The Good Funeral Guide Blog

21 comments on “How do I love me? Let me count the ways

  1. Monday 1st October 2012 at 12:27 pm

    As of around 18 months ago, at least, Dignity Client Surveys were returned to head office from where they ‘filtered down’.

    We send out our surveys with an SAE. We have a return rate of around 80%

  2. andrew plume

    Sunday 30th September 2012 at 8:47 pm

    and oh my……………………

    one David Collingwood even appears on ‘flickr’, yes, here is DC looking very happy:-

    standing no doubt next to their latest marketing wheeze


  3. Sunday 30th September 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I accept the majority of customers using the corporates would fill in their questionnaire claiming they had performed well or at least adequately. Why wouldn’t they? They wouldn’t know different.

    I also believe these same ‘satisfied’ clients probably didn’t realise that almost always they might have experienced something a little better – probably at lower cost had they put a little more care into selecting their funeral director.

    As you say, if the experience was really poor or disappointing, the corporate machines would grind to a halt not make the enormous profits that tempt merchant bankers to invest in the death care industry.

    It is my experience that many corporate funeral directors provide a perfectly adequate, even good service a lot of the time. I think they have the plebs at the sharp end to thank for this decency. Corporates have nice new hearses and limousines, their fleets of vans are fully compliant with the latest H&S and will carry up to five bodies back to the nearest hub – where they will be processed in industry leading facilities. Their arranging rooms are usually good or excellent, the uniforms smart and the IT first rate.

    Does that really make them good or the best funeral directors? Does it make them better than most independents? The client usually has no insight into their processes and procedures and no other experience to measure them with.

    My own beef with the big firms is fairly simple: They tend to masquerade as little people when it suits them. They often treat human remains differently than they would if their systems and premises were being watched or monitored by the client. They sell too hard to the bereaved and frequently mislead clients about what is possible and when. They do not ever seem to publish price lists or offer genuinely basic services. I also hate that they do coroner’s work for nothing – because it means vulnerable people can be exploited in the minutes and hours after suffering a sudden death and it stops us plebs competing with them fairly.

  4. Saturday 29th September 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Brilliant! Bravo! The customers are satisfied – the service is improving, trebles all round.

    Why don’t the rest of us give up? Funeralcare are clearly the best funeral directors in Britain. And they’re getting better!

    • James

      Sunday 30th September 2012 at 12:28 pm

      I realise that you don’t quite mean bravo but the focus needs to be on the small percentages who would not recommend. Multiplied by the total number of funerals carried out and these become large numbers of disatisfied families.

      Each of these will tell far more of their friends and family of their poor experience than if they had an excellent one. Plus I always think that you must have really let a family down if they would not recommend your services.

  5. Simon Irons

    Saturday 29th September 2012 at 8:22 am

    I think you may find that that such surveys in both of the big two,are sent out to all centrally to all clients and returned in Pre paid envelopes to external companies for analysis.

    • rosie

      Saturday 29th September 2012 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks for that info Simon; can any other bloggers confirm this?

      If this is the case it is a good start. However, if they are only getting 20 odd % returning and they provide a prepaid envelope I wonder what else is going on.

      I would like to see these forms, are they too long and burdensome? Do they not have a ‘Do not contact me about this’ box? If not, it is possible that the fear of raising an issue and any ensuing investigation is putting off those who just want to move on and forget about the whole sorry tale.

      Are the external companies not seen as independent enough or watchdog like.

      I will monitor the public perception of these forms when I talk to callers, interested to find out what they think of them.

      Anyone with more insight please call me 01962 712690

      • James

        Sunday 30th September 2012 at 12:22 pm

        The questionnaires are returned to external companies at both Funeralcare and Dignity from there they filter down from the top to the bottom so to speak.

        The questionnaire we use is very similar to the one used by Funeralcare, you are very welcome to have a pdf of it.

        • Sunday 30th September 2012 at 11:07 pm

          Good evening James.

          I would appreciate a look at this feedback form.


          • James

            Monday 1st October 2012 at 8:28 am

            Morning Rosie,

            It is on the way to you.


