Smith Family Funeral Homes is #1 in Arkansas reader poll



In my research into Funeral Director Daily topics I see lots of articles like this from around the country.  What made me stop and consider this article for publishing is not only my knowledge of the Smith family, but a thought I had when reading the article.  That thought being. . . “You can grow your business, and if done right, still portray the high quality services you were known for as a smaller, personal, funeral home”.


That’s what Jeff Smith has been able to do with the Smith Family Funeral Homes located throughout the Little Rock, Arkansas, region.  The article points out that through Smith’s acquisition methods he has doubled the case-load size of Smith Family Funeral Homes in a relatively short period of time — since 2019 — and still is viewed as the “Best Funeral Service” in the area by this newspaper’s reader poll.  In my book that is a function of management and company culture instilled from the top.


I think the Smith’s, and  a few others, have proved that customer service can continue at a high level even when funeral homes grow rapidly.  And, high customer service rankings should lead to increased market share when the customer-centric culture is driven from the top.


Smith Family Funeral Homes is operating in its 3rd generation of leadership and the article points out that current owner and manager Jeff Smith realizes that services are changing along with the demographics of death and funeral homes have to be willing to move along with those changes.  Here’s what he says in the article, “In general, services are becoming more tailored to the desires of the family and the deceased.  If you think of the Greatest Generation, the people who came through the Depression and World War II, they were conformists. All funerals looked the same. Now the baby boomers come along, and their whole thing is ‘I want to be unique, I want to be different. The personalization is to whatever degree the family’s comfortable with.”


I happened to attend a seminar at last year’s National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) convention in Baltimore that was focused on growing your business through acquisition.  Jeff Smith was the presenter and while I was pretty familiar with the financial aspects of funeral home acquisitions, I was impressed with his modus operandi of creating a “pipeline” of potential future acquisitions for his firm.


Smith’s “pipeline” comes through his taking about one day per month and visiting other area funeral directors. . . some of which may be his competitors.  He mentioned in his presentation that he asks those owners if there is anything Smith Funeral Homes can do to help them out in their operations.  By doing this he creates a friendship and, over time, some of those funeral home owners may decide to exit the business and one of the first people they call for advice, or possibly a sale, is Smith.  Contrast that with funeral home owners who are always competitive, like I was.  Those competitive funeral directors probably don’t get that call from the neighbor funeral home at the time the owner decides to sell.


Here’s what Smith says about those visits and the possible end result when owners decide to retire, “As baby boomers are transitioning to retirement, their kids aren’t necessarily wanting to come into the business.  They saw the long hours -— you work nights and weekends, your phone rings all time.”  Better to sell to a local competitor than a national chain, he advocates to these potential acquisitions.


In essence, Smith’s “camaraderie” with competing funeral directors may be one of his secrets in growing his business so quickly.


Here’s the Smith Family Funeral Homes website


Funeral Director Daily take:  I’ve been fortunate to attend an annual Death Care group gathering where I got to know Jeff Smith and his late father, John.  They have been great ambassadors for funeral service, and in my book, just really good human beings.  I’ve been fortunate to count them as my friends.


Here’s an article Funeral Director Daily wrote in 2022 about both Smith Funeral Home acquisitions and the death of John Smith.


More news from the world of Death Care:


Enter your e-mail below to join the 3,300 others who receive Funeral Director Daily articles daily:

“A servant’s attitude guided by Christ leads to a significant life”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted in ,

Funeral Director Daily

Leave a Comment

[mc4wp_form id=9607]
advertise here banner