Will de Michaelis is a funeral director of Omega Society, a leader in high volume cremations with 3,000 cases a year. We sat down with Will to talk about how Parting Pro has completely transformed the way they do business to allow them scale. Watch or read our conversation below.
Parting Pro: I have Will with me here, Will is from Omega Society. Will, maybe we can get a little bit of background on you and maybe you can describe your business and what you guys are up to?
Will de Michaelis: Absolutely. My name is Will de Michaelis, I’m a licensed funeral director here in California. I do all of our company’s online advertising as well as managing our counselors. We are a high-volume cremation society. We do generally over 3,000 calls per year, so we’re well versed in high volume care for families. That’s really what I spend my days doing.
Parting Pro: Got it. So, we’ve known each other for some time now, maybe we should start from the beginning. We’ve been working together for probably about over a year now, maybe you can help us understand what you’re doing before we engaged – what kind of goals were you trying to achieve? What problems were you trying to solve? And maybe some of the frustrations you were having?
Will de Michaelis: Sure. Before our engagement with Parting Pro, all of our case management was done on paper. Everything was written by hand every day. All new cases were written in a large binder, it was our source of truth. Then we had a second source of truth with the owner having her own binder and following and tracking different items, and every day was a struggle to not only serve families with quality care but also diligently track these items on paper in various places as each case went through its normal process. So, it was kind of a headache to manage all of that, as well as being there for families and doing all of the stuff that our job entails.
Parting Pro: Right. Now that you have Parting Pro, what would you say are the results you achieved and what aspects of your life or your business has improved, and by how much?
Will de Michaelis: I would say that since starting with Parting Pro, we’ve seen a lot of benefits manifested. It’s easier to create processes for our team, which is a big factor that is in the highest outcome from using Parting Pro. On a more case level basis, we’ve seen paperwork be completed faster for families, more accurately without any missing signatures or empty fields that cause unnecessary calls or rework. We’ve seen an increase in our average case order dollar amount, which is great. It’s due to a lot of families seeing the services that we offer in online checkout and merchandise in the online checkout, which is a nice soft sell. We don’t have to sell them; they see it and they pick it on their own. That’s increased our overall value for each case. And, we receive those payments from families faster. It’s easy to send out an itemized, clear transparent invoice for a family to review, and for them to pay whenever they see fit, within their day. Maybe that’s at 3 in the morning. They go to that invoice; they pay it and we just see it in the morning.
Parting Pro: It sounds like before, in terms of the case of management, you guys were all over the place. But it also seems like before, you didn’t really have any sort of tools to help the sales processes there. Maybe you can describe your sales processes before, and how it’s improved now that you have Parting Pro, and how you’re using the online tools?
Will de Michaelis: Absolutely. Before Parting Pro, we almost never got merchandise in front of customers. The only merchandise that existed was in our showroom, and the only way a family would see that is if they came into our office to do arrangements, or when they decided to pick up the remains after the cremation is complete, and at that time, usually, they’ve already paid some other way and the merchandise is an afterthought. With Parting Pro and online checkout, the families see the merchandise and they see the services that we offer. Parting Pro also offers a proposal email to be sent for cases that allows them to subsequently go through that checkout and see that merchandise and services as well. It makes our lives a lot easier in terms of what we need to charge families for, what they’ve selected, and ultimately, create overall more transparency in our buying processes – which is great for us, and great for families.
Parting Pro: Yeah. I think one of the things you were worried about with the merchandise was that you didn’t want to come off as too salesy or too pushy, and “we don’t want to offer too much of an upsell,” but with Parting Pro, we don’t have to do that, they just pick and choose on their own. So, you don’t have to do any work, really.
Will de Michaelis: Yeah, none.
PartingPro: I remember when you first started, you sent me that gif, with all the bundles of money – it was working out really well.
Will de Michaelis: It was great.
Parting Pro: One thing I wanted to touch upon, which I think you guys were the Guinea pigs for, and you guys had a crazy result on this – the overall reviews as social proof. We’ll talk a little about that and how that’s changed your business.
