Who you gonna call?

Stewart Bodys

This summer, Golden Charter launched a major piece of internal research that helps answer the question: “When do families most want to hear from us?”

Following the success of last year’s contact centre changes, which saw us transform our enquiry process into a conversation centred on families’ needs, the next stage was to ensure that those conversations were happening on families’ terms, at the times best-suited to potential customers.

We know that families who contact a funeral director or plan provider want a prompt follow-up, but that can be easier said than done. To be as effective as possible, Golden Charter and Independents alike need to build a clearer impression of those families’ behaviour to help us learn how we can best reach them.

A benefit of Golden Charter’s scale is that we have a wide range of data about how each customer or enquirer prefers to contact us and be contacted. Over the first half of this year, we put that data to work, examining more than 70,000 inbound and outbound calls.

By observing the real behaviour of enquirers, we can produce an idea of the typical funeral planning family: hugely valuable not just for Golden Charter, but for every Independent looking to give families the best possible experience when contacting them.


The first thing to stand out when looking at the volume of calls Golden Charter receives every week is that customers are most likely to get in touch on a Monday. It is easy to hypothesise that customers use the weekend to discuss their potential purchase with their families before committing to it. And that is just as true for people who don’t actively contact us: the likelihood of us successfully contacting an enquirer is also markedly up on a Monday.

Families are most available on Mondays, and at certain times of day

With Mondays also a strong day for concluding sales and making sales presentations, our findings are in line with the idea that families appreciate having the weekend to reflect.

Even when it’s not practical to call enquirers on a Monday, the wider insight shows that time to discuss their purchase is vital to families. We were able to go further than looking at days of the week, however. Hour by hour, enquirers’ behaviour shifts.

Aside from the obvious drop-offs throughout the afternoon, these differences are more subtle than those between days of the week and only become obvious at the scale of our research, but being available at these times could be the difference that ensures enquirers are able to reach you. Several peaks stand out: the best time to reach families is between noon and 1pm, with 3pm to 4pm the next most successful. For inbound calls, 11am to noon is the peak, with a consistent drop-off from 3pm onwards.

At Golden Charter, we have shifted break patterns in a way that ensures staff are best able to deal with these peaks. Following the data leads to that kind of simple change, improving the chances of a positive experience for families and our own staff.

Know your community

These findings don’t exist in isolation; families’ decisions are influenced by all sorts of factors. Better weather has been clearly shown to reduce demand, as can national events – be that elections, the impact of Brexit, or major sporting events – while Golden Charter’s marketing activity influences how often and when people may choose to get in touch.

You know your community best. We find that smaller-scale events can have just as much impact, so that local experience is vital. School holiday times are a prime driver of calls, and if you are aware of a local event that could similarly influence families in your community, it is important to diarise it and ensure you remain conscious of the possible impact it can have on when families may want to contact you, or to hear back from you.

Between your local knowledge and Golden Charter’s large-scale analysis, we have a fantastic opportunity to ensure families can reach you and receive the prompt follow-up they want at the time best suited to them.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,