduit that moves the decedent or family to the chosen company of service.  For instance, families will choose the casket company or vault company that the funeral home offers in its selection room.  . . families generally don’t go looking on their own for those commercial items.

The funeral home may choose the company they align with for many reasons.  One of them might be cost savings.  Another reason may be quality. . . or timeliness of operation.  I’ve mentioned this before in this forum, that we always used Wilbert Vault Company simply because of their reliability.  I served families when many times after the funeral we would be traveling 30 miles to the burial.  We had to have the faith that the vault was there and set up or it would be a lonely feeling driving into the cemetery and seeing an open grave.  In essence, it was our reputation that was on the line with the consumer family. . . . and in 33 years. . .every time without fail. . . Wilbert was there.  Regardless of what it cost. . . the trust and reliability factor moved us to choose Wilbert.

I’m forever amazed at the funeral establishments that put their reputations on the line with what might be seen as a “not so dependable” vendor.  I mention that because just this week I came across two articles where a trade crematory service is more than likely causing reputational problems with otherwise trusted funeral establishments.  You can read the articles here and decide for yourself.

“Cremated relative given to wrong family who spread the ashes.”  In this case it appears that the funeral home was returned the wrong ashes from the trade crematory.

Ypsilanti Township crematory owner charged with improper body disposal.”  In this case it appears that the owner of this operation circumvented universal protocols in the cremation process.

The reputational damage that can be done to an otherwise outstanding funeral home if they end up with issues from services that happened in these cases could be catastrophic.  Especially if the funeral home is found to have used a sub-standard service based simply on the relative cost of that service.

Sometimes in ownership and management there just does not seem to be enough time in the day to get everything done.  However, those business partners and vendors you choose can make a life or death difference in the financial performance of your business.  Make sure that you get out to inspect suppliers and take a good look at products that come into your funeral home.  Businesses change over time and you need to have that peace of mind that your suppliers and vendors are building your business’ trust with consumers, not about to implode it.

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