July 2024

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Fountain, Embalmer, Reconstructive Surgery Specialist, CFSP vrfountain@earthlink.net or (417) 833-5130 By Welton Hong Say goodbye to Google’s Business Profile Chat; Google announced it will discontinue the feature by the end of July. You’re probably wondering why that matters to you—especially if you’ve never used it. Believe it or not, it’s still a significant development that warrants attention from funeral directors and cemetery owners. Even if you haven’t utilized the Google Business Profile Chat feature, its removal highlights a broader principle: the importance of maintaining open and clear lines of communication with the families you serve. In an industry as sensitive and personal as yours, ensuring every potential client can reach you easily is critical. Understanding the Change Google’s Business Profile Chat feature allowed businesses to interact directly with clients through a messaging system integrated into their Google profiles. It was a convenient tool for businesses to answer questions, provide information and engage with clients in real-time. However, Google has decided to discontinue this feature, prompting businesses to adapt their communication strategies. The Importance of Communication For funeral homes and cemeteries, the essence of service is rooted in compassionate and timely communication. Families seeking your services are often navigating some of the most challenging moments of their lives. Ensuring they can reach out and receive responses promptly is not just good business practice; it’s a fundamental aspect of the care you provide. Even if your funeral home or cemetery did not use Google’s chat feature, this change is a reminder to evaluate and enhance your communication channels. Potential clients should have no trouble finding your contact information and reaching you through various platforms. Keeping Contact Information Updated With the removal of the Business Profile Chat feature, it becomes even more important to ensure your contact information is accurate and up to date across all platforms. Here’s a few steps I recommend: Google Business Profile: Make sure your phone number, email and address are correct. Use other available features such as the Q&A section and Google Posts to keep clients informed. Website: Your website should be a central hub of information. Ensure your contact page is easy to find, and that it includes multiple ways to reach your firm. Social Media: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn can be valuable tools for engagement. Regularly check and update your contact details on these platforms. Staying Accessible Adapting to Google’s Business Profile Update Powerhouse Marketing with Welton Directories and Listings: Many families may find you through online directories or local listings. Periodically review these entries to ensure all information is current. Leveraging Other Communication Tools Without the Google chat feature, consider integrating other communication tools to fill the gap. This might include adding a live chat or chatbot powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) to your website to offer instant support to your visitors. An AI-driven chatbot can be available 24/7 to answer the most commonly asked questions without requiring a staff member. If you’re not doing it already, make sure you’re taking advantage of the messaging features on all of your social media platforms. Potential clients should receive a response to their message within no more than two business days— preferably sooner. Lastly, ensure you have a system in place to respond to emails and phone calls promptly. The key to all of these communication tools is minimizing the time that passes between the moment a potential client contacts your business and when they receive a response. While Google’s decision to shut down its Business Profile Chat feature is a significant change, it also presents an opportunity. By reassessing and updating your communication strategies, you can ensure your funeral home or cemetery remains accessible and responsive to those in need. Welton Hong is the founder of Ring Ring Marketing® and a leading expert in creating case generation from online to the phone line. He is the author of Making Your Phone Ring with Internet Marketing for Funeral Homes. For more information, visit www.FuneralHomeProfits.com. FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS www.NomisPublications.com Monthly Columnsonline at wanted to be able to accommodate the needs of her community. “I wanted both human and pet, I think there are more people cremating pets than when I first opened up, but I know the pets will come. I did not want to have to turn people away if they asked.” Dr. Davis’s passion for the funeral industry originated from a devastating loss. In 1986, when Davis was 18 years old, her mother and younger sister died in a car accident near her hometown of Ruleville, MS. Davis, living in Springfield at the time, returned to Mississippi for the funeral, unable to recognize her mother or sister. “I didn’t like the way they looked,” Davis remembers. From then on, Davis decided that she wanted to dedicate her life to the mortuary science industry. Starting a long line of educational achievements, beginning with graduating from Cosmetology School, moving on to the mortuary science program, Davis also earned her bachelors degree in health care leadership and masters and doctoral degree in business administration. Dr. Davis’s commitment to serving her community has only blossomed over the years. “What sets my funeral home apart is, all the families that choose to use my services get the exacts same thing for their funeral services, regardless of costs or whether they have the funds. I do not discriminate when it comes to funerals, everyone should get everything that is needed to provide the service. Everyone that gets cremated automatically gets a permanent urn for burial versus a cardboard or plastic box, even pets,” Davis stated. The crematory area is also accompanied by a viewing room and viewing window for the families who would prefer to witness the process. “Both machines have been great, it has been such a great business investment that I do not regret,” says Dr. Davis about the purchasing of the cremation chambers from local manufacturer Cremation Systems in 2019. In addition to owning the funeral home, in 2021, Davis purchased the property across the street from Ruby Funeral Services & Crematories and transformed the building into what is now recognized as the Ruby Recreational Community Center. Boasting a 350 person capacity, this banquet hall can be used for weddings, receptions, birthday parties, and more! For more information on Ruby Davis Funeral Services & Crematories, visit www.drrubydavisfuneralhome.com. For more information on Cremation Systems Cremation Chambers, visit www.cremsys.com. Ruby Davis Expands Services SPRINGFIELD,IL— Dr. Ruby Davis, funeral director and owner of Ruby Funeral Services & Chapel LLC was the first African American female to own both human and pet crematories in the state of Illinois. Purchasing the cremation chambers simultaneously for her funeral home located in Springfield, IL, Davis