Customer feedback is a significant part of all business operations. In order to serve people well, you have to know what is important to them. 

Each year, OGR’s Exemplary Service Award is given to the top three nominees chosen by OGR members and is based on family feedback OGR receives through the Family Contact Program. This year’s winners had a lot to say about why family feedback is an important part of their funeral home.  


1. Feedback provides you with opportunities to improve your funeral home.

Owner Scott S. Stroud and Funeral Directors Duane Jarrell and Marie B. Smith

Scott Stroud of Graham Funeral Home in Chesapeake, VA (the first Exemplary Service Award winner) talks about how they used feedback from families to make a big change at their firm.

“In response to family feedback, we are in the process of expanding our facility to include a 1,700 sq. ft. reception center.  Many families have expressed the desire to have time and a convenient place for them to socialize with guests immediately following the service.  So, we heeded their requests and are now in the final stages of completing the banquet hall.  The receptions are something I never believed would “take off.”   However, I have found that not to be the case; more and more families are using our funeral home for this purpose.”

Takeaway: Many times, it is the families’ perspective that will lead you to the most fruitful changes. Feedback lets you know what families in your community value and ultimately what they want from your services.



2. Feedback gives your funeral home insight into families’ wants and needs.

Owners James and Bette Walsh and Sarah Walsh

Sarah Walsh of Faulmann & Walsh Golden Rule Funeral Home in Fraser, MI (the second Exemplary Service Award winner) shares the following about the importance of feedback:

“When a change needs to be made, the fastest way we know is through the survey program. The feedback helps us know if we need to change something or if we need to keep up with what we’re doing. We all know our business is changing, so it is very important to be ahead of what families want.”

Takeaway: Intuition can only take you so far. Gathering feedback from the families you serve will help you understand their wants and needs. Knowing your customer is an important aspect of any business.



3. Feedback gives you the opportunity to turn something negative into a positive.

John Christian (center) and funeral home staff

John Christian of Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home in Alliance, OH (the final Exemplary Service Award winner) speaks up about how they’ve used family feedback to make the most of a challenging situation.

“I view family feedback as our business compass. It is easy for us to hear the positive comments about serving families; however, none of us is the perfect funeral director or embalmer. What is critical is when we receive a negative remark on a survey, what we do about it. We practice the “Ritz Carlton” problem resolution.  We identify the problem and remedy it by sundown. It is incredible how this diffuses most situations.”

Takeaway: Feedback is actually a valuable tool that can be used in a variety of ways to improve your business. Both positive and negative feedback serve a valuable purpose. Positive feedback is not only uplifting, but also lets you know what you are doing right with your funeral home, and negative feedback can bring to light any necessary changes that need to be made.

What have you learned from getting feedback from families?

ShutterBug Headshots Austin TX

By Denise Rodriguez
Family Contact Program Manager

Read more about Denise.

Find out what families in your community want by joining the Family Contact Program. For more information or to sign up, visit www.ogr.org/family-contact-program or contact OGR’s Family Contact Manager at drodriguez@ogr.org or 800-637-8030.