The other day I heard from a person who was phoning round for funeral prices. At one Funeral Home he asked about other homes – just to see what they would say.
I was disappointed and to fair a little shocked to hear what they said about SDF (and me). I knew they wouldn’t be too positive, but this was a little unfair. Basically she said I didn’t take good care of people in my care. She went further to say that she had first hand experience of this.
Now this did surprise me as I haven’t had anything to do with her before. So the story she was telling was basically a lie.
She said that because I’m a “one man band” I can’t take care of people as well as they could. The implication was that I was a bit of a cowboy. When I was young I wanted to be a cowboy – but not now.
I know that I don’t handle the person as much as them. Basically when I transfer the person from their place to mine, I place them in a coffin and that’s it. I don’t undress, embalm or do anything to the body other than keep them cool.
Perhaps she is thinking about the transfers. So here is what usually happens: Often the person is in bed and I wrap them in a cremation sheet. I do this because it means once they’re in the sheet I don’t need to change them. I then slide them across from the bed onto my stretcher, sometimes using a board that helps them to slide. Then once on the stretcher I clip them in and they go into the car. Pretty straight forward.
Sometimes there is staff or family willing to help. And if needed, I have people I can take with me. In one unusual instance I actually organised the fire brigade to give me a hand. So if that isn’t going above and beyond, I don’t know what is. (They were great by the way – I shouted them morning tea afterwards).
At home I have an electric hoist that I use if the person is particularly heavy and I have Kath who has worked in rest homes and is an expert in assisting when needed. The person is placed from the stretcher into the coffin and that’s it.
So you can see how I was concerned about these comments. How was I mishandling? It was no different than other funeral homes transfering people.
I think what she meant to say was that SDF is not a real Funeral Home who can do more with the person. It’s true. I created SDF specifically so it wasn’t like all the other Funeral Homes with flash buildings, cars, staff, etc. I deliberately wanted to be a point of difference for families.
I guess that’s why after a few hundred funerals the overwhelming response has been incredibly positive. Not just with the clear pricing and no pressure to spend more. But perhaps more so the way I work with families and the person who has died.
Their comments have words like, no stress, simple, professional, caring, kind… And people know exactly what they are getting.
I know I’m not perfect and sometimes I get things wrong. The thing is that I always want to improve my service to offer the best I can.
I know competition will often criticise others. I know that I talk about the other Funeral Homes and how I’m different. But what I found hard was the comment that she had first hand knowledge of my poor service.
Maybe I’m not as slick as others. I’m not trying to be. I want to be genuine, caring and for the family to have confidence in me. Just because I’m a one-man band doesn’t mean I can’t provide a great service and treat people with all the dignity a family would expect.
So she is right, I’m not like other Funeral Homes. I never wanted to be and that’s the point.
I spoke to her boss about the comments, because I didn’t want to stew on it (but here I am still writing about it). He said those comments were unacceptable, so I hope it was a one-off.
I know other Funeral Homes won’t like me. I’m not here to be their friend. I’m here solely because I wanted to provide my community with a Simple Direct Funeral.