After attending the NFDA convention this year, we learned a lot about what’s trending in the funeral profession.
Here are three of the main topics we heard about: personalization, value, and final touchpoints. Personalization shouldn’t come as a shock, as it’s been widely talked about. But the last two topics may be a little newer to some funeral directors.
Let’s discuss these trends and what they mean for your funeral home and the families you serve.
When it comes to funeral planning today, personalization is a must-have. Families want and expect to have personalized funerals unique to their loved ones. And they want to be involved in the planning process.
At the NFDA convention, we spoke with Kurt L. Soffe, CFSP, funeral director and owner of Jenkins-Soffe Funeral Chapels & Cremation Center and NFDA spokesperson, about funeral trends. He said personalization is a big trend that’s important for both the funeral and memorialization process.
“I really believe what’s important to the families is they sit down and plan [the funeral],” said Soffe. “So we’re trying to create the event and the opportunity for them to sit down and combine these tributes because that’s where the memories start coming up.”
He also said triggering these memories is important for creating connections between the deceased’s family and funeral attendees.
For example, let’s say the adult children planned the funeral for one of their parents. Those attending the funeral may have known their parent but not the children. That’s where personalizing the funeral to trigger these memories comes into play. It creates a conversation and a personal connection between the children and the funeral attendees.
What exactly is value and how does it relate to the funeral profession?
To put it simply, families place value in their overall satisfaction with the funeral experience. Did the funeral meet or even exceed their expectations? Was it personalized to their loved one and did it accurately honor their life? Did it give them the opportunity for a final goodbye? These are a few of the many questions families may ask themselves to determine the funeral’s value.
Your funeral home can make sure families have a valuable funeral experience by going the extra mile. It’s the little things that add value to their funeral experience, from personalized displays to your staff’s comforting words.
But adding value doesn’t have to end with the funeral. By helping them through grief and memorialization long after the funeral, you can help them pay tribute to a life.
The memorialization process is where final touchpoints come in.
Soffe proposed an important question — “What does the family have as a final touchpoint to take home and to remember their loved one by?”
After the funeral, families still need a way to honor and remember their loved one. It’s important for families to have a physical reminder of their loved one. Your funeral home can help by giving families something personalized to remember their loved one.
For example, these are a few of Frazer Consultants’ personalized mementos:
- Crystal or glass holiday ornaments
- Tribute Videos
- Life Journey Candles
- Memorial stationery products
In five years, what will be trending in the funeral profession? How about 10 years? 20 years? Share your predictions in the comment section below!
Based on my experience as a Funeral Celebrant for a number of years, I predict the following:
5 years – More movement towards Non religious ceremonies will evolve, with more cremations, due to cost and lack of traditional cemetery space, in many locations around the World.
10 years – Religious funerals will be passe’ as people move towards Celebration of Life and/or Memorial Services, ceremonies will be streamed to guests not attending a service, but rather viewing them from the comfort of their own home.
20 years – Funerals, Celebration of Life and Memorials will be replaced with displaced small groups celebrating “Bob’s” life in a bar or home with a meal and a few drinks.
Finally, I predict that over the next 5 – 10 years that persons near death will start to create videos about their own life to be sent to their family and friends via email or Twitter or Facebook, upon their death. A sort of voice from the grave.