Monday, February 29, 2016

Look at your products with new eyes

Scott Darby,
Media Manager,
Camino del Sol Funeral
Chapel and Cremation Center
Have you met Scott Darby? He is the newest member of the Darby family to join the funeral industry, and he is the Media Manager at Camino del Sol in Arizona.

Since Scott joined the team, it has given me an opportunity to look at our products with new eyes. I have been looking at them from a different view and really seeing the value they offer to the families we serve.

Karen Darby-Ritz,
Advance Planning Manager,
Camino del Sol Funeral Chapel
and Cremation Center
As we worked our way through our products discussing ways we can incorporate them into Arizona’s 65% plus cremation market, we fell upon the Healing Tree®. Before our conversation, I hadn't given much thought to how effective the Healing Tree ceremony truly is, and how easy it is to incorporate the urn vault into our product selection.

By simply reading a poem at the graveside and asking the family to take a Memory Ring® from a beautifully handcrafted Remembrance Bowl as a keepsake, you are giving family and friends the opportunity to participate in the celebration of their loved one's life. This interactive ceremony helps start their journey to healthy healing.

If you have questions about the Healing Tree or any of our products, please give Customer Service a call at 800.637.1992.


This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at http://www.trigard.com/tuesdays.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Success = Sticking to your guns

This article originally appeared in the February issue of American Funeral Director.

by Rich Darby, Chief Operating Officer

For generations, your family has worked hard to build a business within your community that is set apart from the rest. Your funeral home understands what our profession has been striving to accomplish for years. You take care of all the little details, and you deeply care about the families you serve.

Then a no-name funeral home opens their doors down the road and starts advertising that they are the cheapest around. They sell low-end products and don’t provide reputable service. But, they are drawing in business because of their prices. What do you do? Do you lower your prices to compete with the low-ballers? Or do you stay true to who you are and to the brand that you have built for all these years? I think this question can answer itself.

In today’s marketplace, we are so busy trying to compete with “the other guys” that we forget what kind of business we set out to be. If you want to be successful, stick to what you know. After many years in the funeral profession, my advice to anyone struggling with cut-rate competition is to trust in what you and your family have built over the years and don’t dilute your brand.

Like any profession, the funeral market is constantly changing and growing. But, even with an ever-changing marketplace, your time and attention become even more valuable commodities. Cut-rate competitors don’t deserve to eat up the time that you could be spending caring for families.

There is no advertising campaign, pricing scheme, product display or magic potion that can outperform good old fashioned sweat equity. Today’s consumer appreciates great service. They place a high value on a great experience, and they will seek you out and pay more if they find value in what you offer.

How do you know if you are providing real value? First, you have to take a hard look at your overall company. Are you competitively priced for what you offer in your market? Are the families you serve happy with the services that you offer?

Next, take a look at your expenses. Are you overpaying for a high-tech phone system or spending too much on office supplies? Are you outsourcing things that could be handled in-house, such as books and cards? Remember that you don’t have to have all of the answers. Ask your staff how you could save money without sacrificing quality, and reward them for great ideas.   

If your numbers aren’t matching up and families aren’t happy, maybe it is time to formulate a new plan that involves going the extra mile. Our job is to go above and beyond for the families we serve. We are here to make one of the hardest days of their lives easier. And, to be successful, you have to work harder than your competition. You have to do more than anyone else.

Once you’re confident that you are making the best decisions about your expenses, stick to your guns. When you have a sound financial plan, your company will run smoother. And, when you have a smoothly functioning business model, the families you serve will be fully satisfied with the services they receive.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Do you have the eye of a tiger?

Brodie Krause,
IT Manager
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, I love the movie Rocky V. I am actually a huge fan of all the Rocky movies, and that includes the fifth iteration of the series that even Stallone regrets making. Early on in the movie, Stallone’s character, Rocky, is trying to help his son develop some street smarts, and warns him repeatedly to watch out for scams and deceptions. That same warning is very relevant today, and if you fail at guarding yourself, you could wind up taking a digital beating the likes of which the Italian Stallion never faced.

Have you ever been browsing the Internet on your computer or mobile device, when suddenly a screen pops up telling you that your system has a virus and that you should call an 800 number for support?  DON’T PANIC! You don’t actually have a virus. This is just a widely successful scam. What happens when you call that number? A scammer has you run a program that allows them to control your computer or phone remotely. This allows them to easily deposit the actual virus onto your machine, as well as acquire your credit card to pay for the “service.”

The best thing to do is to notify your IT Support person and close the warning window. If it comes up again, clear your browser’s cookies and temporary files. While this type of pop up is rarely an indication of an actual problem on your system, it never hurts to run a scan with your antivirus and antimalware software.

Always stay vigilant when it comes to these scam attempts. Don’t just click on messages without fully reading them. Protect yourself from scams and deceptions, and you’ll always have the eye of a tiger.



This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at http://www.trigard.com/tuesdays.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Calling all MacGyvers!

Ethan Darby,
Director of Business
Development
For those of you who know the Darby family, you know that a few of us were blessed with rather large ears. We joke around about it pretty frequently. We say we're better listeners because of our sizable hearing appendages. But in all seriousness, we do take a lot of pride in our ability to listen.

The more of our vault dealers I meet, the more amazed I am by your ingenuity. You can create a new tool or process to solve anything. I have seen some of these MacGyver-type fixes on Trigard products. In some cases, we don’t know there is a problem. But, you, our vault dealers, use our products every day. So, when something doesn’t work, let us know. We are always listening and committed to continuous improvement. For example, we recently made three improvements to the Aegean® burial vault liners to improve the fit and finish of this very popular product.


We heard that: 
  • Our jumbo butyl tape didn’t make enough contact with the side of the lid grooves 
  • The Healing Tree® and flat carapaces required a lot of caulk to fit on the cover
  • There was a gap in the cover insert causing concrete to leak during curing
So we: 
  • Changed the profile of the tape
  • Lengthened both of these carapaces for a better fit 
  • Lengthened the insert to create a more attractive seal
This message doesn’t only apply to vault dealers. If you are a funeral home or cemetery that uses Trigard burial vaults and urn vaults, share your ideas with your vault dealer and they will pass on the message.



This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at http://www.trigard.com/tuesdays.