Stealing a march?

Charles Cowling

 

By Andrew Hickson, proprietor of Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services, St Neots. 

 

A couple of days ago, Charles asked me to write a blog post about marketing. I wanted to approach this from the point-of-view of a Funeral Director such as myself who has recently established a business, and is therefore dazzled, bemused and somewhat apprehensive of the minefield that is the marketing world. 

Barely a day goes by without some company or other telephoning, claiming they can increase traffic to my website, or wanting me to advertise in their new brochure, or even, as some do, guaranteeing that work will increase if they are contracted to do my marketing. Surprisingly, when they’re asked to put that in writing, they are not quite so forthcoming with their claims. 

I’m still putting an article together, and hope to publish this early in the New Year, but yesterday I was called to remove a gentleman whose GP had certified his death and had already completed the cremation paperwork and left this with him. 

The paperwork had the large stamp of another Funeral Director very clearly on the front page. Two chances of being called then, once by the GP, and once by the next-of-kin. But not a lot of scope for the client to make any informed decisions. 

Clever marketing, or just a wee bit cheeky?

17
Leave a Reply

avatar
17 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
12 Comment authors
Charles CowlingKingfisherNickDavid HolmesDeborah McGregor Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

newest oldest most voted
Charles Cowling
Guest

Kingfisher, thank you for this shaft of sunlight plus measured appraisal.

Kingfisher
Guest

I think we have to be very careful making statements like “they are forbidden to do” and “against the rules” in reference to Coroner’s contracts (and I’m also wondering if Coroner needs a capital C, but can’t decide at all). With the secrecy that funeral directors attach to something simple like a price list, how on earth can we expect to know what is contained in a contract between them and someone they supply? Funeral directors love to put down any of their competition to anyone who will listen, especially when it involves something like a contract, but most of… Read more »

Nick
Guest

If I remember correctly, rumour had it that when a certain large group gained several Coroner’s removal contracts some years ago, the word was that they didn’t leave the ‘usual’ card with the family. Instead, they left the family with a consumer survey form, asking if their service had been of an appropriately high standard. Naturally, there had to be the name and contact details of the firm, to which the completed form could be returned…. I guess that the passage of time and a change of ownership has changed all that. When we used to ‘do our bit’ on… Read more »

David Holmes
Guest

My local coroner’s contractor hands out cards too. They carry a card for their various trading names. It’s against the rules but no-one seems bothered.

The big boys only seem to care about keeping as much work as possible – service, ethics, fair play and value are all secondary considerations.

Deborah McGregor
Guest

Quite outrageous. One of our local funeral directors who holds the Coroner’s contract hands out business cards when they go to collect … which they are forbidden to do.

Andrew, I am hopefully planning to carry out some research on the commercial aspect of the funeral profession … if you have any suggestions for focus they would be gratefully received.

trackback

[…] this post by Andrew Hickson of Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services in St Neots, we at the GFG sense we […]

Michael Gamble
Guest

James, I get asked quite frequently by practice managers at surgeries if I can supply them with any crem papers as the crems, for some reason, don’t like supplying the doctors directly (so I was told). I’ve never known a doctor leave the paperwork with the family though or considered putting a nice big advert for us on the front ( how lax of me!)It’s all a rather distasteful slippery slope though isn’t it?

james
Guest

Normally each doctor’s surgery would have a supply of ‘Cremation form 1 (replacing Form A)’ forms. The pushy fd in question would have had to schmooze each practice manager of each surgery in turn and lay these ‘personalised’ forms on them for use by their doctors.
I think the surgeries could easily refuse them.
I wonder why this surgery did not in this instance? I smell a rat. Or a nice flat screen TV in the waiting room.

Kingfisher
Guest

… and put a question mark in that last post …

Kingfisher
Guest

Oh no, how did that smiley face appear? Quick, lose it Mr Editor, please.

Kingfisher
Guest

Point taken Josh, thanks. I suppose I do it out of pride in the profession. In Jonathan’s comment above, ‘Doctor’s’ also looks correct to me with a capital D. You’ve got me wondering whether it is or isn’t now

gloria mundi
Guest

I’m pleased you added, Josh, the thought that you are not being condescending. The Kingfisher is so clearly not a self-aggrandizing sort of bird, even, I would guess, when he’s in full mourning suit rig.

Josh Slocum
Guest

May I suggest—and I mean this in a friendly, not condescending way—that you stop capitalizing “funeral director”? It’s not a proper noun and every time I see it (which is nearly every day in the US)it strikes me as stuffy self-aggrandizement. You don’t want to project that, I’m certain, but I wanted to let you know how it looks.

Will wait for your article with anticipation!

Rupert Callender
Guest

Outrageous.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

That a ‘form 4’ (Doctor’s certificate of medical attendance outlining cause of death to authorize cremation) would have any information whatever of any commercial interest to anyone seems unethical in the extreme, to me.

That it should, further, take advantage of a bereaved person’s predicament in not knowing whom to call, or for what purpose, for the financial gain of the advertiser must surely be unlawful. Personally, the business in question would be ruled out as an option purely on these grounds; but for most, a phone number could be a lifeline.