This Is What I Would Tell My Staff

sleeping on jobWhat happened to social etiquette?

You spend a couple of million dollars on a new building and you let the public be disappointed the moment they enter the door.

I visit a lot of funeral homes and the experience ranges from abysmal to glorious with a whole lot more on the abysmal side than the glorious side. We all know first impressions are everything.

So, here is what I would tell my staff:

  • The lobby is not the employee lounge
  • Stand when someone enters a room (stand, don’t struggle to get up)
  • Look people in the eye
  • Greet everyone
    • introduce yourself
    • ask if you can help them
    • say good morning, good afternoon or good evening…not Hey, How ya’ doin’ or some other colloquialism
    • offer to shake hands
  • For frequent visitors like delivery and mail get to know their names and use them
  • Wear your name tag where it can be seen
  • Don’t slouch — stand up and sit up straight
  • Be warm and approachable
  • Offer them a cup of coffee or bottle of water
    • have a bottle of water ready for the mail person every time (they know a lot of people)
  • Be present with everyone
  • Offer them a tour if they are waiting
  • If you offer gifts like note pads, coin purses and the like offer them one
  • Eat your lunch somewhere other than the public areas
  • Take care of your personal appearance
    • Ladies skip the cleavage
    • Men wear your coats
    • Men groom the facial hair

In other words make everyone who enters your door glad they came in.



  1. John McQueen October 6, 2015 at 9:11 am - Reply

    Great article! We preach this every day to our staff and train regularly on how to greet customers and what to do. Like you, we tell our teams that our delivery people and the florist are our customers too and we want to impress them as much as others and we’re told regularly that by them that “you’re staff is so friendly compared to the other funeral homes we visit.” That always makes me happy. Thanks for sharing and let’s hope those who don’t perform like this are listening (or reading) your article. Better yet, let’s hope that they are not because it helps those of us who are doing so.

  2. Tim October 6, 2015 at 9:12 am - Reply

    One exception to your many fine points. The greeting should be a simple ” Hello” if you do not know the nature of the guest’s visit. If they are there to make arrangements for a child, a cheery Good Morning may not be well received.

    • Alan Creedy
      Alan Creedy October 6, 2015 at 9:14 am - Reply

      tim, this is a matter of personal preference. Deference to the situation is always called for

  3. Howard Beckham October 6, 2015 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    Good manners along with finely tuned social skills are always important and appreciated!

  4. Benjie Hughes October 7, 2015 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Alan as always a great reminder. We keep pads and “special” pens out for the public and they always disappear! The coats we left off along time ago except for
    visitations and services.

  5. Mark October 7, 2015 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    Nice article there Alan. All the information there is quite pertinent on making a good first impression. I do have one gripe is the use of the gentleman’s photo which I sincerely hope you’ve gotten permission to post because of just how tacky your portraying the gentleman there.

    • Alan Creedy
      Alan Creedy October 7, 2015 at 3:02 pm - Reply

      mark, it’s a public photo. don’t know who he is but my purpose is showing how I sometimes encounter people. I have a weight problem. It requires me to be extra conscious of how I dress so as to make the best impression I can. Countless times I have entered a funeral home to find an older, overweight gentleman asleep in a chair in the lobby. In business we must manage each touch point we have with the public

  6. Bill Brock October 8, 2015 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for this article. I liked the fact that there were bullet points that were easily understood by ALL. Sometimes long articles get the points lost. We are very conscious of greeting everyone and it is good to reinforce that what we are doing is proper social etiquette. Social skills are often overlooked in today’s culture. “Do unto others” is yet again the Best Way! First impressions Do Count! Thank you

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