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Luxury Problem

Posted by Nancy Weil on July 11, 2014

    The phone won’t stop ringing. You have eight new death calls. You just added another burial to an already busy day. Stop whining and start rejoicing, for you are experiencing what I call a “luxury problem.” Success is something to be embraced, busyness celebrated, for there are many of your colleagues who wish that they would be so overwhelmed with clients that they could complain as well.
    Let me start with a definition: Luxury Problem (noun) An occurrence when business is so good that you worry about keeping up with it all.
    Now some of you may be thinking, “Who would ever complain about that?” I can tell you from experience that many in this industry do. I hear how busy they are and how they don’t have time to wrap up from one family before another is walking in the door. I listen as they whine about the hours, the workload or the juggling of tasks.
     Isn’t this what the goal of business is? Perhaps that is why I cringe whenever I hear grumbling about the unending phone calls, the service requests logged or the never ending genealogy searches sent in (well, I admit that I may be guilty of grumbling about this from time to time). If it gets too quiet, worry. Worry a lot. When the phones don’t ring and the people don’t come, that is when you should be questioning the viability of your business.
    We are in a service industry and taking care of people is our focus. Whether it is an at-need call or helping someone select a marker design, we must be there for them. No matter if it is a complaint about grass not neatly trimmed or taking time to officiate at a funeral service, we must be there for them. In cases where people are super friendly and in those circumstances when they are grouches, we still must be there for them. There are no surprises when you enter this industry that you will be dealing with people in all of their various moods. We are present at their most emotional and heart wrenching moments, we are there for them when they face their own immortality and we are there for them when they begin to heal from the grief and embrace life once again.
    Each day unfolds with no pre-set plan as we adapt to each call, each client and each hiccup in the day. Whether it is a water spigot run over by a cemetery visitor, yet another day of rain falling so hard that services must be moved inside or a delay in the start time of a funeral due to a relative getting lost on their way, we adapt. If we are inflexible, then we get stressed and it shows in how we address each person we serve that day. It shows in how we interact with our co-workers and it shows in how we unwind at the end of our very long day.
    Traditionally the summer season is busy as families visit from out-of-town, funerals postponed due to snow are finally scheduled and people tend once again to their relative’s gravesites. Warm days lead to hours filled with people to serve and clients to satisfy. Phones ring, funerals schedule and complaints pile up – business as usual…more to do than time to get it all done and that is what I call a “luxury problem.”


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