Probably more so than I can ever remember, funeral directors, funeral homes, and the North American funeral is being written about in 2020. And, in general, the topics seem to be all related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems to me that the topics are funeral homes being extremely busy, families dealing with death without being present, or the technology wave coming increasingly rapid to a historically slow changing profession.
And, it seems that these three topics all are woven together. . . especially the latter two thought processes about grieving without being present and the advent of technology to help family members through that grief. There is no doubt that funeral homes are trying to give families what they need and want through technology offerings such as Zoom funerals or live streaming of funerals.
If you are like me and are associated with funerals in your community, you have probably heard about really good results from some technology offerings and you have probably heard from friends who were disappointed with the level of professionalism certain live stream funerals presented to the funeral going. . . through livestream . . . public.
As to some of the bad presentations. . . it is not as though the funeral home intended for it to be that way. It just appears that all technology and the way funeral services are livestreamed is not equal. And, I would argue, that funeral homes can’t get so involved or infatuated simply in doing the productions that they don’t continue to strive for the best possible results on them.
To that end, it was enlightening for me to read this article from the Toronto Star. It involves a family who worked to produce a “funeral” for their mother in the absence of physical togetherness and because of “distance” caused by social distancing rules. As the title says, “Mom’s virtual memorial was beautiful and gave us the closure we needed”, they found the work necessary to pull the service together grief release in its own right.
I would suggest you read the article as I believe it contains thoughts and ideas we can all learn from as to what made the production possible and meaningful to this family. For instance, they mentioned that YouTube worked well for musical hymns. They suggested using a platform such as Zoom where you can purchase “space” for enough people to watch the service and then join in a “coffee time” upon opening their microphones after the service to communicate with each other.
They suggested keeping the service to less than one hour and they suggested appointing “ushers” to control the technology and let “people in”. They also suggested that some people will just miss the live stream so a recorded service is a good idea.
Finally, they mentioned that all live-streaming is not created equal. Consumers should look for operators who do this well.
As funeral home owners and operators we need to take this article seriously. Remember when you thought it was the manicured lawn, beautiful building, or white glove treatment you gave families that you believed brought the customers to you? Moving forward, it could be the way the service is live-streamed or archived that builds business.
Make sure you know what the public thinks of your abilities in this realm as I suggest that as we move a little farther down the road, even post-COVID, that technology offerings and a funeral home’s competence in it will continue to move up the ladder as to reasons people choose a funeral home.
Webinar TODAY: “10 must knows from 2020: Everything funeral professionals need to remember from an unforgettable year”. This webinar from Disrupt Media tells us to celebrate what we have learned in the past 12 months and figure out how we can apply that to the next 12 months. TODAY at 11 am Eastern Time, 10 am Central Time. . . .Register here.
More news from the world of Death Care:
- Chassell Township Cemetery adds new green burial sites. The Daily Mining Gazette (MI)
- Should funeral home employees be the first to get COVID-19 vaccinations? Springfield News-Leader (MO)
- Consultant who signed cremation forms without examining the bodies is struck off. British Medical Journal (Great Britain)
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