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Reaction to funeral directors overwhelmingly positive

Nearly everyone who has used the services of a funeral director in the last five years thinks highly of the profession – that’s the resounding endorsement revealed by a recent survey.

The research, from pollsters YouGov on behalf of the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) and Cruse Bereavement Care, found that 95% of clients were satisfied or more than satisfied by the service they received in arranging a loved one’s send-off.

The survey of more than 2,000 people also showed that cost is far from the most important concern for most when organising a funeral. In fact, cost only came in seventh, with 28% of people ranking it as paramount. In contrast, 65% thought ‘following the wishes of my loved one’ the most crucial factor, followed by ‘making it a celebration of the person’s life’ on 56%.

Other important factors were: ‘making it personal’ (43%), ‘making sure everyone who wants to can attend (40%); ‘keeping it simple (39%) and ‘giving them a proper send off’ (32%). Price was also lower than expected on the list of factors influencing the choice of funeral director. Reputation was top with 55%, followed by recommendation and the choice of the person who’d died (both 43%). Only 38% based their choice on cost.

Coincidentally, only 4% of those surveyed said the funeral director was too sales-focused and a total of 80% said the funeral director they had used represented ‘good’ or ‘fairly good’ value for money.

When asked which qualities they would ascribe to a funeral director, the most popular words used were ‘professional’ (16%) and ‘caring’ (11%), with ‘helpful’, ‘respectful’, ‘sympathetic’ all tying for third place on 7%, alongside ‘expensive’.

Only 8% of those who’d had experience of arranging a funeral said they would be more likely to do it themselves next time.

The NAFD said the findings showed much to be  positive about, but the challenges ahead included a perceived lack of choice or visibility of information, with only a small proportion of funeral directors publishing their prices online. The survey showed that 63% of respondents would expect to be able to compare prices before selecting a funeral director.

The NAFD also warned that younger people were less likely to turn to a funeral director to organise a send-off so funeral businesses needed to be aware of the need to engage with younger generations.

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