For hundreds of years, cemeteries relied on paper records to keep track of purchased lots and burial locations. But these fragile paper records can become lost or damaged, especially as they age. Digital records preserve this crucial information in a convenient format that can simplify a cemetery’s internal process and help prevent errors. webCemeteries can convert your records from paper to digital to improve the experience for both your staff and the families in your care.
Why Convert to Digital Cemetery Records?
Even if you’re comfortable with your current record keeping process, there are several critical reasons that you should digitize your cemetery records.
1) Simplify and Improve Your Internal Process
Managing paper records is cumbersome. Most cemeteries have a massive catalog of cards or record books, as well as a pdf map that takes forever to load and multiple spreadsheets that must each be updated whenever a lot is sold. Updating these records whenever there is a purchase or burial is time consuming. And only one staff member can use the records at a time. Digital recordkeeping streamlines many aspects of your internal process, allowing staff to waste less time on data entry or paging through records and invest more time into interacting with families.
2) Make Your Records Searchable
Depending on your process, searching for a particular record can be time consuming, especially if you need to go back many years. As interest in genealogy grows, many cemeteries have noticed an increase in requests for burial locations of people who died a long time ago. Finding the answers they’re looking for can take a lot of valuable staff time, but making them available online can not only save that time, but put you in front of a much bigger online audience for marketing your cemetery property and services. Once your records are digitized, this information will be at your fingertips in just a few seconds, allowing you to improve your response time and provide excellent customer service. If your cemetery’s been digitally mapped, you can even add a page to your website for visitors to conduct their own burial record searches. And when you need information for yourself, you can find it just as quickly.
3) Transform Family Service
Customer expectations have changed greatly over the past few years. With advances in technology, customers want a modern experience including faster service and more opportunity to shop online. Digitized records streamline your cemetery’s business processes, so you can serve your families in a more efficient way. Having digital records dramatically simplifies the sales process as property and merchandise can be quickly searched for and added to a contract, and reports can be easily generated. Administrative staff in the office and maintenance staff in the field can access work orders immediately, and receive automatic notifications on their progress, improving turnaround time. Families can search burial records on a computer from the comfort of their own homes, or on a smartphone as they walk through the cemetery. All of these efficiencies free up staff time to focus less on administrative tasks and even more on an excellent customer experience.
Digital recordkeeping streamlines many aspects of your internal process, allowing staff to waste less time on data entry or paging through records and invest more time into interacting with families.
4) Decrease Error and Missing Records
Paper recordkeeping typically involves documenting every sale or burial in multiple places. This provides a lot of opportunity for human error. Each set of records may have duplicate or conflicting information that may not come to light for years. Once a mistake is found, it can be hard to determine which record is correct. It’s also easy to misplace paper records. Files can get unfiled and never put back, losing that information forever. Even misfiling can cause headaches. And when cemetery managers or office staff change, there can be undiscovered gaps in information as different processes are implemented. Digitizing your records can bring those gaps to light and allow you to create a simple and straightforward process for current and future staff.
5) Protect Your Records Against Loss
No matter how careful you are with your paper records, accidents can happen. A fire or a flood – or an accidentally triggered sprinkler system – can catastrophically wipe out all your records in minutes, leaving you with an enormous mess. On a smaller scale, individual cards or pages could be misplaced or damaged. All it takes is a spilled cup of coffee to make a few records unreadable. Since webCemeteries stores digital records on a secure, cloud based server, they’ll be safe even if you have computer problems.
6) Protect Your Records Against Wear and Time
Even if you keep your records locked in a fireproof vault, paper gets fragile and yellowed as it ages, and ink fades. Think of the lengths the National Archives goes to to protect the Declaration of Independence and other old documents. It isn’t cost effective to lock your record books in a climate controlled glass chamber. It’s not practical either, when you need to access those records on a regular basis. But the more you handle your records, the more the pages may get dogeared or start to crumble around the edges. If paper is smudged or torn, information could be lost forever. But digital records don’t age, and they don’t take up physical space to store.