The Good Funeral Guide is the most read and talked about funeral site in the UK. Some love it, some hate it, but no one can deny its impact. This year the Guide decided to award “the unsung heroes of funerals.” Who ever thanks the crematorium attendant who works tirelessly so that each family has no worries or concerns on the day? What of the gravedigger who ensures those side walls don’t collapse as six adults lower a heavy coffin? The list goes on and my company, Motorcycle Funerals Limited, provider of the UK’s famous ‘seven deadly sidecars’ was nominated for an award too, which I’m pleased to say we won. The Awards will all be featured on Sky TV’s Greatest Little Britons Series.
What was the criteria for best alternative to a hearse? It was kept a secret! Would the winner be the provider with the best engineered vehicles, best staff or best company infrastructure? I had no clue and not knowing the criteria stressed me so much I even wondered if these were serious awards at all. Finally, while sitting at the awards ceremony and listening to the various top-notch speakers the penny finally dropped! Not only was this a serious award, it was deadly serious. In funerals no one knows how each mourner will judge you. Some will look at the turn out of your vehicle, some the engineering and some how your staff conduct themselves. Others will be more interested how good your telephone staff are and whether you have a professionally run organisation, so why should the funeral awards be any different? The pressure to get everything right from start to finish and beyond in funerals, every little thing, is a good pressure and you only get one crack at it, so the criteria to be a winner of a Good Funeral Guide Award should not be anything less! This idea of keeping the criteria a secret was ingenious.
The Good Funeral Guide Awards aim to honour the many unsung heroes in funerals, but perhaps they will also help to address the tyranny of the most common standard of judging within the industry, the mark up! Suppliers of horse-drawn carriages, alternative hearses and other thoughtful vehicles are often judged on their ability to create profit margins alone. Motorcycle Funerals Limited can provide the fastest, most agile and best built motorcycle hearse in the entire world, the Suzuki Hayabusa Hearse. This will turn up on a transporter in immaculate condition with a professional trained rider and cause a family to be forever grateful, but to the bean counters obsessed with what they can add-on that means nothing. This is why so many vehicle suppliers have cut corners, lowered standards and even provided something shoddy that bounces around, kicks out or looks ridiculous. Lets face it, if all that matters is mark-up, why bother?
Many funeral directors do care about providing the best, so they make their well earned money primarily through their professional services charge, but sadly there are too many others who are just retailers hell-bent on mark-up. If The Good Funeral Awards can change the criteria for a winner to that of high standards, professionalism and attention to detail I think it will be better for everyone.