Will de Michaelis: Yeah, absolutely. Before Parting Pro, we had no mechanism to build our social proof online, whether that be Google, Yelp, or Facebook reviews. Our previous process was to serve families as well as we could and cross our fingers and hope that they are moved to go to one of those platforms and leave us a positive review. The thing we can control is to give them an outstanding five-star experience and just pray for the best. With Parting Pro, we can close a case and know that that family automatically gets an email asking them if they would recommend our service to someone else, and rate us out of five stars, and Parting Pro takes care of that funnel of making sure that gets posted on the right platform. Since we’ve started with Parting Pro, we’ve seen a huge influx in those reviews, and our overall star rating on Google has gone up. People are now giving us feedback saying, “Hey, it’s crazy that you have 170 reviews on Google and a 4.9-star average. It’s a no brainer when I see that and then read some of your reviews that we’re going to call you.”
Parting Pro: I think when we first started, you guys were probably…
Will de Michaelis: It’s really nice.
Parting Pro: Yeah, it’s really nice, right? The first impression is already made for you. You guys were probably at around 20 reviews when we started, and it’s been about a year, and you guys are closer to 170 now.
Will de Michaelis: Yeah.
Parting Pro: It’s actually an accurate reflection on the volume and the business and the service you’re providing, whereas before, you couldn’t really tell the difference between somebody like yourself and another company on Google maps. So, let’s go back in time a little bit – before you started working with us, what do you think helped you make your decision to do business with us, and what made you decide to pull the trigger?
Will de Michaelis: I think first and foremost, working with a group of young entrepreneurs was appetizing to me and our team just because I knew that you guys were really diligent, really smart, and really eager to use your initial customer base to improve your product and I only got that sense from Parting Pro. I didn’t get that sense from other companies. So that was really pivotal in our decision. Then when it came to evaluating the product itself, the fact that you offer really easy to use software with case tracking, note-taking, automated invoices and payments and electronically signable forms and mechanisms to track those items made it a no brainer for us. It helped us to create a new system that we can work with them, so it was really intuitive in that way. It lent itself to a pretty easy transition as far as software implementation and training goes.
Parting Pro: Let’s talk about that a little bit. You guys have a relatively big team – I want to say your team is… other than obviously you and your brother, but your team wouldn’t be described as the most technical…
Will de Michaelis: That is accurate.
Parting Pro: All right. So why don’t you describe working with us – which area you got the most value, and why do you think that is?
Will de Michaelis: I think I got the most value in terms of just having you, Will, and Tyler as partners in this industry. That’s really coming from me on a business and personal level. You guys are easy to work with and you have a way of dealing with us in particular, and I can’t speak for other customers, but in terms of us as a customer, you’ve always been really good listeners. Using those skills, what we’re trying to get you to improve upon, and then going back to the drawing board and coming up with a solution to the problems that we’re facing. I think that’s a really great arbitrage from our point of view, because it allows us to get better faster, and that’s the stage that we’re in. So that’s a great opportunity as well as all the benefits of the product that you provide, which stand out on their own.
Parting Pro: Awesome, thank you. That means a lot. It’s been great working with you guys as well. I think you guys gave really good feedback – all the feedback you guys give helps everyone else in our Parting Pro family to grow even faster. Let me wrap this up with one more question – if someone was watching this video right now, they’re probably wondering, “Should I go with Parting Pro?” Why don’t you talk about why someone who is listening right now should take action and work with Parting Pro?
Will de Michaelis: I think if you’re a funeral director in the US and you see the rise in cremation rates, you can trust me as a funeral director who knows the industry and who has spent most of 2018 doing research on all the available funeral homes and case management software for the industry and taking calls and demos with at least 10 of them – I’ve done that research. Based on that research, I made the decision to go with Parting Pro because their team is amazing, their product is better than anything I’ve found on the market bar none.
Parting Pro: Nice. Awesome. Let’s talk about what your goals are for this year. What are you hoping to accomplish this year?
Will de Michaelis: I hope to accomplish a lot this year. Using Parting Pro and the software that exists now has allowed us to revisit some different processes within our company and has allowed us to iterate and formalize those processes and really tighten them up, so a lot of 2020 is going to be tightening screws on things that we didn’t really get a chance to in 2019 because we were so busy making so much money. So, 2020 is kind of a reflection year in terms of what’s working well, what isn’t, and prioritizing what’s not and working with our team and you guys to make it better.
Parting Pro: Awesome. Would you say that working with us has a pretty positive ROI?
Will de Michaelis: Definitely. Absolutely.
Parting Pro: Thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it, I’ll be talking to you pretty regularly, but thank you for your time to sit down and chat with me.
Will de Michaelis: Anytime.
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