Customer Service

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 or contact OGR’s Family Contact Manager at or 800-637-8030.

How to Make a Positive Impression on Families

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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. Read the rest of this entry »

Nine Tips for Connecting with Funeral Shoppers

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by Mark Allen, CEO/Executive Director, OGR

Phone shoppers get a bad rap. But let’s face it—they’re simply trying to educate themselves about something they most likely know little about. Pricing is something everyone is familiar with, so it makes sense that most people will start in that area. Your job as a funeral professional is to get them curious about how different funerals can be from what they’ve experienced in the past. Granted, some phone shoppers will shut you down. That’s okay. Let them go. The worst they can say about your funeral home is that you tried to offer suggestions for an amazing and meaningful memorial experience.

Aside from face-to-face contact, telephone and email are the most likely means of communicating with prospective customers. Back in the days when I designed and conducted market research studies for OGR members, one of the most common complaints I heard was that funeral professionals are wonderful in person but are not always perceived as caring or helpful by telephone. The following are tips I’ve found that can help improve your chances of creating a bond with potential customers who call your funeral home. Most will also apply to email messages.  Read the rest of this entry »

10 Tips to Improve Your Electronic Communication Etiquette

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Blog ImagesIs etiquette too old-fashioned for digital communication? In an era where many social media, email and text users seem to put little thought into choosing their words, communication etiquette can set you apart with relatively little effort. In a business setting, that difference can take you a long way when building trust with current and potential customers. I’m often reminded of something I learned in college. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Family Feedback is Important

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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.   Read the rest of this entry »

Is Your Funeral Home’s Appearance a Problem?

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“The funeral home’s colors and décor are very dated and need to be updated.” ~ This comment was taken directly from a survey received through OGR’s consumer feedback program, The Family Contact Program.


Family Contact Participants often receive comments that help them improve their business offerings and practices. Through the blog series “Exploring Solutions with Family Contact,” members get better insight into services that might benefit their funeral home.

The last thing you want to hear from a family is that they enjoyed your services, but felt that the appearance of your funeral home was too outdated. The truth is that families care more about how your funeral home looks than you might think. The design and décor of a funeral home can affect the experience of your guests. Your funeral home’s appearance could be keeping your business from reaching the next level of family satisfaction.  In this week’s blog, OGR will explore the topic of funeral home renovation and what this means for funeral homes and the families they serve. Read the rest of this entry »