Creating the Perfect Urn Amid a Sea of Sameness.

Barry Schwartz’s book, “The Paradox of Choice,” explored how humans react when given varying levels of choice.  Schwartz found that most people prefer to have options from which to choose, but that there is a point at which too many choices paralyze an individual, hindering their ability to make  a decision.  Since his book’s release, marketers have had a field day trying to figure out what is the right balance for their particular product or service.

The funeral service industry is not immune to this quandary.  Most customers describe their experience of choosing an urn in one of two ways: walking into a somber room at a funeral home where a small selection of urns is displayed or visiting an impersonal, commoditized ecommerce website with thousands of urns available at discount prices and for quick delivery.  Neither option is a good one.  In my opinion,  the idea of memorializing a legacy is quickly lost. Replaced, instead, by compromising thoughts of a better deal and a speedy turnaround. Thankfully, there is a better way.

The digital age has given rise to the expectation that almost anything is possible.  If you can imagine it, it can be manufactured, ordered online and delivered to your doorstep almost instantaneously.  It’s easy to create our own, unique style. We can choose the color of our cell phone cases, we can pick what interior upholstery we want in our cars, we can customize the paint in our houses to match our favorite pair of socks. The western world is defined by individuality. Most of those personal decisions seem easy. However, some are not.

For instance, how does one envision, design and create a physical object to represent an entire lifetime of personality, style, pastimes, and accomplishments?

This is the challenge that we find immensely rewarding at Foreverence.  We relish the opportunity to help families, friends or an individual planning one’s end of life details with the emotional yet uplifting and rewarding process of finding the perfect tribute to a life well-lived.  And with the introduction of 3D printing capabilities, there is now a manufacturing technology that supports full color, highly durable and beautiful urns and memorials that are truly one of a kind.

So how do you start when there’s literally a ‘blank canvas’ staring back at you?

Our process is quite simple.  We ask questions.  We listen.  We synthesize.  Understanding a few key elements such as where or if the urn will be displayed, meaningful phrases or personal mantras, and iconic photographs or images allow our designers the opportunity to create an initial concept that we call a Legacyboard®.  This serves as a starting point and visual depiction of concepts for consideration.

What we’ve heard from our customers is that these interactions and this process, where we assist families to Envision, Design and Create the perfect tribute, is a pivotal moment for them in dealing with the emotions of losing a loved one.  They can successfully move from being paralyzed by the many pressing choices inherent in the end of life process to finding relief, comfort and even joy having created the perfect tribute.

 

Patty Saari
General Manager
Foreverence

Is Everything Okay?

This is a revised version of a blog post written by Pete Saari, our CEO, in 2013:

As much as I would like to be a foodie, I’ve never been recognized for my refined palate. My dining take-aways tend to be very experiential. In other words, I rarely leave restaurants thinking, “Wow, that was the best steak I’ve ever had.” More often, I leave thinking it was too warm in there, too loud in there, the seats were too close or I wasn’t totally digging how the waitress called me honey.

I was recently dining with a group of friends at what probably wasn’t a 5-star restaurant but, by pricing standards, certainly a 4-star. They had separate food and wine menus—that’s classy.

In the middle of our main course, the waiter stopped by our table to see how we were doing. He waited until he had our attention then asked, “Is everything okay?”

The wording struck me. That’s because I thought okay was a pretty low standard to set for how our dining experience was going. Would he have been satisfied if I had replied, “Meh, it’s okay?” Did he know that my standard for okay generally means no one spills anything on me and I don’t get Salmonella? To me, that’s okay. But this restaurant seemed like it should be doing better than okay. I wondered if in their pre-dinner huddle, the restaurant manager told his staff to get out there and be average? I could hear it play in my head, “Let’s make sure everyone has an ordinary dining experience with us tonight.”

 

The restaurant manager and owner probably wouldn’t want their customers to be okay, but rather they’d want them to be thrilled. What if instead of asking “Is everything okay,” the question was, “Is this the best freakin’ dining experience you’ve ever had and if not, what can I do to make it that way?”

The line between an okay and an exceptional experience can be rather small. In my case, it was drawn from the use, or misuse, of one word.

What kind of a parallel can we draw to the funeral industry? As a funeral professional, what kind of an impression are you making on the families who arrive at your door? Is it just okay? Or is it representing the caliber of service you’d expect for your own family? If you’re a supplier to the funeral industry, are you providing products that are just okay? Or are you constantly innovating, taking risks and working to ensure that the funeral industry is transforming with the changing needs of the population. In today’s competitive economy, okay just doesn’t cut it. Businesses that are thriving offer an experience that surpasses that of average.

So as you look at your own business, ask yourself, “Is everything okay?”

 If it is, it’s probably time to change.

 

–Pete Saari
CEO, Foreverence

Frequently Asked Questions About Foreverence

In an effort to help potential customers get easy answers to common questions about Foreverence, I asked our CEO Pete Saari to spend a couple of minutes in front of the camera. He even put on a tie. Check it out below.

As always, we’re here to help families going through a difficult time find a way to memorialize a loved one in the most unique way possible. Please reach out to us if you have additional questions this video doesn’t answer. I personally get all e-mails sent to customercare@foreverence.com, and I’ll make sure to respond promptly.

 

 

–Grant Dawson
Director of Communication
Foreverence