Comparing direct cremation costs and reviewing cremation providers

As I mentioned in Understanding Direct Cremation , the cost of a direct cremation can vary quite significantly, so it would be wise to compare direct cremation service packages from more than one cremation provider.  Many within the industry are skeptical of “discount cremation providers” suggesting that they are offering an “inferior” service.  This can be attributed to the fact that the industry (as a whole) is resistive of the trend towards cremation, and even more so the trend for direct cremation.  Why?  Simply because it is reducing the ‘value’ of the funeral service industry.

Comparing direct cremation packages

compare-cremation-costsI explained in How much does a direct cremation cost how to ensure you are comparing like-for-like in direct cremation packages.  Not all funeral home direct cremation packages are the same, and it is essential you check EXACTLY what is being included in a quoted or advertised price.  As many more funeral homes are competing for their share of the cremation market, some are employing marketing tactics such as advertising low prices for a direct cremation that do not even include the cremation fee!

It can be a good idea to check if the funeral home actually has their own crematory or cremation equipment.  If a funeral home is contracting their cremations out, the crematory fee can often be a fixed additional cash disbursement added to the fee they quote you for their services.   More funeral homes are adding cremation equipment to their premises in order to be able to have more flexibility in what they can offer families.  This also means a funeral home can have more ‘play’ with their pricing structure for cremation.

Not all Budget, Discount or Low Cost Cremation Providers are ‘bad’

In fact many traditional funeral homes today are operating a budget cremation arm, and your direct cremation could be performed by your local full service third generation funeral home.  The Internet has offered many funeral businesses the opportunity to market their low cost cremation services on a much wider scale.  And being that no services are required for a direct cremation, a funeral home can travel a much wider radius to serve families.  A number of our DFS Memorials providers will actually cover their whole state for their basic direct cremation package, enabling families in rural areas (with maybe only one traditional funeral home) to access more competitive cremation prices.

Reviewing direct cremation providers

Funeral home reputation had generally been something passed along by word of mouth.  Today we have become a nation of reviewers, self-publishers and social network junkies where we share all and sundry online.

This has opened up the funeral industry to real-time feedback, and you can review a funeral home on sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Superpages, Yahoo Local and Google if you so desire.  Unfortunately feedback for a funeral home is of a rather sensitive nature, and I have more often witnessed families’ leave negative feedback after a bad experience, than families who leave glowing reports of how well XXX funeral home laid Auntie Betty to rest.  As with all other services or products that we seek out reviews on, you need to take a balanced approach.

dfs-memorials-reviewsFuneral Consultants even offer ‘reputation management’ these days because the issue of reviews can be so pertinent to a funeral home’s success today.

Personally I would recommend that you do attempt to validate any online direct cremation company you come across.  Key things to check are whether they are a local, family-owned funeral business.  Do they clearly state WHO they are?  Do they provide a business location?  As stated above – you may find that the cheap direct cremation offered by XXX Affordable Cremations is actually being operated by a reputable funeral home anyway!

The DFS Memorials network providers are all licensed, family-owned funeral companies that serve their local community offering affordable cremation and funeral services.  We only work with cremation providers who are reputable and can deliver the best value direct cremation package.  Our aim is to assist families by helping to connect them with their nearest low cost cremation provider, taking away the hassle of making multiple inquiries to find out cremation prices and inclusive direct cremation deals.

We aim to work with funeral homes, who not only offer an affordable direct cremation package, but who can also assist you if you require additional services such as a viewing, transportation or a affordable traditional funeral.  Our aim is to ensure your family are cared for by a local family!

Part 4 : Memorializing after the direct cremation

[Sara Marsden] Google+

Funeral Home Reviews – where can you find them & are they helpful?

Reviewing has become part of our culture today.  It is a social activity that allows us to feel we can share our experiences within our community.  With the ability for anyone to go online and have a voice, more people have become active reviewers.

We review hotels, restaurants, books, movies and numerous other products and services.  And as consumers, we like to check out what other people’s experiences have been with a product or service before we commit to buy.

Funeral home reviews had not been something so generally in the public domain.  Word-of-mouth recommendations were the valuable commodity of the funeral director, and the hoards of glowing testimonial and letters from families served adorning walls. Funeral homes may even electively choose to publish testimonials on their website, although consumers digest this as a rather slanted perspective.

Where can you find funeral home reviews?                                                                But now funeral homes are being dragged (sometimes kicking and screaming) into the 21st century.  The ‘review revolution’ means that people are using tools on the Internet to now openly review funeral homes.  Google is even helping direct consumers to where they can access these reviews as you will see from the example here.

If you use a directory site now to locate and compare funeral homes, you will notice that many of these sites have published reviews – Yellow Pages, Yelp, Superpages Citysearch, and Yahoo Local to name but a few.  The only problem with this kind of unvalidated reviewing system is that it is open to abuse.  Whilst we would hope that most reviewers post genuine feedback, a bad experience can lead to a bad review, and unfortunately we are too often spurred to leave feedback after a bad experience.  This can generally be managed by a business when there is one main public site that people use to review services, such as Trip Adviser, so it is a central forum and allows for business manager to respond to reviews.  But how does a business like a funeral home keep abreast of the multiple review forums it now appears on?  And what happens when reviews are published by unverified “anonymous google users”?  Is this a review to be trusted?

Social Media as a ‘space’ to interact                                                                                Many funeral homes have also been convinced to step into the world of social media and have set up Facebook pages.  Funeral marketing consultants have advised funeral homes that the answer to their marketing dilemma is to engage with their customers and communities in the forums they use – such as Facebook.

As a funeral consumer would you go to Facebook to find a funeral home?  Would you choose to interact with a funeral home on Facebook – maybe place a review?

Several new innovations within the funeral industry in recent months and years have sought to address the issue of price comparison.  The other online revolution that we as consumers seek out the tools for on the Internet.  Seeing this as the directive by which many funeral consumers today structure their purchasing process, even offering funeral home price comparison surveys.

Reviews vs. price comparison                                                                                              So what dictates your purchasing decisions?  Do you want to read reviews about a funeral home, do you want to compare prices, or do you just want someone to steer you to your local family-owned funeral home that can deliver a quality service at a low price?

At DFS Memorials we believe that everyone has the right to a simple and fair-priced funeral or cremation, handled by a local funeral professional who is not entirely governed by profit.  We believe in transparency of ownership and price, so when you visit DFS Memorials and locate a funeral or cremation provider, we disclose their price and who they are.  We ONLY work with local, family-owned funeral homes.  We often work with the little guy in a community who doesn’t have the marketing budget or tech-savvy staff to drive his online presence, but he will serve his community with the best offering of service and price.

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