Top 10 Characteristics to Look for in a Funeral Home
The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult life events that we face in life and it’s a shame that we don’t think about it enough.Whether you want to be complete with details about the funeral arrangements for your loved one right now or are in the midst of planning the funeral for a loved one, it is important that you choose the funeral home that works best for you.
Unfortunately, funeral homes are not created equal. It’s important to select a funeral home that will meet your individual needs and desires. Consider these 10 characteristics of a desirable funeral home as you draw up your funeral planning needs.
1. Possesses a Good Reputation
The first thing that you want to look for in a funeral home is a good reputation. The best way to determine this is to ask your family, friends, and neighbors for recommendations. You can also look at online reviews to get a sense of the quality of services that the funeral home provides. If you aren’t able to find any information about the reputation of a funeral home, that’s a red flag.
When we know a place has a bad reputation, we instinctively avoid it; we read the online reviews, we listen to other people’s stories, and we tend to value our own experience.
Specifically when choosing a funeral home, you must ensure that a reputable establishment possesses a good reputation so you can be confident in the care and service you will receive.
2. Employs Caring and Compassionate Staff
Provides Caring and Compassionate Services When you are faced with a difficult situation such as the death of a loved one, it can be extremely emotional and stressful. You want to be able to trust the professionals at the funeral home to provide you with the care and service that you need. You want to be able to trust the employees at the funeral home to be compassionate and caring to your needs, which will allow you to focus on your loved one instead of your needs. When you are able to trust the staff at the funeral home, you will be able to focus on the planning for the funeral of your loved one and the service that you want to provide.
As with any business you frequent, funeral home staff are treated with kindness and consideration especially since families are facing a particularly difficult time in their lives. Excellent customer service and authenticity are a large part of a funeral home’s reputation. If the staff doesn’t treat you well and with consummate professionalism, there’s a problem.
3. Communicates a Commitment to the Families It Serves
One of the best ways to determine the quality of services that you will receive at a funeral home is to ask the staff about their commitment to the families they serve. The best funeral homes will have a strong sense of commitment to the families they serve, and they will be eager to discuss their commitment to you. This is a vital point in your decision-making process because you want to make sure that you are partnering with a funeral home that shares your values and understands the importance of your relationship with your loved one. You want to feel like you are a priority to the funeral home, and you don’t want to feel like you are just another client.
No matter where you go, when you visit your local funeral home, you should have confidence in the commitment of the funeral home to the family. It is good practice to read a funeral home’s mission statement and history and to choose which of their policies you will abide by when visiting their facilities. These two pieces of information should provide you with a good understanding about a funeral home’s values and commitments.
4. Is Willing to Create a Unique and Meaningful Experience for You or Your Loved One
The characteristic that you should look for in a funeral home is the willingness of the funeral home to create a unique and meaningful experience for you or your loved one. When you are faced with a difficult situation such as the death of a loved one, it can be extremely emotional and stressful. You want to be able to trust the professionals at the funeral home to provide you with the care and service that you need. You want to be able to trust the employees at the funeral home to be compassionate and caring to your needs, which will allow you to focus on your loved one instead of your needs.
Renowned grief counselor, author, and educator- Dr. Alan Wolfelt says, “What is essential [when planning a funeral] is the life that was lived and the impact that life had on family and friends. To honor that unique life, the funeral must also be unique. Over and over families tell me that the best funerals are those that are personalized.
Personalized funerals and memorials are being taken up by families and friends who want to create a meaningful and healing experience for their loved ones.Does the funeral director offer helpful options and explain the benefits and pitfalls of each option in a way that you won’t find it anywhere else?
5. Offers a Good Location, Facility, and Services
The first thing to do when it comes to choosing a convenient location as the location of your funeral is to choose a convenient location for your preparations.
The second, most important consideration for funeral homes in general is their cleanliness and well-being. A good funeral home provides a space for a visitation, viewing, or reception in a reasonable, private location where the family can be comfortable. It is important to choose a funeral home that that is clean and well-maintained. It is to your liking, flexible, and it is to your specific needs when it comes to adjusting the décor to meet your specific needs.
Finally, confirm that your loved one’s funeral home offers funeral services, burial services, casket installation services, cremation services, and eventual cremation services (if desired).
6. Accommodates Religious or Cultural Needs
In the United States, the population seems to be becoming more culturally diverse, and it’s important for funeral homes to be able to meet these changes. This is something that you should always have a trustworthy funeral home to help you honor your loved one in accordance with your cultural background and religious beliefs. For other people, like everyone else, their origins and beliefs often determine who they are individually, and many seem to forget who they are if their beliefs are not affirmed each time they pass.
7. Values Transparency about Costs and Descriptions
Almost every business or industry that we as consumers engage with has a significant, mandatory fee structure. With this in mind, funeral homes are required to follow the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule. This law stipulates, when asked a funeral home:
- Must provide any consumer with a general price list when purchasing any product/service.
- Should inform consumers that they have the right to choose the funeral goods and services that they want (with some exceptions)
- You must also disclose, on the general price list, whether any particular item is required by state or local law.
- May not refuse or charge a fee to handle caskets purchased elsewhere.
- Must provide alternative containers (if cremation is chosen, alternative containers must be offered).
Ask for a specific itemized list of expenses outlining all of the expenses with the exception of travel expenses. This is one of the best places to start when it comes to cutting costs in the funeral industry. If you make plans without the stress of time constraints, you can save hundreds of dollars.
In short, look for a funeral home that has the ability to serve your needs and your budget.
8. Offers Grief Resources
During this time of loss, it is important to have a support system and a place to turn to. It is also beneficial to have a place where you can go to be with others who are experiencing the same thing. A good funeral home will have a grief counselor on staff who can help you and your family navigate through this difficult time. They will also offer resources and support to you and your family during this difficult time.
An important question to ask yourself is, 'Is this funeral home providing services beyond the funeral itself?' A good funeral home will be there for you even after the funeral is over. Look for an establishment that offers services to promote bereavement, grief support groups, in-home counseling support groups and educational materials to help you through your grieving.
9. Uses Up-to-Date Technology
It is no secret that the funeral industry is constantly changing and evolving. In order to stay competitive and provide their customers with the best experience, funeral homes are required to use the latest technology. It is important that you ask to see the funeral home’s technology system, and ask your funeral home provider to explain their technology system and how it will help you make the best decisions for your loved one. It is also beneficial to ask about the funeral home’s use of social media and mobile technology to better serve their customers.
The funeral industry is often said to be behind the times when it comes to technological advances, but there are new, exciting technological advances available for all funeral homes. More and more funeral homes are developing or promoting social media pages, creating or updating websites, helping families create memorial videos, or offering online funeral planning services. Some are even offering online funeral planning services.
10. Engages the Community with Education Programs
The funeral industry is a community-based business, and it is beneficial for funeral homes to engage their community in programs that educate the public on the funeral industry. A good funeral home will have educational programs that help the community better understand the funeral industry and the services they offer. This can range from hosting community education nights to partnering with other organizations to host educational programs. It is also beneficial to ask your funeral home what educational programs they are currently using or plan to develop in the future.
Finally, a good funeral home and its staff engage the community in order to provide a better funeral experience for the family. Does the funeral home adopt educational programs to help all staff make sense of estate planning and the importance of getting your affairs in order? Do they offer a Lunch & Learns tour to show the importance of funeral preplanning or a tour of the funeral home facility? Have they offered hospice continuing education or engaged in community events? The funeral home should be an advocate for education. When there is death, there inevitably comes to us an outpouring of information. But, education and preparation can be our ally, but that only happens if the funeral home engages with its community.