The story of Central England Co-operative Funeralcare and Frontline – Part One
“The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
– Lao Tzu
Step 1 – Where does it start?
It starts with an open mind and desire to provide an exceptional customer experience to each and every client, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
We first spoke with Central co-operative about our services at the CFSMA in Dudley, 2006. Following this initial meeting the senior management team visited Frontline’s offices and the conversation began… Over the following 9 years, many meetings, conference calls, testing and tweaking we managed to agree a way forward.
The Funeral industry is one steeped in history, a tradition as old as time: a family business run by a patriarch, the father, an upstanding member of the community a figurehead of the trade. The thought of handing over first contact with new clients, calls from families, to a third party can be daunting.
There is a time though, when life and customer expectation gets in the way. Clients in 2015 expect always on, no delay and connected. If their call goes to voicemail they move on.
“We sound much more professional than before. It’s also saved our staff time and energy, simply because they’re not disturbed at night so often.“
– Paul Harber, Alex Jones Funeral Directors
On a personal level, with all these expectations, is it so very easy for ‘it’ – the customer, the business, the reputation – to stand in the way of life. The connected customer demands more from you. They expect to get details of funerals at 02:00 on a Sunday morning. The internet and companies like Amazon have raised customer expectation. You must decide to lead from the front or keep things the way they are.
Central co-operative decided in April 2015 to ‘get on board’ with Frontline.
First stage was to define the process – what does Frontline currently do for other funeral businesses?
The senior management team joined our operators for an evening shift. Sitting side-by-side with our telephone operators they experienced first-hand what it is like to field the calls at Frontline. They also took the opportunity to understand the challenges of the operator. It was a very productive session.
It was such a great success. The team were really impressed with the quality of the staff, the resources and experiences that the team.