Changes in the funeral profession – progress!



Changes in the funeral profession – progress!

I have noticed, over the years, numerous things of course but changes to and in, the funeral profession are dramatic. Traditionally, not only slow to change but almost opposed to it, the ‘trade’ has been ‘caught out’ by the advance of the internet (in my opinion).

Apart from the terrific costs that website design and production attracts, I remember (almost), resisting the ‘online’ presence quite a few years ago.

As a small funeral company/provider, having the budget to compete with national businesses is impossible: having an IT department to serve numerous outlets easily justifies the expense.
The small funeral business owner used to have to, if not compete, at least keep-up with legislation on numerous fronts. Disabled Access, Staff Policies, Health and Safety, Risk Assessment and Management, First Aid, Customer Safety, Access and Advertising then, along came the internet!

Having observed the American ‘take-over’ back in the 1990’s and their subsequent withdrawal back across the Atlantic Ocean (the British didn’t ‘take to’ their different ways), wondering if the internet in the funeral profession would succeed, now looks quite amusing.

When first offered a ‘two page’ website for £400.00, I almost became one of my own customers!
Then of course came the ‘six-page’ for anything up to £2K !! I remember designing my own ‘Home’ page to save money and it was quite good – necessary? Who knows but today, without  a doubt in the world!

So, for us early pioneers or, those hopefully with the vision, paving the way was laboriously hard. Compiling articles for all the processes we are involved in was time-consuming and the fact that we were breaking new ground, has now been left so far behind, you have to wonder its worth but, like all progress, looking back is illuminating and you did what you had to do.

Out-performing the ‘opposition’ nowadays has also changed. Not only do all funeral directors tell you ‘How to arrange a funeral,’ numerous ‘other’ organisations do too. From hospitals, government organisations, charities and people who you wouldn’t imagine to be in any way related or connected to the business, are there, providing the same type of information.
The cost is immaterial, the benefactors are you, the public and of course, me, too.

I can simply search the internet to provide almost any answer to any question despite the fact of my ‘formal’ training or not – all I have to do is sit there with an internet connection and, answer away.

The public gain is extremely fortuitous. That I have the capacity to research an, unfamiliar to me, church, verger or church warden is so different to how I grew in the business but often, not always, an efficient solution to your, the public’s, ever-increasing exploration of how to be different, to be, individual.

The funeral director’s website issues have also changed. Supplying ‘you’ with information has changed. It is there of course but are you in need of, or willing to, read it?
Since the demise of Netscape and early versions of Internet Explorer and the battles that took place for rankings, the battlefield is now for a presence on ‘Page 1 of Google!’

OK, of no interest to you but our sheer lack of patience or our extreme busy-ness makes ‘scrolling’ undesirable apart from the screens we are viewing which make life-on-the-move so inviting but the full web page as viewed on my ‘little ‘screen, sure is annoying – thank heavens for mobile apps. and ‘touch-screens!’

To continue with the battle, Google ‘wants’ original content from the web provider and lots of it.
We, the consumers, have settled for the actual design of every website – that was simple wasn’t it? At least it’s a standard we are all familiar with and it works very well so that’s great, not much individuality there but, practically, great.

That we, as funeral directors, are battling in the background for these placements is also immaterial to you but, very important to us; you simply need the information immediately, yes, you will look further when decisions regarding pricing arise but by then you will be an informed user with pertinent questions, the myths and mysteries have all but disappeared and that, is progress!

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