Earlier this year we asked Obit clients who have more than 3 years experience of using the software if they felt that the expected value and benefits had been realised. Their answers were so overwhelmingly positive and supportive we decided to convert their feedback into a blog post.
One of the key findings was that Obit adds value for the funeral director in many ways, some of them obvious and others less so. We have grouped them into 3 broad business areas: Administration, Communication & Marketing.
Obit is a huge timesaver
Whether you have employees or you are doing the admin work yourself, Obit will drastically cut the time you need to create the funeral account - users commonly reported savings of 2 hours per funeral or more. The amount of time saved increases over time as users gain experience with the software. Experienced arrangers report confidently that they can record all necessary detail “in less than ten minutes”. Many report positively on being able to work ‘on the go’ making use of “idle time” and using only their mobile phone.
The new status icons that guide funeral directors to where attention is needed saves even more time when reviewing accounts. External accountants are also able to save time by benefitting from direct access to the latest data or alternatively by exporting financial records straight into accounting packages such as Sage at the touch of a button.
How funeral directors derive value from the time saved is entirely up to them. In some cases it will be converted into actual savings (overtime, headcount or external admin) while in others time will be reinvested into other value-generating activities. Either way the Obit subscription essentially pays for itself.
Hidden efficiency savings
By using Obit’s inbuilt data handling, it is far more likely that costly errors like forgetting charge items on individual funerals or not applying price changes thoroughly can be avoided. Obit’s granular permission system allows the funeral director to reliably handle access limitations or even branch-specific product pricing. Obit also supports two factor authorisation to avoid errors occurring through unauthorised usage.
The Obit philosophy of “record once, use many times” can be applied to the myriad of forms, documents, letters and reports that are needed in the funeral industry - from obvious documents like Invoices and death notices to less often thought about door notices, celebrant crib sheets or discreet disbursement envelopes.
“From daily Flower orders for our florist to Client/Invitee lists for annual memorial ceremonies, Obit simplifies the process.” Susan Guinan, Managing Director of Massey Bros
Obit is supporting the industry as it moves towards a more paperless environment, meaning that the funeral director can include their own logos, seals and company headers on documents generated and transmitted electronically saving outlay on design and printing.
Due to Obit being available in the cloud and accessible by any device, there is no requirement for physical attendance at the funeral director’s premises. Whether this proves advantageous due to Covid related restrictions or life-style choice, the hidden savings here are multiple. They could be in travel and time costs as well as hardware procurement or maintenance costs.
A final and not so often considered part of administration is IT infrastructure. If, for example, a Funeral Director is still making ongoing investment in local infrastructure - Obit affords the opportunity to break free from legacy systems and fully embrace all the benefits of a Cloud solution. In this way the funeral home can be liberated from recurring investment and other maintenance costs inherent in LANs or mainframe setups.
Obit powers seamless communications and coordinated action
Obit clients often elect to give access to regular and casual employees as well as external service providers. This provides intangible benefits in supporting a funeral director’s integrated communication platform. Employees can instantly see what funerals, collections, reposals or other arrangements they are assigned to. Meanwhile an external florist, for example, can access details of floral tributes and drivers can see the routes and timing details that are important to them.
“I just find it so easy to keep up to date, whether sitting at home or waiting outside the church.” Tom Lawless, Managing Director of Lawless Funeral Directors
Obit provides multiple options to configure communication and notifications allowing funeral directors to select the options that best fit their process.
Fewer emails and calls makes for a lower stress environment
Our clients report that once all involved are comfortable that their process is mapped in Obit, there is a significant reduction in the volume of emails and messages. As there is only one record of what is happening where and when, the need for emails, clarifying SMS messages or urgent phone-calls is greatly reduced.
Obit helps funeral homes visualize their database
Obit plays a critical role in helping funeral directors build their marketing history database. This is why we encourage our clients to add their historical records (at no cost) to Obit. Simply recording deceased names and addresses allows this data to be visualised through Obit’s built-in reporting module. This in turn automatically produces graphs and charts that highlight in which geographical areas business is being won and where additional promotional effort may be needed. As well as address data, Obit allows the funeral director to record fields such as origin which help determine the most effective marketing channels.
Branded features drive online traffic
As with many sectors, a funeral director’s website has grown in importance. The website is now a key tool in positioning their brand and portraying the right message to present and future clients. Obit offers funeral homes the ability to publish death notices/announcements and to collect condolence messages from the general public. Clients who have opted in to this service are able to self-host condolence books at no extra cost. They consistently report substantial increases in website traffic after implementation with funerals often collecting hundreds of messages from well wishers that can be viewed online and incorporated into thoughtful condolence books.
“Our website traffic has dramatically increased mainly driven by Obit Condolence handling feature with close to 5000 messages received in the first quarter of this year”
The benefits are best illustrated by looking at actual data from earlier this year. Self-hosted notices published through Obit typically received 20 to 50 condolence messages with occasional spikes into the hundreds. As Obit allows the sympathiser to also send private messages, which are only visible to the bereaved family, the messages tend to be more fulsome, appreciated and truly cherished by the family. Genuine, moving online experiences occurring directly on the funeral director’s website helps to foster relationships not just with the deceased’s family but with the community at large.
Notice and condolence books boost your SEO
While the main advantage of Obit’s condolence book and notice features is to elevate the quality of service provided and adapt to the digital needs of today’s society, there are also clear marketing benefits. Our clients consistently report an increase in traffic and the continual publishing of user generated content is beneficial to your SEO. In short, Google welcomes these kinds of website features and your page is more likely to rank high and attract more visitors as a consequence. Prospective clients can find out more on this topic by reading our blog post on How to use Obit's Condolence features.
Be it in marketing, administration or communication, the value that Obit can bring to a funeral business is not to be underestimated. As well as the core benefits that we highlight on our site, feedback from clients underlines the variety of ways that the software adds value. Whatever the size or complexity of your business we are sure we can add value beyond what you might imagine and offer a free trial for funeral director’s to appreciate this directly. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly support team.