Everyone has their own ideas about giving and receiving great service, but funeral directors and staff are often expected to go above and beyond every time.

Each year, OGR awards three member firms with the Exemplary Service Award. Winners are chosen from comments received from families through the Family Contact Program. This year’s winners had a lot to say about the type of service they strive to provide and how they deliver great funeral service.

Their advice for being exemplary? See below.


Rodriguez Exemplary 1d Rodriguez Exemplary 1A  Rodriguez Exemplary 1B
                                                 James McQuade, Owner of Schuyler Hill Funeral Home, Bronx, NY

How do you know what a family wants if they don’t tell you? How does the family tell you if you don’t ask? Communication requires a delicate balance between both parties. Although funeral directors do this every day, many families are often new to the process. Families may think less of their experience if they feel out of the loop or confused by what is happening around them.

Takeaway: Inform families about funeral service procedures. Be transparent with your pricing. If a mistake is made, be straightforward with them and work together towards a solution. Double check the obituary for any errors and run it by the family again before sending it to print. Don’t be afraid to inform them of any potential mistakes; they will be grateful for your attention to detail in the end.



Rodriguez Exemplary 2d

Rodriguez Exemplary 2a   Rodriguez Exemplary 2b   Rodriguez Exemplary 1c

David Boone, President/Owner & Linda Holman, General Manager of Boone Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services— West Jefferson, NC

Every moment counts to a grieving family. Everyone wants their goodbye to their loved one to be as meaningful and perfect as possible. People often remember the negative before the positive, so making sure even the smallest detail is taken care of can keep you from providing an unpleasant memory of the service.

Takeaway: When every detail counts, even the smallest act of kindness can ease the greatest pain and will go a long way in making a lasting impression. Any gesture can make a difference, like offering a cup of tea or coffee to a tired family or walking a widow to her car after an arrangement conference. Follow Boone Funeral Home’s example and go above the call of duty to help out a family.



Rodriguez Exemplary 3c
Rodriguez Exemplary 3b  Rodriguez Exemplary 3a

Terry Plummer, Owner of Plummer Funeral Services, Inc. –Litchfield, IL

Flexibility is key. Each family wants to commemorate the passing of their loved one in a different way. Be prepared for traditional and nontraditional requests. Often times, keeping up with the changes in products and services can be trying, but families notice when someone is truly listening to them and doing their best to assist them in honoring their loved one.

Takeaway: Think on your toes! If you don’t offer something that a family truly wants, figure out a way to get it. Are they interested in biodegradable urns? Would they like to know more about green burial? Do they want the service webcast? If they ask for something you don’t have, tell them you will find it for them. If you go beyond meeting their needs, they will recognize your exemplary attempts.

By Denise Rodriguez,
Publications & Family
Contact Coordinator

Thank you to this year’s Exemplary Service Award winners and other funeral directors who go above and beyond every single day. We appreciate you. We know you work hard to make families’ lives easier. What other tips do you have for offering great service?