This has not only further highlighted how difficult a time it is for the family and friends of those experiencing a sad loss but also the huge impact it has on the teams who interact with them on a daily basis. Every organisation we have spent time with has great people trying to do their best and wanting to place the need of the customer at the centre of what they do, despite the incredible emotional impact many are facing. Working on a bereavement department is one of the most challenging roles anyone will ever have.
We have listened to customer feedback, the employees of the companies we have worked with and have identified 3 key areas of the process which appear to cause the biggest issues for those having to contact businesses due to a bereavement.
1. Making it difficult to contact you
Do you offer notifiers a channel of choice? Are you dictating by default how you can be contacted?
The most common method of contacting a business to notify them of a bereavement is by phone. In many cases this is because it is the only contact method available. Given on average 21 different organisations will need to be contacted this can be a huge task, particularly having to repeat the same difficult conversation over and over again. In many cases there is not even a dedicated phone number for this and the notifier has to use a generic customer service contact number. This can result in not just lengthy calls but the notifier having to repeat themselves over and over again as they get transferred from one department to another. Using the telephone is also restrictive in the times when you can be contacted, with many businesses only offering traditional core office opening times. Our experience shows us that as many as 1 in 3 of the notifications that we receive through the DNS are made outside of office opening hours.
Some businesses may offer some form of digital channel or email contact option. Usually this will be to arrange a follow up contact and will not actually be to take the notification and a call would still be needed at some stage.
2. Asking too much detail and sharing to much information with the notifier
3. Try to see things from the customer side
- Give them choices of how and when to contact you.
- Don’t ask too much or share too much detail on the call.
- Allow time and space to deal with what is the priority.
Dealing with bereavement will always be one of the hardest aspects to get right. Understanding the bigger picture and providing options and the appropriate level of training to employees is the key.
We know from speaking with existing DNS clients, that the service makes all of the above much easier for both customers and employees. There is also the added opportunity to share and learn from each other and improve the overall experience.
We always welcome interest in the Death Notification Service from potential clients across all sectors and from businesses of all sizes. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you want to know more or even if you just want to have a conversation about how you could improve your current operating model.