Funeral Planner of the Year spotlight

What is your view on funeral planning?

Funeral planning is an essential part of our business. Sales nationally are growing at an ever increasing rate, and we believe this can only be a good thing for both the business and consumer, allowing families peace of mind coupled with financial protection against rising funeral costs.

We feel it gets people talking about their wishes and end-of-life plans, which we feel can alleviate the financial and emotional stress.

What are your goals for funeral plan volumes?

We believe it is essential to keep a close eye on all aspects of our business. However, we must stress that we don’t set targets or goals in relation to volume. Our goal is as it always was: to treat every single person we encounter with the professionalism, care, dignity and respect that has served our company since 1921.

Why do you think your company has excelled in funeral planning?

Firstly, our reputation is key to our success in administering funeral plans for our clients. People know who we are, what we stand for, and that we have always and will always remain family owned and operated. Secondly, support from Golden Charter, with its strategic local marketing campaigns.

How do you promote funeral plans locally?

We have a number of media platforms: our website, local newspapers, blogging sites, Facebook, Twitter, always used to increase public awareness of funeral plans. However, we have found the Golden Charter leaflet drop tends to yield the highest number of enquiries.

What planning advice would you give other funeral directors?

Everyone operates differently; what works for us may not necessarily suit another business, but we believe being involved with an independently regulated, reputable funeral planning service is essential.

Many smaller funeral directors appear to be missing the benefits of Golden Charter membership and are maybe not considering the long-term benefits to both their clients and their business.

What difference did your win make?

The award was well documented in the local media, and on all of our digital platforms, and when it was featured we did notice a change in funeral plan enquiries.

How do you envisage the planning market looking in five years’ time?

We believe the industry will continue to grow as it has throughout the last few years. Recent SunLife research showed that in the last year 12% of funerals were covered by a plan, which can only be a good thing. Sadly, we believe that it will only be a matter of time before unscrupulous companies start to emerge and may cause damage to the industry’s reputation.

How has Golden Charter assisted you?

Since our joining with Golden Charter it has worked incredibly hard in assisting us in our development as a funeral plan provider. Anthony Parkinson and Drew McAllister have been a constant source of support, and we would like to thank them for all their hard work and dedication in looking after our company.

What is your vision for your company in the future?

Firstly to remain an independent, family owned and operated funeral business. Brian Halliwell M.B.I.E Dip F.D. brought the company up from one funeral home to 10, and is well known for saying that if you stand still you will go backwards.

R Banks & Son will continue to strive to ensure that we are the best we can be, through maintaining our reputation and standards of service to our clients, and continually evolving and developing to ensure we meet the demands and needs of an ever-changing industry.

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