Large Independent Funeral Director
A leading funeral provider with national coverage utilising a network of branches across the UK.
The challenge was two-fold as, firstly, the client was experiencing problems managing their calls during the day when their branches were busy and then, secondly, they needed a robust solution for managing calls out-of-hours, as utilising the on-call teams was, at times, providing a poor customer experience.
The objective was to ensure that all calls were answered promptly with empathy and compassion and that priority 'at-need' calls were quickly passed through the duty funeral director.
At Lemon we have worked with funeral directors since 2003 and we were therefore able to leverage our extensive knowledge and understanding of the funeral industry to assist the client in implementing a solution.
Utilising our vast experience our team spent time with the client understanding the current barriers that they were facing and we then worked with the management team to map out what the 'best practice' customer experience should look like. From there we developed the procedures that would need to be adopted to allow the process to be implemented.
Some 'quick wins' were promptly identified to immediately improve the client journey; a divert process was applied to the main branch numbers which would transfer a call to the Lemon funeral team if the branch line was either engaged or had been unanswered after 10 seconds. This simple solution immediately improved the answer rate and reduced the number of abandoned calls, which were potentially lost clients.
Outside of normal opening hours all lines were diverted to the Lemon funeral team, which enabled the calls to be answered quickly and professionally by operators trained on handling funeral arrangements. This change of process not only improved the client journey but also increased the efficiency of the duty operatives, as they were no longer having to field customer calls whilst attempting to perform their main duties. They would also now only receive calls that required their immediate attention, with non-urgent calls being passed through to the branch when open.
Independent lines were also established for key coroners contracts that were manned by Lemon 24/7, enabling the client to quickly and easily onboard new contracts, as well as other direct cremation services.
Our mobilisation team worked with the client to implement the service over a staged period, allowing each stage to be fully embedded before implementing the next step. This approach allowed confidence to build across the wider team, who were initially sceptical about using an outsourced service.
This simple solution immediately improved the answer rate and reduced the number of abandoned calls, which were potentially lost clients.
Following full implementation, service review meetings are now held monthly. Opportunities for improvement that are identified in the meetings are implemented using a managed change control process and Management Information is provided in structured reports sent daily, weekly and monthly to key stakeholders.
The objective was achieved and calls are now answered promptly by our experienced funeral team who act as an extension to the client’s own team, which has enhanced the customer experience for the families.
Answer rates have increased and the number of abandoned calls has lowered, meaning the client is now arranging more funerals as they are no longer missing vital 'at-need' calls.
The work-life balance for the on-call operatives has also improved dramatically and they have quickly become strong advocates for the service, which has subsequently also increased their efficiency and output.
The client is extremely happy with the solution and a strong, collaborative relationship has developed. Both parties are now exploring new ways to enhance the service, particularly across digital channels.