While I was involved in preneed marketing I observed an odd and, yet, consistent human behavior.

Research suggests that many people would prefer to plan their funeral with someone other than a funeral director. YET, when a death occurred they don’t want to talk with anyone BUT a funeral director.

So as the internet has taken hold and predictions of capturing large blocks of business by using it to help people avoid interacting with a human being proliferate, I was and am skeptical. Yes, I am certain a block of people will be attracted to the “convenience.” unfortunately, if online arrangements become the norm, we will end up underserving the public. As a result, we will drive even more away from what we do with the eventual consequence of unresolved grief.

Today, I read an article in the Harvard Business Review and, while it is mostly about the financial services industry, it has application to the belief that we should go electronic.

It seems that when a transaction is anxiety-producing (and I believe funeral arrangements are often anxiety-producing) working with a human reduces anxiety.

Read the full article here:

Why Anxious Customers Prefer Human Customer Service

What would I do?

I think I would target some of my marketing to stress the importance of interacting with real people in an already anxiety-producing situation. I am sure some advertising genius can come up with something that compares making funeral arrangements with Alexa and a real person.