by MKJ Marketing

Consumer expectations are constantly changing—what they expect from service, pricing, and technology. You hear it all the time: everyone wants things faster, but for a lower cost and the highest quality. And yet while the bar has never been set higher by consumers, it is increasingly difficult for funeral homes to find, train, and retain excellent staff. That’s particularly true as many funeral homes expand into new markets and new businesses like online cremation and receptions.

Training your staff well has never been more important. Our clients tell us constantly that phone and arrangement training are critical to their brand, because every interaction leaves a lasting impression for years to come. What’s more, training brings your staff together and keeps everyone at the top of their game. Working on customer service skills, reviewing new procedures, handling price shoppers, and learning how to answer tough questions associated with the funeral industry will help new and veteran employees alike. MKJ has led funeral home and cemetery in-house training across North America, as well as created four DVD training systems to allow for on-your-own learning. In our three decades of experience, we’ve identified these four secrets to effective staff training that you can implement right away in your firm.

1.) Show Staff Training is a Priority

Whenever you introduce staff training, make it clear that it is essential to the success of the business and your team members’ jobs. To take it seriously, your staff needs to understand that you expect they will not only listen to the training but implement those training steps immediately in their work. Give incentives through bonuses for hitting benchmarks or making a passing score on a training test. If your staff is working through one of our DVD curriculums, you can award them with gift cards, meals, or other small prizes to the team members who finish the programs first. You can even make it a competition! Have a “Training Champion” title that passes to a staff member who completes each DVD and shows the most progress in their work. You foster a little healthy rivalry and everyone benefits from the learning they receive.

2.) Identify the Right Topic

Not all staff require the same training. Consider the different jobs requirements and skills of each employee when you choose the training for them. Have a new employee? Consider material that will introduce them to the industry. MKJ’s “Answers to 50 of the Hardest Questions in Funeral Service” gives vital information that he or she will use every day. Need to improve your arranger averages? Our clients who have implemented our Cremation Arrangement System correctly have reported to us that they have drastically decreased their number of direct cremations and increased their average cremation sale by $800 to $1500 per call.

3.) Make It Interactive

Great training content is necessary, but staff really learn when they role-play real-life situations. With our training systems, your staff can walk through situations they face everyday in your funeral home, from grief support to calling a family. Marilyn Jones Gould’s “Good Call” DVD system features various role-play scenarios that you can act out with your staff. Putting the learning into action lets everyone see where work is needed, whether it is in expressing empathy or focusing on sales. We guarantee you will learn more about your staff through role-play than any test scores on an exam.

4.) Don’t Forget Food

Every month, MKJ gets our team together to have a “Lunch and Learn” to discuss a new aspect of the industry or marketing, and we are always sure to have plenty of delicious food. Who says you can’t work and have fun at the same time? If a catered lunch isn’t in the budget, you can have your own version of “Lunch and Learn” with a team potluck. Bond with your staff, have some great food, and advance your business at the same time. Each member of your team can make their favorite recipe, even something as simple as cookies or baked goods will give your training a sweet beginning.

Looking for the right staff training for your firm? All our training programs are on sale now with our Summer Sizzler specials, so be sure to act before August 31 to get those special deals. If you’d prefer in-house training, call us or email [email protected] for more information about the many on-site training programs we offer.