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.
How webCemeteries Digitizes Your Cemetery Records
Once you’re ready to start digitizing your cemetery records, webCemeteries can use our extensive knowledge of cemetery recordkeeping practices and our proprietary data entry application to convert your records from paper to digital. This process involves two major steps: record capture and data entry.
Scanning or Photographing Cemetery Records
To start the digitization process, webCemeteries’ Document Imaging Technician will travel to your location to capture your paper records. Depending on the format of your records, we’ll either scan or photograph them. Scanning is preferred, as we can scan thousands of documents a day. If the records are too large or in a bound book that cannot be put through the scanner, we will photograph your records page by page.
“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.”
Inputting Information Through Data Entry
Once your records are scanned, the next step is to input the information they contain into the webCemeteries platform for easy, searchable access. This is a manual process that typically takes months to complete, depending on several factors, including the size of your cemetery. webCemeteries has developed a proprietary application to capture cemetery information and employs a team of U.S. based data entry specialists. Multiple team members work together to complete the project as quickly as possible. Unlike other data entry services, webCemeteries understands the nuances of cemetery records and works to understand your process so we can capture your records as accurately as possible.
Our collaborative process allows data entry team members to easily flag records they have questions about and makes it easy for our project manager to monitor progress. We will be in frequent communication with a records expert at your cemetery to ask questions and seek clarifications when needed. The result is a high accuracy rate you can trust.
Records at Your Fingertips in webCemeteries Cemetery Management
Once data entry is complete, your records will be loaded into the webCemeteries Cemetery Management system. You can then quickly and easily search deceased and owner records. Your new digital records will also tell you exactly where the person was listed in your paper records and link to a scan of that page. We also create a digital version of each book so you can page through the scans as if you were looking at the originals.
A Modern Approach to Cemetery Management
Removing the barriers of a paper recordkeeping system gives you the opportunity to dramatically streamline processes and serve families with a new standard of care. You can identify and sell property at the tap of a finger, automate a family’s monthly contract payment, generate all of your forms and documents as soon as a new record is entered, and more. Your team will gain back countless hours that can be spent serving families, and your families can receive the modern standard of care that they expect.
Digitize Your Cemetery Records Today
Digitizing your cemetery records protects you against loss, degradation, and human error. Modernizing your record keeping process also decreases the amount of time your staff needs to complete common tasks and allows you to respond more quickly to customer requests. webCemeteries will treat your historical records with the greatest care and respect as we put our significant knowledge of the cemetery profession to use to complete the conversion with speed and accuracy. To get started, contact webCemeteries today.
Meet our Project Manager
Rebecca Zettlemoyer is the Project Manager with webCemeteries where she is committed to delivering client projects in a way that ensures a smooth and quality experience. Since 2016, she has successfully led teams to help cemeteries computerize their records and adapt technology. Prior to joining webCemeteries, Rebecca spent 13 years in environmental testing. Rebecca’s technology expertise, combined with her excellent customer service, help cemeteries leverage technology to better serve families.
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What are cemeterians saying about webCemeteries?
This [website] project was quite an odyssey with plenty of twists and turns. The webCemeteries website design team weathered the storm. I think it’s more than fair to say that without their efforts, we would not have gotten this over the finish line…and with such an excellent outcome.
Mark J. DePalma
Forest Lawn Buffalo