Sometimes change occurs slowly, other times it accelerates due to events and human culture. Up until 2020, the digital revolution has been slowly developing in the funeral industry, with many elements like websites, sales processes and video lagging behind many other industries. It is understandable, since so much of the work of caring for families during loss
was done in person by professional funeral directors.
The social distancing of COVID-19 has created rate of change that most didn't expect, but as a result it has thrust funeral directors and the businesses in which they work into a digital world that probably would have arrived 5 years from now. Many of the important activities that have to be accomplished following a loss have now moved virtual, and even as social distancing restrictions ease, seniors and their families have a new expectation - that almost everything about a funeral can and should also be digital.
2020 will be the year of the Digital Funeral Director
The entire funeral process now has new digital components including arranging funerals online, social media funeral announcements, online preplanning meetings, virtual visitation, live-streamed funerals and of course, Facebook Live wakes.
Managing all of these digital technologies, while still employing good empathy and communication skills adds a whole new bucket of requirements to the work of the traditional funeral director.
It's easy to look just for the technology to ensure that your funeral home is equipped to survive digitally, but just as before, the real value of a funeral home is not only its ability to provide the right funeral access via video, but in the quality of the staff that put that technology to work.
All of the digital mediums, and especially those that involve live meetings, consultations or events carry with them a new set of personal skills and best practices that simply weren't taught in the Funeral Director training program. To be effective in this new digital space, directors need to not only be proficient in the use of digital documents, multiple video systems, but they also need to understand how communication differs in the digital experience. Especially when working with seniors, digital interaction requires new ways of communicating, listening, responding and personal presentation.
Funeral Staffing Should Include at least one Digital Funeral DirectorSM
Given the way that most funeral homes are staffed, with most tasks completed by a funeral director or attendant, there isn't really a big financial space to bring in someone just to run digital streaming or media, unless the funeral home is much larger than the national average. That means that funeral directors are going to have to add these skills to their repertoire.
What is a Digital Funeral DirectorSM?
A Digital Funeral DirectorSM is a qualified funeral director who has also received training in the use of digital methods to serve grieving families. The Digital Funeral DirectorSM has been trained, and most often received coaching to help build skills in the use of digital arranging, digital presentation and sharing of funeral services and the use of virtual sales skills and tools for preneed planning.