Funeral Home Telephone Answering Service

Updated May 1, 2017

Centratel is, statistically, the highest quality answering service in the United States. Our most recent Customer Reported Error Rate (January through March, 2018) was one customer-reported error for every 12,297 message transactions processed.

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You must have an extra degree of empathy from your funeral home telephone answering service. In the funeral home call-processing business, it is understood that callers are often undergoing profound mental anguish, so there is never room for rushed and impatient call handling. As an integral part of your own administrative staff, the Centratel Telephone Service Representative (TSR) works delicately with your caller to get the appropriate information and then deliver it immediately to your on-call staff. As you read on, you will find that our focus is on the people who actually answer your calls, the Centratel TSRs.

(Note: This web site is different from other answering service web sites. Our prime objective is to provide you information, not to simply “sell” you. Of course we want to provide you service, but our first aim is to inform. Within this site you will find nearly 200,000 words of answering service-related content accessible via a search feature. The information is constantly updated and is as objective as it can be, considering we are a for-profit entity. For information about the answering service industry itself, go here.)

So, for your funeral home business, after-hours calls must be handled efficiently, immediately and with great care. Your answering service can’t make mistakes or alienate your customers. And it is important that the people who handle your calls sound like they are in your home town. At Centratel, the quality of service is so high your caller will assume that their call is being handled locally, or even by your own staff in your own office.

Have you come to this website because your current answering service is not performing? Over 95% of our clients had been with another answering service before coming to Centratel. We consider ourselves the highest quality telephone answering service in the United States. Again, note: Our most recent Customer Reported Error Rate (January through March, 2018) was one customer-reported error for every 12,297 message transactions processed. For a comprehensive over-view of how Centratel is able to maintain such a high level of quality, see company President Sam Carpenter’s letter, “Why Centratel.”

We invite you to review testimonials from our current clients. Also, review our Principles of Operation.

Our funeral home telephone answering service call processing protocols have been built on three decades of emergency dispatching. First, every single one of your incoming calls must be handled as if the TSR is employed by you, offering the same degree of professionalism and empathy to your caller as you expect from your own in-house staff. Second, messages must be delivered precisely as described in the 1-2-3 step relay method that has been specifically designed for your company. The essential element in the funeral home telephone answering service relay, and the place where many answering services fail, is in delivering the urgent message immediately and efficiently. Defining what is NOT an emergency is critical too, in order to spare your on-call people from situations that can be handled by your office staff during regular office hours.

The new client is carefully interviewed by Centratel’s new-account specialist in order to determine exactly what that client considers an emergency, and how to relay the information to on-call personnel.

Funeral home telephone answering service is a primary business specialty for Centratel: We handle clients throughout the United States, 100% toll free.

At Centratel, our people make the difference. Applicants for the TSR position undergo an intensive interviewing/aptitude testing process as, on average we process in excess of 75 applications for each new employee hired.

At Centratel, we have a zero-tolerance substance abuse policy: Drug testing is part of the interview process, and random screenings are given to all Centratel employees a minimum of three times each year. This is a critical hurdle to finding adequate staff, which very few competing answering services are willing to risk. Drug abuse is a huge problem in the service sector and funeral home telephone answering service is no exception. This is more important than most industry professionals are willing to admit.

Our Telephone Service Representative (TSR) and customer service personnel are very well paid, with up to 35% of their compensation keyed directly to their own personal performance. Every one of our staff members is a full-time, career professional: We don’t employ part-time staff. Full-time people who are well compensated, based on their own personal performance, are people who are very serious about what they do. Our TSR staff enjoys wages and benefits in the top 2% of all telephone answering services nationally.

Training is continual and rigorous and our expectations are high, as our TSRs perform in an answering service work environment that is both calm and invigorating. TSR job descriptions are documented carefully and thoroughly so our people know exactly what is expected. We break the stereotype in the funeral home telephone answering service industry in which operations personnel are underpaid and overworked. At Centratel, we work in the opposite direction, fully acknowledging that the key element in superb message processing rests directly with the people who handle the calls.

Unlike the majority of answering services that discourage a client’s contact with operations personnel, we invite you to personally inspect our physical operation in Bend, Oregon and meet the people who actually handle your calls.

Absolutely dependable, it’s the job of the Centratel TSR to carefully follow relay instructions in order to avoid needlessly disturbing on-call personnel with minor issues, yet efficiently connect them to callers who truly need immediate assistance. Once your funeral home answering service relay protocol has been established, it is followed tenaciously by the TSR unless you give us real-time instructions otherwise.

Centratel generates hard-copy backups of all transactions. For routine messages, there are a variety of delivery options available including voice mail, fax and Email. If you use our daytime telephone answering service, messages can be delivered one at a time as they are taken, or in batches. All elements of every after-hours on-call contact can be delivered hard-copy to your office each morning.

There is an almost endless array of message delivery and message retrieval options including picking up your messages anytime from any web enabled computer, or your smartphone, with our free on-line message pick-up service.

Centratel Quality: Centratel’s high quality of service has developed directly as a result of handling literally millions of calls for funeral homes. What is high quality? The transaction with the caller must be professional, accuracy must be zero-defect, and the process of taking information and delivering it must be concise, fast and efficient. All this must be accomplished by TSRs who perform in exactly the way you expect your front office personnel to perform: They must be personable, informed, positive, not rushed and absolutely empathetic and sensitive with your bereaved callers.

All calls are digitally recorded, providing a solid record of any conversation between our TSR and your caller. This is a critical element in determining liability issues. Statistics show that over 95% of client complaints are based upon caller misunderstandings or errors, and not on TSR error. If there is a question about a call, we can quickly forward that call to you via electronic means (WAV file) so you can hear for yourself what transpired.

Our TSRs use the absolute latest and most dependable 100% digital call processing equipment available. Ours is a complex business: All primary systems are redundant and backup systems are readily available. Centratel’s certified IT engineer is available 24/7/365 in the remote chance of a systems malfunction. Mechanical support includes robust UPS/battery backup with heavy duty generators and redundant servers. Located in the Pacific Northwest, the most stable environmental location in the United States and Canada, we are not susceptible to hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or earthquakes.

Our independent customer service department is organized so that you will have one person assigned to your telephone answering service account who handles all client issues directly with the TSR staff. Your Customer Service Representative (CSR) will know your people personally and understand your account intimately. Indirectly becoming a part of your front office staff, your CSR is friendly, professional and dependable. After-hours, and in the absence of your assigned CSR, a skilled on-site Operations Supervisor will be immediately available to answer your questions or to handle unusual service situations.

The cost for your funeral home telephone answering service is fair. In the funeral home telephone answering service business, just like your own business, it really is a matter of “getting what you pay for.” At Centratel, you can be assured that your monthly funeral home telephone answering service investment is solid, and not a drain on your customers and your personnel. We’ll help your business grow as we improve your image within your community.

To apply for service, go to our Price Quote page.