I’ve worked in the answering service industry for 14 years. I admit that I was a little skeptical that Directors’ Choice would see much acceptance of our new Live Chat offering that we launched before the holidays. My name is Steven and I am in my mid-forties. I still handwrite personal cards and I walk into a co-workers office when I want to chat. Therefore, I figured that we might see a few people use it to ask for directions or the time of a service, but I didn’t see anyone turning to chat for something important like a first call.
Recently, though, I learned that I can still be surprised. Technology is indeed changing and enhancing the way we communicate with one another, even within the funeral industry. I had an experience that demonstrated clearly just how much communication technology has shifted how we manage our lives.
I visited a cousin at her condo complex during the holidays. When I tried to buzz her, I discovered that the call button didn’t work. A few years ago, I would have either had to stand in front of the building and yell for her to come down or go searching for a pay phone (remember those?).
Now, I simply texted (BBM’d) her to come down and meet me. Once I was inside the lobby, a woman in her 80’s who was getting around with the help of a walker stopped my cousin and asked for help. In the basket of her walker was her iPad and it seems she needed a little help chatting with her grandson!
This lady has probably seen the world go from switchboards with operators, to party lines with rotary dial phones, to push button phones and, now, Smartphones. She has kept up with the world! Wow, that was an AH-HA moment for me!
When I came back to work after the holiday break, I was amazed to see our live chat results. Our agents had handled a number of first calls via live chat and had turned pricing calls into first calls. Who would have thought 14 years ago (or even 5 years ago) that the technology of live chat would allow a grieving family member to feel more comfortable in how they reach out to a funeral home during one of the most difficult times of their lives? Our experience shows that to be the case though.
And the experience is not diminished by being conducted through a live chat window. Our stellar staff is still able to convey the empathy and compassion that Directors’ Choice has become known for since day one of operation.
So, long story short, after seeing how well we are able to look after families on behalf of our funeral home customers through our new Live Chat offering – I am a believer! (Don’t worry, Auntie, I will still write you a letter with pen and paper.)