    • andrew plume

      Sunday 30th September 2012 at 10:08 am


      thankyou for this and for your valued input into the ‘client feedback side’ of these Corporate beats, your knowledge is a most invaluable addition


      • Simon Irons

        Sunday 30th September 2012 at 8:15 pm

        Sadly Andrew Charlie has put paid to my input………

        • andrew plume

          Sunday 30th September 2012 at 8:24 pm




  6. Friday 28th September 2012 at 11:28 pm

    I wonder when a dodgy feedback form is returned, how many negatives get squirrelled away and do not pass up the food chain? Pacified with a bouquet of flowers perhaps? Well actually I know this flower silencer is quite common.

    Again this reverts to the validity of self regulation!

    Mayby this is why forms sent to us about the service received from burial grounds, which ALSO have questions about the quality of FD’s service are, on this subject, so often far from perfect. (Before any ANBG detractors blog, this would be like the public feeding back direct to NAFD.)

    Having been accused of complicity on this blog recently I am now actively perusing complaints on behalf of exhausted but agreeable clients.

    I will let you know what sort of reception I get. This is not something I really have time for, therefore if anyone has any bright ideas how we can raise funds for more staff please let me know.

    01962 712690 NDC bunker

  7. Jonathan

    Friday 28th September 2012 at 10:47 pm

    I’d just like to point up the self-evident contradiction here, which arises from research into the accuracy of information gained from client service questionnaires in the funeral industry in particular:

    “Surface satisfaction:

    “A cause for concern is the unnaturally high level of satisfaction in the studies among people who had organised a funeral. 78% said they were ‘very satisfied’; 19% said they were ‘quite satisfied’.

    “Secret disappointment:

    “So are they really satisfied? Of those who said they were ‘very’ or ‘quite’ satisfied with the last funeral they had arranged, only half said it couldn’t have been improved. This is cause for concern; despite claiming to be satisfied, some were ‘secretly disappointed’ by the funeral they had arranged for the person they had lost.”

    Extracted from the Funeralcare Forum Report, 2002

  8. andrew plume

    Friday 28th September 2012 at 7:31 pm


    oh yes, this is one and the same man who promotes the internal ‘war cry’ known to us all on here, as “Believe in the system, trust the system…”

    and oh my deary me, here’s David on the equivalent of a pro bono visit to South Africa:-

    and some interesting little morsels too:-

    David explained: “In South Africa the cost of funerals is a major issue. They are a big expense for most people but no-one has yet suggested a low-cost alternative.” ahem, a large expense in the UK too David (as it happens), we’re all waiting for your ‘economies of scale’ to be factored in to bring down the cost of instructing Funeralcare, ahem……..


    David explained: “The idea of co-operatives as a social tool has yet to be properly embraced. We worked to improve their knowledge and understanding of what co-operatives are and what they are not”, ah yes that’s possibly a reference to Funeralcare’s founding fathers and the somewhat diversion to what we have now

    and also this little comment

    “It was great for me as it reminded me of what it is to work for a co-operative. It’s not all about the bottom line and targets – it’s about what we do with people and resources!” ok, ok but Funeralcare’s Area Managers seem pretty focused on targets, yes? where does that originate from, then please?



  9. Friday 28th September 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Hey, Andrew, don’t overlook processandprocedure. The beating, golden heart of excellence is processandprocedure — idiot-proof, tickbox systems of working. Processandprocedure, processandprocedure, processandprocedure.

  10. Friday 28th September 2012 at 6:28 pm

    caring presence vs. laminated copy of satisfaction questionnaire!!!

    • andrew plume

      Friday 28th September 2012 at 6:59 pm

      yes it’s all very ‘heart felt’ (sic) – just as long as the Customer Satisfaction Q’s are all ok, then there’s absolutely no problem, yes no problem with our business model, after all “…..we’re wonderful………….we’re the best….”, another drum roll, please


  11. Kathryn Edwards

    Friday 28th September 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Nifty juxtaposition with previous post. Chalk/cheese.

  12. andrew plume

    Friday 28th September 2012 at 6:08 pm

    thanks indeed Charles

    yes it’s ‘our old friend’, one David Collingwood again


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