How Cemeteries Can Move from Record-Keeping to Operational Innovation

Sponsored Article from AFCCA Supplier Member OpusXenta

Just as the traditions and rituals of death care have evolved over time, so have our ways of keeping cemetery records: from handwritten notes and maps, to Excel spreadsheets, through to comprehensive cemetery management software. These newest options have brought with them new opportunities, and notably – the chance to move far beyond simple record-keeping. With new technologies, funeral directors and cemeteries can now move from simply ‘running’ their organization to driving the organization forward with purpose and vision.

Why aim for operational innovation?

Across all industries, there are clear benefits to digital innovation. McKinsey research has shown that operational and IT improvements, together with a change of mind-set focusing on the customer, can lead to a 23-30% boost in customer satisfaction and 10-20% higher employee satisfaction. Digitally mature companies can significantly outperform others in their industry, with up to 26% better profitability.

When it comes to cemetery management specifically, it’s clear that expectations, demands and logistics are constantly changing.

People are more likely to request cremation than ever before. There’s a growing demand for sustainable and eco-conscious burial methods, and many cemeteries must make increasingly effective use of limited space. Religious beliefs and practices ebb and flow on a societal level, which can require cemeteries to set out denominational sections differently. Cemetery management needs to evolve and adapt as society does, and operational innovation can help you do that.

So how do you take record-keeping to a new level for your cemetery?

Here are ways to move from simply ticking the boxes, to transforming your operations.

Take death care to the cloud.

If you’re shopping around for a cemetery software system, then a cloud-based option like byondpro is an ideal solution and can transform accuracy, efficiency and productivity. Cloud-based software provides one complete record for your entire operation with a single point of entry for data. Digital assets are kept secure with automated data backup. Plus, all users can access the database even when out in the field, using any device with internet access.

Fill in the knowledge gaps with cemetery mapping.

It’s never been so fast or easy to create one comprehensive map of your entire cemetery grounds with the right software solution. You can:

  • Add in historical information from old paper records
  • Build a reliable, central and secure database for compliance purposes
  • Capture clear snapshots using drone photography or Google Maps integration, and
  • Use radar equipment to fill in any ‘missing’ areas such as unmarked graves or pauper graves.

You can provide a modern deceased search on your website and at onsite kiosks including gravesite GPS location data, so families can easily search while visiting. Cemetery mapping may seem like simple cemetery record-keeping but once you have one comprehensive map in place, you can begin to make more informed and strategic decisions.

Plan your cemetery’s future in multi-faceted detail.

Whether you’re operating a small or sizeable cemetery, the right cemetery mapping software can change the way you plan and manage. Mapping doesn’t just apply to grave locations. The following can all be managed with one central system, allowing you to see all relevant information for specific locations:

  • Bookings
  • Cases and incidents
  • Plumbing and electrical diagrams
  • Inventory
  • Flora and features
  • Risk registers
  • Schedule of services.

This enables a new level of efficiency and productivity. For example, if a family calls about the condition of a headstone, you can request grounds staff to take a photo of it and upload it to the system in real time. You can measure the size of a plot on-screen to see if it’s appropriate, without even needing to leaving the office.

Ace your sales & booking process.

When it comes to sales and bookings, many cemetery managers are accustomed to referring to paper records or spreadsheets to check available inventory. Unfortunately, that leaves a chance of human error and double ups. With your quoting, sales, booking, billing and customer relationship processes managed within one cemetery database software system, you can focus on bigger things rather than keeping up with manual data management. You can take electronic signatures; offer payment plans easily, and manage the entire customer journey from the initial lead to the after-service follow-up. Your system can provide for both at-need and before-need transaction types, with complete tracking of pre-need contracts and redemptions. Not only can these operational changes transform your relationships with customers and suppliers; they can also transform your internal productivity.

Find new customers using marketing automation.

It’s never been so easy to find new customers and to connect with them on a regular basis, as well as nurturing your existing customer relationships. Whether you’re speaking with funeral homes or in some cases directly to bereaved families, you can now easily send out direct marketing via email or social media to different segments of your customer base within the CRM of your digital cemetery software, to stay front of mind and build valuable trust over time.

Expand your offerings through improved organization & reporting insights.

By gaining a full picture of your organization’s revenue streams, promising areas and problem areas, you can begin to make fully informed decisions about where to focus your energy. This can apply for cemeteries of all sizes. With Microsoft Power Business Intelligence integration, you can have real-time insights into areas such as sales forecasting, marketing spend and performance.

Optimize internal workflows & process management.

Tired of asking for things to be done? By optimizing your workflows in a modern software solution, you can help to clearly prioritize and manage jobs. Cemetery software like byondpro allows you to customize workflows to suit your unique business processes. You can create your own escalation rules to ensure workflow tasks are completed and checked off as per the schedule. There’s another big health and safety benefit too. The system can track risk factors, cases, mitigation rules and compliance processes so you can ensure you’re keeping up to date and providing a well-managed and safe workplace. Staff are more likely to stick around in a safe, communicative and goal-driven organization.

Make arrangements 24/7 with other providers.

Death doesn’t conveniently occur within business hours, and you can now transform the way you make arrangements 24/7. The new byondcloud marketplace allows death care providers to offer services, find and book venues, plan, and approve quotes around the clock. It’s ideal for cemeteries, funeral homes, stonemasons, florists and more, and it can free you up from that 9am rush making phone calls and arrangements. The other benefit, of course, is that you can provide more timely customer service.

Master financial management.

There is no need for clunky accounting software or to outsource your financial management processes. With a solution like byondpro you can either use the integrated financial modules, or take advantage of integration with your current financial software; the choice is yours.

Either way, it simply makes sense to manage your finances in the same system that’s connected to your cemetery bookings, billing and inventory management. You’ll be able to see a real-time snapshot of finances at any point in time. You’ll be able to clearly assess accounts receivable and track trust performance to help you meet governance obligations and responsibilities, if this is relevant for your cemetery.

The right solution can take you from simple record keeping to operational transformation.

If you’re ready to transform the way your organization operates, we’d be happy to walk you through the possibilities of modern cemetery software for your business. byondpro Cemetery Edition offers comprehensive management tools across cemetery mapping, marketing, documents and reporting. For a free and personalized demo, simply get in touch.

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About OpusXenta

OpusXenta is a global technology company serving the death care profession and its suppliers, with offices in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and North America. Our cloud-based solutions enable companies in the death care profession to manage their operations better, adapt to a changing market environment and to build out their digital presence. Our product portfolio is led by two innovative technology solutions for the death care profession: byondpro for operational excellence and byondcloud, the premier online marketplace for the death care profession.