May, 2018 Exemplary Service Blog 1
The men and women at Golden Rule funeral homes lead their businesses with compassion, dignity, and the cornerstone philosophy of “service measured not by gold, but by the Golden Rule” (Read more about OGR members here).  As funeral homes treat families with respect, they inevitably make a positive impression, which can lead to return business, word-of-mouth referrals and good reviews. Getting feedback from families is a great way to find out whether families received the service they deserved.

Each year, the 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 shared how they go above and beyond and make a positive impression on the families they serve.

3 Tips for Making a Positive Impression on Families

May, 2018 Exemplary Service Blog 2Don’t Just Offer Good Service, Offer Thoughtful Service


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Photo: Jack and Lisa Davenport

Advice from 2018 Exemplary Service Award Winner Davenport Family Funeral Homes and Crematory of Crystal Lake, IL

“We believe they [families] appreciate the thoroughness of our funeral directors during the funeral arrangements as well as the compassion that our staff shows, from our administrative personnel to our visitation attendants. The death of a loved-one is the hardest time a family goes through.  We realize this and make it as easy for them as we can when planning final disposition and services.  The families know that we care and will do all we can to alleviate their burden. Families appreciate this because it’s thoughtful service that isn’t often seen in this day and age.”

Takeaway: Planning a funeral service is an overwhelming event for families. Even the smallest details can seem stressful. Families can sense when someone is being genuine. You can do little things to show them compassion and respect like offering your condolences, holding the door open for them, or helping them fill out paperwork. No act is too insignificant when done in a thoughtful manner.

May, 2018 Exemplary Service Blog 4Don’t Do the Minimum, Exceed the Family’s Expectations


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Photo: Veronica Weymouth and Weymouth Funeral Home Staff and Family

Advice from 2018 Exemplary Service Award Winner  Weymouth Funeral Home of Newport News, VA:

“We try to zero in on their loved one’s life and what made their loved one unique. We are firm believers that each service should reflect that person’s life, and we try to go beyond the families’ expectations. We like to say, “We will make that happen.” Whether it’s a Dixie Land band escorting the casket to the grave or releasing lit Chinese lanterns from the funeral home lawn at night, we are willing to take those extra steps to make their experience special and memorable. Some folks only want something extremely simple, and we honor those wishes as well.”

Takeaway: Help families honor their loved ones by making sure the service reflects who their loved ones were. Incorporate details that exemplifies the personality of the deceased or the wishes of the family like art, poems, live music, a balloon release, a card game table, etc. Whether the detail is big or small, going above and beyond is always appreciated.

May, 2018 Exemplary Service Blog 6Really Listen to the Family


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Photo: Joseph Eugene Pray, Joseph Tyler Pray, Joseph Ernest Pray, and the Pray Funeral Home staff

Advice from 2018 Exemplary Service Award Winner Pray Funeral Home, Inc. of Charlotte, MI:

“Listen to the family. It is important to determine the single most important concern, thought, desire or impression in their minds. Once we know what their first priority is, we take all the extra steps to achieve this goal and beyond.”

Takeaway: Really listening to the family is the only way to truly know their desires for the funeral service and how they want to honor their loved one. Through listening, you can discover what families care about most and do your best to fulfill their top wishes. Make note if they mention something more than once, and tune in on any special requests. Families appreciate when you pay attention. 

ShutterBug Headshots Austin TXBy Denise Rodriguez

Find out whether families in your community are leaving with a positive impression of your funeral home by joining the Family Contact Program. For more information or to sign up, visit or contact OGR’s Family Contact Manager at or 800-637-8030.