What Families Appreciate About Funeral Service

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Learning what families appreciate about your service is an important part of your funeral home business. Positive feedback can help you figure out what not to change about your funeral home and what families appreciate most. Good feedback can also lead to return business and referrals.

Each year, OGR awards the Exemplary Service Award to three funeral homes who have received positive family feedback through the Family Contact Program. This year, OGR asked the winners to share what their clients appreciate most about their funeral homes’ services.   

  1. Families Appreciate Respect and Professionalism.
Shown: Louis G. Aloia, Rosemarie A. Aloia, Andrea R. Gilkes of Aloia Funeral Home

2019 Exemplary Service Winner
Aloia Funeral Home, Inc. of Garfield, NJ

In owner Louis Aloia’s words, “According to the Family Contact surveys, the families we serve most appreciate our attention to detail. Our staff arrives at all removals in a suit and tie, no matter what time it is.  We receive many phone calls from families who can’t believe the respect they were shown.  Families also mention how much they appreciate our integrity in handling business affairs.” Aloia Funeral Home strives to show respect and professionalism to every family they serve and families notice.

Takeaway: Paying attention to even the smallest detail and finding ways to incorporate professionalism into each step can go a long way with families and show you care about their experience. You may not choose to wear a suit for a removal, but find other ways to demonstrate respect and assure families that they are putting their loved one in the right hands. 

2. Families Appreciate Time and Space

Shown: Roger Richie, Suzanne Hayes, Dan Heaman, Frank Heckler of John L. Ziegenhein & Sons Funeral Homes

2019 Exemplary Service Winner
John L. Ziegenhein & Sons Funeral Homes of St. Louis, MO

Owner Roger Richie explains, “Families appreciate that we educate them and offer options for them to make decisions without any pressure or expectations. We take time to complete the arrangements & services and to not rush clients through the funeral planning process. Our clients highly value the separate room we provide for each family’s food & beverages during the visitation—one equipped with a refrigerator and a microwave.”

Takeaway: We know that losing a loved one is an overwhelming experience. In order for families to make decisions and grieve without feeling rushed, they need time and space. Find ways to give families privacy and let them know that you are in tune with their needs

3. Families Appreciate Efforts to Honor Their Loved Ones

Shown: Kenneth McDonald, Stephen L. McDonald, Sr., Ann McDonald, Stephen L. McDonald, Jr. of McDonald Funeral Home, Inc.

2019 Exemplary Service Winner
McDonald Funeral Home, Inc. of Picayune, MS

Owner Steve McDonald notes the following: “People value the care and concern our staff shows through the planning process and appreciate having a service that honors their loved one in a meaningful way.”

Takeaway: Showing an entire life in one ceremony is an impossible task, but you can help a family honor their loved one by incorporating personal details that help reflect their love one’s life. Many families enjoy showcasing their loved ones’ hobbies or sharing memories of their loved ones through stories and pictures. Any detail that reminds a family of their loved one like a favorite flower, color or song is something that can be incorporated into the service and will be appreciated by them.


By Denise Rodriguez, OGR Family Contact Program Manager

Find out what families appreciate about your funeral home 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.

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